BY CHIBUZOR EMEJOR ABUJA
As part of Federal Government’s commitment to actualise a digital literate citizenry and facilitate a stable digital economy, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has flagged-off the training of 6,624 Nigerians through its Digital States Initiative in 11 States in the country.
Dr.Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, stated this while delivering his keynote address at the virtual Opening Ceremony of Digital States Initiative to celebrate International Literacy Day.
He stated that the programme was aimed at equipping Nigerian youths with the necessary digital literacy skills that can facilitate Nigeria’s transition to a digital economy.
Pantami quoted United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) definition of literacy in 2005 as the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute using printed materials associated with varying context.
He added that literacy involves a continuum of learning and enabling individuals achieve his goals.
He said: “Digital literacy on the other hand refers to those things we need to read, learn and work in a society where communication and access to information is predominantly through digital technologies and innovations like the internet platforms, social media and mobile devices”.
The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Engr. Bitrus Bako Nabasu, noted that the programme seeks to invest in human capital development in preparation for the impact of digitisation of Nigeria.
He pointed out that the International Literacy Day observed in September 8th of every year is to raise awareness and concern for literacy problems that exist within the local communities and globally.
He cited the proclamation of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1966 which was to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human right.
In his remarks, the Director General of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, noted that digital literacy is a key pillar in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), adding that “we have an ambitious target for 95 percent literacy in Nigeria by 2030”.
He stated that at NITDA, it was cascaded down to the Agency’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2021-2024) and also the draft National Innovation and Entrepreneurship Policy.
This, he said, will help in building human capacity of Nigerians.
He said, “To succeed as a country in our journey to digital economy, we need to invest hugely in building the digital capacity of our citizens.”
Abdullahi added that, building the capacity of the citizens is being taken from two angles; starting from basic, that every Nigerian should have the basic skills to use digital tools and benefit from services it offers.
“And the other angle, he said, is building competencies within the country so that digital services can be built digital for nation’s economic benefits.
The Country Director of Microsoft in Nigeria, Mrs. Ola Williams, while delivering her goodwill message, commended the Ministry and NITDA for the initiative and assured the Agency that her organisation was focused on enabling digital skilling.
Mr Segun Ajayi, County Director of Oracle, said the organisation was dedicated to making Nigeria the hub of digital economy and also empowering Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through innovation.
The 11 States where the training will be taking place include Katsina, Ekiti, Oyo, Kaduna, Borno, Bauchi, Imo, Bayelsa, Niger, Nasarawa, and Abia States.