2010 project

Improve Competence of Secondary School
Students and Teachers using ICT.
Setting up of Computer training and public library facility in rural communities.

Background and Context: Improving the competence of secondary schools in educationally disadvantaged areas is a must for every growing nation.

Co-organized by Adeksworld Ventures and Center for Creative Youth International (CCYI), the project has two major components: training in basic ICT skills and enhancing attitude, leadership and entrepreneurial skills of students and teachers.

The project is premised on the need to enhance computer literacy by developing human capacity alongside what the schools are providing.

It is against this backdrop that CCYI identifies potential partners to explore the effectiveness of ICT in the development of Nigeria’s rural areas.

According to Mr. Daniel Olukayode Jacobs, the focal person of this project, “an ICT enabled community is a developed community”.

He looks at ICT as part of the development process and that therefore, ICT needs to become an integral process in the development process.

In this regard therefore, the project aims to improve the performance and competence of both teachers and students by training the local people in food processing using an ICT related methodology; equip the rural people with basic ICT skills and provide necessary training in business and entrepreneurship (management, planning and marketing).

The development problem/obstacle addressed: Many rural areas have been left behind in ICT development yet there is a potential for ICT development in these areas.

However many people in rural areas lack ICT skills; those who have had some training in it, is now in disuse because of lack of machines and constant practice.

Based on the principle that appropriate ICT-material can take the expertise of the CCYI much more quickly to a wider audience, than if training was only conducted in Lagos [urban area]”, the project therefore set out to extend ICT services to the rural areas.

It should be noted that most of the ICT equipment is located in the Lagos areas and therefore it is the people living in these areas that access the information.

For example, the setting up of this project would see schools in these areas also equipped computer systems, internet connections, leadership books. The establishment of Internet Café in these areas would also help the project. Secondly, the project would also address the problem of misuse of resources. It is observed that in most rural areas, a number of resources lie idle, for example, a lot of stationeries are being used up.

Organisational aspects: Located in the western part of Nigeria, the project is intended to serve the following areas: Otta, Lusada, Agbara, Atan, Igbesa, Idiroko, Ifo, Arigbajo, Ijoko in it’s first phase.

In addition to serving the school population, it equally caters for people outside, that is, the ICT training especially in basis computer skills would be conducted at selected school premises.

However, on several occasions, the trainers go out to communities to train people in food processing and small-scale enterprises. CCYI believes in working with schools because they are easily accessible by the communities around.

In addition to completion of the structure housing the project premise, the ICT centre is expected to be equipped with 8 computers and their accessories.

The Centre will also be equipped with an overhead projector, a video player, two printers, telephone and Internet connection and basic stationery.

The initial training would be offered by Adeksworld Ventures in conjunction with Center for Creative Youth International.

There would be two ICT skills training personnel; two people who handle Attitude and leadership training; one handling entrepreneurial training and one help desk person.

This ICT staff would be drawn from the instructors at Adeksworld ventures.

The training in ICT skills is offered, first to the students and teachers of the schools, and then to the community; which includes young people having nothing to do to the general public.

In the school, students would be taught ICT as part of their curriculum. It should be noted that although the Ministry of Education and Sports is expected to approve the curriculum for ICT training, very limited schools particularly those based in urban areas would be allowed to participate in these course.

ICTs and problem solving: The availability of the Internet is expected to come as a supplementary library to the school community. For example, some of the teachers and students often access academic information on the Internet.

The cost of printing or cycle styling school documents, for example, examination materials would have been quite expensive without the availability of the two printers.

“The schools are expected to be able to processes its own documents: circulars, official letters, receipts, flyers and brochures without relying from outside printers.

At the end of the training the teachers would use spreadsheets especially for report making at the end of the school term”.

Communication with the outside communities and the world would have been simplified; the Centre now be able, through emails, to communicate with other schools.

The establishment of the Internet Café would bring the services nearer to the people in these areas.

Instead of people traveling to Lagos or urban centers for Internet facilities or to have their brochures, flyers, advertisements and receipt books made, they can access them from the Centre.

The Centre would equally provide printing, scanning and telephone services to both the public and school. A number of people would come to the Centre to have their work processed either typed or printed.

Besides training in processing and making yoghurt, fruit jam and tomato sauce, the
farmers who would have attended ICT training would have been equipped with the knowledge of using excel sheets for their record keeping instead of writing them in a book, a practice they were used to before.

Impact Assessment Awareness: The teachers of the schools would be made to be aware of the significance of computer upon training in basic ICT skills. Instead of going to other schools to borrow teaching materials, they would be made to know that these can be accessed online.

Expected Outcome
The number of students registering in the schools is expected to increase steadily:
With the training students would be able to word process their work, work with spreadsheets and a number of them would be able to use email and Internet facilities”.

The center would offer library services to the community.
In addition it would have an e-library, which supplements the existing library.

“We have developed programmes on career guidance, children rights, encyclopedias, and the community library that contains subjects on community development would be stored either on the computers or on CDs and DVDs.

This would enable both students and teachers to access modern learning and teaching materials that may not be readily available in the conventional library.

The school would be able to get involved in research on the Internet: a couple of teachers would carry out research on the Internet to download teaching and learning materials especially literature novels.

Other teachers can use a projector and other multimedia in their classrooms.

Challenges: According to the focal person, one of the major challenges lies with the trainees’ expectations; their expectations are high: for example, once they have watched a one hour DVD demonstration of graphic design with Corel draw, they think that they can equally make their own perfect design within the same time.

Furthermore, the training period, which is expected to be 6weeks usually lowers their morale; they think they can come for a day or two and finish the training. In the same vein, “there are a couple of people who will come and wish to be trained in a specific IT programme yet we do not have an expert in that area; this is rather disappointing for such potential trainees”.

Another challenge is the computer user ratio, which might be about 1:10. In a Senior One class of about 170 students, it is quite hard to teach effectively, given the above ratio.

Another aspect related to this challenge is lack of practice; practice is a significant aspect of computer learning since this is a practical subject. The outside community, who will come in for training, that is, after the lessons, might take up time that would be set aside for practice.

Following up the trainees particularly those coming from the community, to find out what
they are doing in regard to the skills and knowledge they acquired would be important.

Frequent power cuts may render Internet connection rather unstable and costly.
This is at times due to unexpected technical problems or lightening. “The time we might be off, the ISP keeps counting and this amounts to a lot of money and a disappointment to the stakeholders especially those that will come to use Internet facilities”.

Lessons learned: This project is a clear indication of the possibility and potential of ICT development in rural areas. Many of the rural areas and smaller towns in Nigeria, which are far away from the major towns, lack ICT facilities yet they have people who would benefit from them.

Teamwork, commitment and zeal will be crucial factors in the sustainability of the project.

The staff who will man the Centre would work as team; they must put in extra time especially for community training. In addition to the normal teaching load, these people might have to work after classes and times up to 10PM.

They might also work on weekends and during school holidays yet they might not receive significant payment for all this work.

Daniel Olukayode Jacobs

Executive Director
Center for Creative Youth International

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