The role of education to the sustainable development of a nation cannot be overemphasized. And the role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in facilitating education cannot be overvalued. However, Nigeria as a nation is yet to fully reap the potentials inherits in ICT. This paper analyzes the relevance of ICT to education and the various ways ICT is use in education. The paper went on to proffers ways to reconstruct the ICT education in Nigeria in order to reap its full benefits. This recommendations judiciously followed will significantly improve the ICT education and consequently leads to a sustainable development in the nation.
In educational context, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) refers to those set of technologies for collecting, storing, processing, communicating and transmitting of information (Adebayo & Nafisat, 2016). The use of ICT in teaching/learning can easily be seen in Computer Aided Instruction (CAI)/Computer Aided Learning (CAL) (Adebayo & Nafisat, 2016). The World Wide Web (WWW) is used for sourcing information whereas the e-mail (electronic mail) is use for exchanging instant mails between a teacher and his students (Adebayo & Nafisat, 2016). Adu, Emunemu and Oshati (2014) reported that the use of ICT in education help in information retention, greater motivation and increases understanding. Forcheri and Molfino (2000) acknowledged the use of ICT to promote collaborative learning that involves role playing, group problem solving, activities and articulated projects (as cited in Adu et al., 2014). The use of ICT enables learning to takes place 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Education created it’s ICT department in February, 2007 (Agyeman, 2007). However, it’s greatest bottleneck to the deployment of ICT in education in the country since then, has been the erratic power supply ravaging the country (Agyeman, 2007). How can a developing nation consider investments in information and communication technology (ICT) for enhancing its formal and non formal education systems when most of its people still live in absolute poverty? (Asian Development Bank [ADB], 2009, p. 1) This is the question that usually arises whenever the issue of Information and Communication Technology Education (ICTE) is mentioned. Notwithstanding, these two interests are intertwined; elevating the educational level of the poor is a long term solution towards reducing their economic hardship (ADB, 2009). The influence of educational level on the economic prosperity is more easily seen with the lately growth of ICT and its indispensable role in social and economic prosperity (ADB, 2009). Developed nations would not have been able to have the extra human resource necessary to attain economic reliance in the face of the competitive world economy that is continuously based on the electronic transfer and processing of information, without a better and highly efficient education systems (ADB, 2009 as cited in ADB 2004, 2008b)
The Relevance of ICT to Education
a. The use of ICT in education provides the possibility of bridging the knowledge gap.
b. The use of ICT increases the quality of education and multiplies the quantity of excellent
c. ICT makes accrueing much knowledge possible by providing means to resources and greater reach to people thereby fulfilling their right to education.
d. ICT provides labour market with the right educational products.
e. The use of ICT effect a radical change in educational content and delivery methods.
f. The use of ICT in education foster information literacy which is the sustaining force of a developed society.
g. Investment in ICTE in Nigeria will likely leads the country towards educational reforms that are necessary for strengthening information literate citizenry which is the key to competing in the global economy.
h. The use of ICTE at primary and secondary levels will pave way for building a foundation in information literacy which will foster subsequent learning.
i. The use of ICTE in teacher training groom the future teachers in student centered teaching methodologies.
j. The use of ICTE improves the overall teaching and learning activities.
k. The use of ICTE fosters active learning and knowledge building by enabling communication and sharing of ideas among students, teachers and researchers.
l. The use of ICTE makes resources for academic research readily available (ADB, 2009).
How ICT is Used in Education
Information and Communication Technology play a significant role in providing access to quality education as reported by Gutterman, Rahman, Supelano, Thies and Yang (2009). A study revealed that 60% of the participants claimed that the use of ICT directly and positively affect the process of teaching and learning (Development, 2007 as cited in Gutterman et al., 2009). The current uses of ICT in Education fall into three major groups:
i. Information reservoirs and tools for teachers
ii. Supplement to classroom teaching and learning activities
iii. Means of delivering distance/online learning (Paas & Creech, 2008).
