NITRA Calls For Increased ICT Usage Among States’ Govts, Commends Osun

I LikeState governments have been urged to increase the use of information and communication technology (ICT) to fast-track their socio-economic development agenda.

The call was made in a statement issued by the Nigeria Information ‎Technology Reporters’ Association (NITRA) in Lagos. The statement, signed by the executive members of the association, said deliberate use of ICT tools to automate processes in government and support every aspect of the states’ economy has become imperative if the country’s Vision to be one of the 20 most industrialised economies in 2020 is to be attained.

“Today, Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa, and we have the auspicious Vision 20:2020, which aims at making Nigeria one of the leading economies in the next six years. To achieve this, it’s our believe that both the federal and state governments will have to infuse ICT into their processes as well as using ICT to automate every sector of the states’ economy,” the statement said. NITRA, however, commended state governments, especially Osun State, for deliberate deployment of ICT to support e-learning and automate government processes, resulting in growth in the state’s revenue generation.

According to the statement, “Osun State is one of the state governments in Nigeria that has taken deliberate decision to deploy ICT to drive economic growth and deepen e-learning in the state. It is noteworthy that the strategic use of ICT tools and services by current administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola in Osun State to advance the course of development in the state, using ICT has become a sterling example of how other states should leverage ICT to pursue their development agenda.”

NITRA noted that the innovative use of ICT to boost e-learning with the provision of Opon Imo (Tablet of Knowledge) pro bono to students in the state to make learning much easier and more fun has galvanised increased interest in education among students. The government of the State of Osun, last year, launched the free computer initiative, where it is providing 150,000 e-learning tablets for Senior Secondary Schools. “This initiative, recognised as the first of its kind anywhere in the world, covers 17 Core Subjects with over five Extra Curricula Subjects for Senior Secondary 1, 2 & 3 levels.”

The tablet contains over 56 textbooks, 900 minutes of virtual classroom lessons and 1000 Practice Questions for WAEC and JAMB. In addition to aiding preparation for School Leaving Examinations, the introduction of the tool is today aiding adoption of ICT skills among students in the state. “We hope that in years to come, the state government will begin to reap the harvest of this laudable ICT initiative, where ‎digital education is being advanced in the state,” NITRA said.

The group similarly noted that Osun State has leveraged ICT for capacity building among youths in the state, promoted ICT investment in the state with the siting of RLG Communication, a phone manufacturing firm in the state, as well as deploying ICT to enhance delivery of government services to the the citizens of the state in a way that is transparent and process-driven.