June 16 of every year is the International Day of the African Child.

It is a day set aside since 1991 to celebrate the energy, strength, and creativity of children across Africa.

The year 2023 theme for the DAC is ‘The Rights of the Child in the Digital Environment.’

This year’s theme is timely because digital learning has become a crucial aspect of teaching and learning since the coronavirus outbreak which led to a global lockdown.

As such, several developing continents, especially Africa, had difficulties meeting up with the demands of e-learning.

Although, the United Nations Children’s Fund, through the Nigerian Learning Passport, tried to provide e-learning for basic education learners to complement whatever they learn at school. However, investigations revealed that Nigeria like other African countries has not fully integrated digital learning into the education sector.

While speaking on the DAC, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development Services), Prof. Ayodele Atsenuwa, complained that Nigeria had not been focused and committed to providing access to digital education for children.

She said, “We must create space for digital learning for all children in such a way that even when they do not have access at home there are places within the community, they can go to have access.  Nigeria has not been focused and committed to all round access to digital learning and this is the reason we must also embrace the 5G.”

Similarly, National President, Association of Tutorial School Operators, Mr Dotun Sodunke, lamented that Nigeria was generally backward in the area of digital learning.

“We are not in tune with the modern trends of anything, especially in education,” he said.

He defined digital education as the use of digital and technological teaching and learning tools to enhance teaching and learning, adding that it was basically the use of the internet and ICT to teach, and for learners to use to fast-track their learning skills.

“When you look at advanced countries, you’ll notice that they are already in the digital education they are not waiting for the future. But in Nigeria, we are very archaic and backward.”

He advised the government to invest more in education rather than focusing on policies that would just impact the outlook of the sector.

He maintained that digitalisation should be stretched to rural communities, saying that teachers should be retrained.

“Secondly, we need to change the mindset of our teachers and retrain them. Most of them are taught in this archaic manner and they are passing it to the next generation. And the next generation will pass it on to the next generation. We should train and retrain our teachers to be in tune with modern practice. How many schools have projectors or make use of CBT? It’s still the old paperwork. Sensitisation should go beyond Lagos to other rural areas and  in the north where the internet is seen as something evil.”

He also suggested that religious organisations and companies should establish ICT hubs for users, adding that the examination from primary one or basic one to SS3, should be CBT, while coding and robotics should be made compulsory subjects at the basic education level.

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