Oando Foundation, Firm Renew Commitment to ICT Education

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Funmi Ogundare

In a bid to ensure that ICT education is supported through the establishment of solar powered ICT centre in public primary schools across the country, Oando Foundation partnered Sumitomo Chemical, a Japanese chemical company to improve pupils’ access to quality basic education.

The partnership, which commenced in 2016, has so far impacted the lives of over 2,400 children through the foundation’s adopt-a-school initiative by bridging the existing gap in the implementation of ICT in public schools and empowering pupils with technology skills.

Representatives of the organisations recently visited one of the foundation’s adopted schools, Dele Ajomale Primary School, Ilasa, Lagos to assess the impact on the pupils.

In her remarks, the Head, Oando Foundation, Adekanla Adegoke said the proficiency of pupils at the basic level on ICT is an essential skill for them, adding that they need to be comfortable and able to use technology not just for effective learning, but to enable them stand alongside their peers globally in the 21st century.

“Oando Foundation promotes ICT literacy through a variety of formal and informal activities designed to enable children acquire functional computer literacy, “she said, adding that the partnership with organisations was to meet to expand the facilities for the benefit of the pupils.

“This year, we have projects that we intend to put together in public primary school across the country, so we will definitely continue our partnership. We also intend to mentor a lot of children based on the knowledge of ICT, as well as ensure that there are teachers teaching the pupils effectively.”

Adegoke said though ICT education has been included in the Nigerian primary school curriculum by the NERDC, the gap in its implementation is still evident.

“While most children in rural areas do not have access to a computer, three out of every five children in urban areas lack basic ICT skills. To reverse this negative trend, the foundation has to date successfully established 46 ICT/creative centres in its adopted schools, serving the learning needs of over 20,000 pupils.”

The Chief Executive Officer of Sumitomo Chemical America, Incorporated, Mr. Scott Mitchell said his organisation has been working with local partners to give something back to the community.

“We felt school infrastructure was the most important thing and so far we pick a local partner every year and we have been able to build infrastructure in about 12 schools in Africa and 28 different projects. We identified our larger partners who have global access and look at the particular area and projects. It has been great working with Oando Foundation and we are very pleased with the progress made.”

The Education Secretary, Local Government Education Authority, Lagos State, Mr. Femi Ogunwusi expressed delight about the initiative, saying that organisations and corporate bodies have been complementing government’s efforts to impact the pupils positively.

He expressed concern about the issue of security, which the school is facing in protecting the facility, adding that the SBMC has unit officers who go round to ensure that facilities at the centres work effectively.

“We write letters regularly to SUBEB to intimate them about the challenges. Our officers are on their feet. We work in synergy with school support section to ensure that all centres work effectively. The major challenge we have is insecurity, but we had to employ a guide to secure the facilities but we still make sure we do effective monitoring,” Ogunwusi said.