As part of Federal Government’s commitment to actualise a digitally literate citizenry and facilitate a stable digital economy, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), flagged off training of 6624 Nigerians through its Digital States Initiative (DSI) in commemoration of the International Literacy Day.
The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) while delivering his keynote address at the virtual Opening Ceremony of Digital States Initiative to celebrate International Literacy Day with the theme “Literacy for a Digital Nigeria”, stated that the programme is aimed at equipping Nigerian youths with the necessary digital literacy skills that can facilitate Nigeria’s transition to a digital economy.
Prof Pantami quoted the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) definition of literacy in 2005 as “the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute using printed materials associated with varying context”. Adding that, Literacy involves a continuum of learning and enabling individuals achieve his or her goals.
He said: “Digital literacy on the other hand refers to those things we need to read, learn and work in a society where communication and access to information is predominantly through digital technologies and innovations like the internet platforms, social media and mobile devices”.
The Minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Engr Bitrus Bako Nabasu, noted that the programme seeks to invest in human capital development in preparation for the impact of digitisation and digitalisation of Nigeria.
He mentioned that the international literacy day, which holds on September 8 every year, is to raise awareness and concern for literacy problems that exist within our local communities and globally.
He cited the proclamation of the UNESCO in 1966, which was to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human right.
While making his remarks, the Director General of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi noted that digital literacy is a key pillar in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), adding that “we have an ambitious target for 95% literacy in Nigeria by 2030”.
He stated that at NITDA, this target was cascaded down to the Agency’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2021-2024) and also the draft National Innovation and Entrepreneurship Policy. These, he noted, will help in building human capacity of Nigerians.
Abdullahi said, “To succeed as a country in our journey to digital economy, we need to invest hugely in building the digital capacity of our citizens”, adding that building the capacity of the citizen is being taken from two angles; starting from the basic, that every Nigerian should have the basic skills to use digital tools and benefit from services it offers. The other angle he said, is building competencies within the country so that digital services can be built digital for nation’s economic benefits.
He further enthused: “We can address the African Free Trade Zone to expand our services to other African countries and globally. The reason why the NITDA is very focused on Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship that can help citizen build Innovation Driven Enterprise (IDE).
The Country Director of Microsoft in Nigeria, Mrs Ola Williams, while delivering her goodwill message at the event, commended the Ministry and NITDA for the initiative and assured the Agency that her organisation is focused on enabling digital skilling.
Also while speaking, County Director of Oracle Inc., Mr Segun Ajayi, said the organizations is dedicated to making Nigeria the hub of digital economy and also empowering Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through innovation.
Participants from across the country took turns to appreciate the Ministry, and NITDA for giving them such great opportunity that will prepare them for the future.
The 11 states where the training will be taking place are Katsina, Ekiti, Oyo, Kaduna, Borno, Bauchi, Imo, Bayelsa, Niger, Nasarawa, and Abia States.