Information Reservoirs and Tools for Teachers
The web houses a great number of links to educational platforms for educators to share knowledge, publish and download articles and link to support materials for educational support and development (Paas et al., 2008). Examples of such sites are the Academia.edu, Research Gate and Slide Share. Most higher institutions have a website to suppor students admission and application process or to just establish an online presence.
Supplement to Classroom Teaching and Learning Activities
This is made possible via several collaborative learning activities on the Internet (Paas et al., 2008). Instances of such projects include the epals (https://www.epals.com/). This site connects primary and secondary school teachers to exchange ideas and learn together. It enables live classroom collaborations, provides blogging software and email service (Paas et al., 2008). Several other sites that enablecollaboration include iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) and ENO (Environment Online) (Paas et al., 2008). Other sites enable real time real world sharing. Such sites includes the JASON Learning (https://www.jason.org/) which is a site that enables students makes discoveries alongside a researcher conducting research in the field in real time via the website (Paas & Creech, 2008). Other real time real learning sites include the popular National Geographic, Polar Husky, Space for Species, Faulkes Telescope Project and Hands On Universe (Paas & Creech, 2008). Other sites promotes systems thinking through modeling, simulations and games. Instances of this include SimCity (www.simcity.com/), Richman (www.mmogames.com/game/richman-online), My Abodo (https://deangroom.wordpress.com/2010/0511/my-abodo-environmental-game/) etc. Such ICT enabled classroom experiences have the potential for encouraging student centered learning allowing students to be active learners who construct knowledge rather than passively receiving information. As a further pedagogical development, ICT can support evolution from the student-centered approach and the use of interactive technology to team centered pedagogy and the use of collaborative technology (ADB, 2009, p.2).
Means of Delivering Distance/Online Learning
Open distance learning has been made possible by the flexibility and accessibility of ICT. This has led to the rise of Open Universities in many countries (ADB, 2009). Nigeria is not left behind with its National Open University established on 22 July 1983 as springboard for open and distance learning in Nigeria suspended by the government on 25 April 1984 and resuscitated on the 12th of April 2001 by the former President of Nigeria, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo (NOUN, n.d.). Open Universities adopts a student centered learning approach. Working adults and others who could not attend conventional universities are provided with chance to further their education (ADB,2009). Instances of ICT tools used for delivering distance/online learning include Adobe Connect (formerly Macromedia Breeze), WebCT, and the open source Moodle. Moodle is the most widely accepted course management system that among other features enables collaborative teaching strategies (Paas, 2008).
Reconstructing the Information and Communication Technology Education (ICTE)
The following section will discuss the various ways ICTE could be reconstructed for sustainable development in Nigeria
1. Formulation of a Credible National ICT Policy
The National ICT policy should be formulated in such a way that it will develop the Nigeria’s ICT sector and foster an ICT driven environment that allows for cross sectional ICT adoption (ADB, 2009). To develop an ICT driven enabled society, according to ADB (2009), we have to:
a. Create a demand for ICT across all sectors.
b. Promote ICT developments and adoption through the formation of a public private
c. Tackle issues related to infrastructure and content.
ADB added that the national ICT policy should be the framework that makes it possible for “enabling sectors” (such as ICT and telecommunications) to work together, whereby “enabled sectors” (such as education, health, and agriculture) can become further empowered through the appropriate development and application of ICT (2009 as cited in URT-MCT 2003)
Guidelines for the Formulation of a Credible National ICT Policy
a. Lay a Great Emphasis on Convincing Stakeholders and Address Misunderstandings About ICT
Stakeholders could be addressed through nationwide public campaigns, study tours and enlightenment on how ICT can support education administration and positively influence classroom teaching and learning activities (ADB, 2009).
b. Create a Public Private Partnership Program
Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) can be very vital to the creation of digital content as well as the development of infrastructure (ADB, 2009).
c. Create a Legal and Regulatory Framework Backing ICT Development and Deployment
ADB (2009) suggested the following guidelines:
i. Justly and transparently enforced regulatory framework should be developed by the policy makers.
ii. Licencing can be utilized by policy makers to accrue revenue and to regulate content.
