BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Expert harps on digital literacy for national development

The federal government needs to urgently equip its workforce and improve their level global competitiveness by imbibing digital literacy in order to cope with the challenges of today’s world, Oyeniran Oyekale, chief executive officer, Commit Technology and Consult, has advised. In view of the rising number of unemployed Nigerians, digital literacy, according to him, if properly utilised, could become a veritable tool for improving the employability of the country’s massive youth population. Speaking at a press conference on “Internet and Computing Core Certification (IC3)’’ programme in Lagos, Oyekale defined digital literacy as a survival skill in the digital era.

“It constitutes a system of skills and strategies used by learners and users in digital environments. By employing different types of digital literacy, users improve their performance and “survive” a variety of obstacles and stumbling blocks that lie on their way within this special medium”, he said. Digital literacy, according to him is a key enabler for building knowledge based economy – an economy that will work in the 21st century. He further added: “Digital Literacy is the ability to find, evaluate, utilise, share, and create content using information technologies and the Internet. Digital literacy is a key enabler for building an inclusive society and knowledge based economy.”

He said various communities expected their graduates to be ready to thrive in the digital age but decried the absence of requisite skills required to thrive, adding that these were neither well defined nor included in many learning standards. Oyekale said the lack of such skills underscored the need for post secondary institutions to do more in terms of keeping pace with rapid technology, research and societal changes. But interestingly, in spite of the enormous investment in Information Communications Technology (ICT) training, Oyekale pointed out that little or no impact has been made,.

He further adding that most law enforcement officers currently lack relevant skills they need to cope with the demands of current jobs. This is in view of the spate of insecurity in Nigeria. Oyekale said that in today’s environment of emerging security threats, the need to re – engineer security routine processes via proper implementation of ICT are paramount to our everyday endeavours. Hence the need for highly-qualified, experienced and skillful workforce in all our security outfits becomes imperative, he said. The IT expert said that the trend in the world is for everyone to be digital literate.

He said that Nigeria should move at the pace at which other countries were moving in order not to be left behind in the digital world. “Digital literacy and basic computing skills are increasingly becoming necessary for individuals to have job opportunities and for nations to be competitive. “Without basic computing skills, citizens suffer from lack of valuable learning resources, inability to engage with their government and community and a desperate lack of skills necessary in almost all modern jobs.“Even students who have had the benefit of higher education have graduated without the skills employers need”. He said that with the IC3 programme, the issue of not being proficient in computer and Internet use would in no distant time be a thing of the past.

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