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Education is believed to be the bedrock of any serious nation’s development; hence it is incumbent on such country’s government and relevant stakeholders to take the issues of education seriously.
In other words, it is fundamental to growth and development, and serves as critical indices to measure progress of development agenda. There is no gainsaying that it is the most powerful driving instrument of reducing poverty, improving health care services and ensuring peace and stability.
However, education, as a critical sector of the economy, is facing serious challenges in this jet age and time, as it has moved beyond reading, writing and arithmetics, to the development of skills and capacities in information and communication technology.
According to the United Nations Organisation for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO), Information and Communication Technology (ICT) now permeates the educational environment and underscores the very success of the 21st century education. This is an important aspect of nationhood that must not be ignored.
Unfortunately, the Nigerian education sector is confronted with a myriad of challenges, such as inadequate infrastructure and funding, which, no doubt, impede proper implementation of ICT programmes in schools, colleges and other learning centres. In most public and private schools, basic ICT infrastructure are grossly inadequate, and where they are available, epileptic power supply makes it difficult, if not impossible, for them to function properly or be put to good use.
But this is not to say that some state and non-state actors have been sitting on the fence watching as our education system continues to dwindle in the face of these challenges.
To be fair to some of the stakeholders, they have made concerted efforts over time, but the fact still remains that such efforts are yet to yield positive results. They are, therefore, not good enough. This is evident in the fact that there are gabs to be covered.
As stated above, some concerned Nigerians in different positions of authority have taken the bull by the horn to ensure that education takes its proper place in the development of the nation. In a bid to ensure that the standard of education is uplifted in the country, some governors are known to have introduced free and compulsory education in their various states.
They also embarked on various educational programmes to encourage parents to send their children and wards to school. Some lawmakers, in their capacities, have also done what they thought was proper for their constituencies.
Hon Usman S. Bawa, popularly referred to as Shehu ABG, who represents Kaduna North in the House of Representatives, is a one of such lawmakers who take issues of education seriously. As a businessman, his father, Alhaji Bawa Garba, digitalised television network with the first Cable Satellite TV in West Africa.
This was at a time when cable network was out of the reach of many Nigerians. Interestingly, the lawmaker appears to have taken advantage of this background in technology for the good of the people of Kaduna. He embarks on digital revolution in schools in his constituency.
Although he is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and his state is governed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he has shunned partisan politics and political sentiments so as to contribute meaningfully to the development of education in Kaduna State.
It is believed that he is determined to fulfil his covenant with the people of Kaduna North, his primary constituency and Kaduna State in general.
In the first phase of his digital revolution, eight schools in Kaduna were selected for ICT programme. The schools include the Kaduna State University, Kaduna Capital School, Sardauna Memorial College, Government Secondary School, Doka, Government Secondary School, Ungwan Sarki and Government Girls’ Secondary School, Independence Way, Kaduna. Others are the Nuruddinil Islamic Society School, Malali and Government Junior Secondary School, Badarawa.
Importantly, letters have been sent to these schools, notifying the appropriate authorities about the timely commencement and implementation of the ICT projects in their respective schools few weeks from now.
At this juncture, suffice it to say that over a hundred quality computer sets have been donated and distributed to each of the selected schools. In addition, the Kaduna Capital School and the Kaduna State University now boast of a new ICT complex, with brand new power plants. Other schools have not been left out, as they have equally benefited from renovation of blocks of classrooms that have mostly been converted to ICT centres, in addition to the solar panels provided to power the centres. Considering the importance of ICT to effective learning, the computer sets provided to the selected schools have been accompanied with unlimited internet access.
I convinced that some politicians still have the good of the people at heart. We could see joy and profound gratitude on the faces of students of the beneficiary schools.
It is also important to note here that the impact of this digital revolution on the future and lives of these young ones will not be forgotten in a hurry.
To take the nation’s education sector out of the woods, this digital revolution should be adopted by all stakeholders.
It is not just enough to win elections into different positions of authority by whatever means possible and thereafter refuse to positively impact on the lives of the electorate.
As the 2015 general elections draw nearer, Nigerians are advised to be wise in casting their votes.
Selfish politicians must be chased out of the system. May God bless Nigeria.