Over 500,000 young individuals’ resident in Nigeria are to benefit from the Basic Digital Education Initiative (BDEI), an Initiative of Tech4Dev supported by Microsoft.
This announcement was made an official launch event held in Lagos and had in attendance the former executive Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, the General Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, Akin Banuso amongst others.
According to the Executive Director, Tech4Dev, Joel Ogunsola, the initiative is an experiential learning programme supported by Microsoft with the aim of helping young individuals in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions acquire foundational digital skills, a move which has become necessary in order to equip young minds with the requisite skills for the knowledge-based future that is the reality of the 21st century.
Ogunsola noted that the initiative was a result of Tech4Dev and Microsoft’s mission to solve the world’s biggest problems through technology. “We are making ample investment in digital skills education over the decade through support from Microsoft Philanthropy to train the next generation of young individuals looking to be part of the fourth industrial revolution as well as adults who very much need the skills to fully benefit from new opportunities being presented by the fourth industrial revolution”.
While speaking at the launch event, the General Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, Akin Banuso said, “in a world where digital skills are fundamental to success in so many environments, leaving people in the dark about this major part of their world amounts to an unacceptable gap in their education. We believe technology should be an equalising force in the world—inclusive, not divisive. So, we are investing our greatest assets—our technology, grants, people, and voice—to advance a more equitable world where the benefits of technology are accessible to everyone”.
Dr. Olusegun Mimiko who was the keynote speaker during his speech encouraged the young members of the audience to join the advocacy and push for democratization of education at all levels. He further advocated for improved female participation in tech fields. “It’s a time of intellectual domination. Women have begun to dominate, and they should get more involved.”
Speaking further, he said, “Nigerians have already missed out on the first second and third revolution. The fourth revolution has started and has begun to influence the way we live and relate with each other.
This revolution is dependent on knowledge. Technology in all forms is converging to produce a new reality which is capable of replenishing or perishing one and now is the time for our youth to decide which side they want to be on.”
Speaking further, he said “In order to be able to successfully prepare our youths for this knowledge-based economy, we must review our curriculum and come up with new ones that are relevant to this new economy. There must be improved access to this new curriculum and this access must be democratized, there must be public equity for start-ups and linkage between the financial services and industrial sector.”
Directly, BDEI seeks to train 5,000 digital skill trainers who will in turn be empowered to train 500,000 young people on digital skills in Nigeria. The training would take place offline, and we would supply teaching aids to the educators who in turn are expected to carry out this training in schools and communities within their states. The curriculum cuts across Introduction to computer, productivity tools and workplace essentials, big data and cloud technologies, cybersecurity and digital lifestyles.
As part of ensuring this initiative gets the right attention and reach in Nigeria, Tech4Dev would be partnering with the office of the Vice President as well as other national and local partners.