Poverty remains the most important factor that determines whether a girl can have access to quality education in Nigeria. With the current trend of how technology has improved education, it is vital for children to be able to meet up with this trend. Every day, girls faced the barrier to quality education caused by discrimination, violence and poor infrastructure which as a result has led to lower percentage of employability level.
Technological advancement has taken over the globe. We live in a digital world today as everything we do is being shaped by digital intervention. Thanks to Information and Communication Technology- ICT, the ways through which we communicate, interact, read or write are being overtaken by technology. Therefore supporting the girls in terms of technology skills will be highly appropriate to enable them have access to advance skills which will in turn boost their employability level.
In Nigeria, young people, most especially girls, will not be able to be more productive, unless they have the computers that they need in order to be able to acquire the necessary ICT skills and digital literacy. For girl students to be able to participate successfully in the Global Economy, their Schools need to be equipped with computers and have staff able to teach a quality ICT curriculum.
The need for ICT in Nigerian secondary schools cannot be overemphasized. In this technology-driven age, everyone requires ICT competence to survive. Organizations are finding it very necessary to train and re-train their employees to establish or increase their knowledge of computers and other ICT facilities. This calls for early acquisition of ICT skills by students. The ability to use computers effectively has become an essential part of everyone’s education.
Skills such as bookkeeping, clerical and administrative work, stocktaking, and so forth, now constitute a set of computerized practices that form the core IT skills package: spread sheets, word processors, and databases. The demand for computer/ICT literacy is increasing in Nigeria, because employees realize that computers and other ICT facilities can enhance efficiency. On the other hand, employees have also realized that computers can be a threat to their jobs, and the only way to enhance job security is to become computer literate. With the high demand for computer literacy, the teaching and learning these skills is a concern among professionals. This is also true of other ICT components.
AfriGrowth Foundation has designed Girl Tech Africa as a signature project, under the STEAM concept, to avail girl student access to computers, ICT training and digital literacy, which will enable them access and use computer technologies more effectively in the vanguard of building their productivity.
Women worldwide pursuing careers in science and technology are only 28% and just 30% of professionals in the sciences in Sub-Saharan Africa are women.These statistics, released by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, bring to light the huge gap between women and men in exploring careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, collectively known as STEM.
These male-dominated fields which lack women, due to inadequate encouragement of girls to pursue science and technology at the early school-going age, has been a cause for worry to many including the United Nations which was compelled last year to adopt a resolution to establish an annual International Day to commemorate the role girls and women play in science and technology.
We believe that ICT skills hold a key place in enabling our present and future generations to participate successfully in the Information based Economy of the Twenty-First Century. Logically we strongly believe that to have women in tech tomorrow, there should be a greater number of girls in tech today. They need to be immersed in technology and be passionate about the subject. They also need to make supporting choices in education and job market to emerge as technocrats, tech-entrepreneurs and tech-leaders.
Girl Tech Africa is projected to establish an information-rich Nigerian Society, in which Nigerian girls and young women can participate commendably in the knowledge-based economy of the Twenty-First Century and by so doing to work effectively to help build the future economy and reduce poverty.
Basically Girl Tech Africa will help to meet the computer and ICT Curriculum needs of female secondary schools, and initiate a cost-effective and practical way to provide girl students with significantly increased access to computers and ICT instruction.
Girl Tech Africa will establish computer labs in target female secondary schools and equally train designated number of teachers on an approved ICT curriculum to effectively teach students in their respective schools. In each target school, Girl Tech Africa will not only avail girl students access to ICT tools that adjust to their attention span and provide valuable and immediate feedback for literacy enhancement, which is currently not fully implemented in the Nigerian school system, but further connect them to the internet. The aim of this laudable initiative is to impart ICT skills to girls and young women in female secondary schools, and harness ICT to improve, enrich, and expand education in underserved communities.
The diverse ICT applications and use introduced by Girl Tech Africa will prove beneficial in giving girl students a better education. In the long term, these girl students will be bettered positioned to constitute a technologically-advanced female workforce, which will lead to ICT growth in Nigeria, with the potential to improve technology and telecommunications, media communications, and skilled ICT professionals who will be well-equipped to solve IT problems in Nigeria and other parts of the world.
Girl Tech Africa will play a crucial role in bridging the Digital Divide and enhance access to ICT literacy. The objectives of the program are to:
1) Establish computer labs in secondary schools, with a minimum of twenty computers, internet access and alternative electricity source (solar power energy panel).
2) Train teachers intensely on improved Microsoft ICT curriculum and empower them to effectively teach students on same curriculum.
3) Enhance computer literacy/ICT knowledge-base of girl students; enabling them learn how to participate in the new information and knowledge-based economy and in a society which promotes knowledge, as being the foundation of our future wealth.
4) Improve access to the internet for girl students; availing them access to large base of information and resources online.
It is clear that ICTs will continue to significantly impact all societies worldwide, in all economic, social, and cultural aspects especially education. The knowledge economy is demanding new types of learners and administrators. New technologies are changing modes of learning, collaboration and expression. The Internet is a driving force for much development and innovation in both developed and developing countries.
Thus, this Project will be able to create a new generation of ICT equipped girl students, ready to usher in a better knowledge economy. The expected outcomes of this pilot phase research project will include:
1) Computer labs established in secondary schools located in underserved communities.
2) Teachers well trained on improved Microsoft ICT curriculum.
3) Target of over one hundred girl students (from each target school) will be tutored on ICT and their ICT knowledge based improved.