iii. The use of incentives such as tax breaks to promote ICT development (ADB, 2009).
d. Examine Infrastructure and Content Related Issues
Policy makers will have to decide whether to use proprietary software or free and open source software (FOSS) by weighing on the advantages and disadvantages of both. Localize contents to make it fits for the consumption of the local populace. It is hoped that good localization policies will lead to the emergence of local software companies that produces applications suitable for use in the nation (ADB, 2009)
2. Strategize an ICT Plan for the Education Sector
The major drawback in planning for ICTE is that cost implications is usually underestimated. For this reason, Ministries of Education (MOE) fails to make sufficient fund available. After the initial set up of the ICTE infrastructure, the cost of running and maintenance is usually left at the mercy of the benefiting institution and the parents. The policy makers usually do not look for other ways of sourcing funds to run and maintained the installed ICTE infrastructure (ADB, 2009).
Guidelines for Strategizing an ICT Plan for the Education Sector
a. Determine the Overall Cost of Deploying and Maintaining ICT Infrastructure
Determine the overall cost associated with deploying and maintaining an ICT infrastructure. The overall cost is usually a summation of initial set up cost, maintenance cost, recurrent cost and associated cost (ADB, 2009).
b. Use Public Private Partnership to Offset Associated Costs
Public Private Partnership can help to offset infrastructure associated cost like teacher training (ADB, 2009).
c. The Curriculum for Teacher Education Should Incorporate ICTE
ICTE should streamlined into the entire teacher education curriculum to develop ICT capability in the teachers (ADB, 2009).
d. ICT Teacher Training Should be Practical Oriented (ADB, 2009).
e. School Administration Training Should Fully Incorporate Technology Leadership Training (ADB, 2009).
3. Incorporating ICT at the Educational Institution Level
The following are the strategies offered by ADB (2009) for developing a school environment supportive of sustainable ICT integration:
a. The Concept of “ICT Capability” Should be Viewed as the Meaning of ICT for Education
ICT capability refers to not only technical skills but also judgement in the use of ICT tools at one’s disposal. ICT capability means the ability to determine what ICT tools to use, when to use them and why we are using them instead of the alternatives available (Department of Education and Skills, Government of the United Kingdom (DES-GOVUK), 2004 as cited in ADB, 2009).
b. ICTE Should be Incorporated in the Whole Curriculum
Aside from offering ICTE as a course in it’s own right, there is a need to involve ICT in the rest of the other courses in a way of Computer Aided Instruction (CAI)/Computer Aided Learning (CAL). DES-GOVUK (2004) offered the following ways to examine the involvement of ICT across the curriculum:
i. Promote how to incorporate ICT capability in specific subject areas.
ii. Find ways to utilize students ICT capability in some selected subjects.
c. Use ICTE to Foster and Promote Student Centered Learning
Lim et al. in 2005 (as cited in ADB, 2009) offers the following ways to achieve the above objective:
i. Provide the necessary guidance that will enable learners analyze and criticize the information they receive on both the print and the digital media.
ii. Encourage learners to question facts and share ideas.
d. School Administrators Should Make Schools a Breeding Ground for ICT Culture to Thrive
i. Furnish the school with all the necessary ICT equipments.
ii. Provide all the necessary supports to ICTE.
iii. Provide motivation to teachers who actively incorporate ICT in their teaching activities (ADB, 2009).
e. Use Monitoring and Evaluation to Gauge the Influence of ICT on Teaching and Learning Outcomes
Use the process of monitoring and evaluation to examine how ICT is helping to attain the school educational goals and ways to further this course (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MO-DOESE), 2006, as cited in ADB, 2009).
- Educational expenditure is usually large and coupled with ICTE requirements make it even larger. There is therefore the need for a sustainable public private partnership to assists in the deployment, running and maintenance of ICTE infrastructures.
- There is the need for Government to monitor the ICTE budgetary allocation to make sure that it is judiciously utilized.
- There is the need to completely overhaul the national educational curriculum to fully incorporate ICTE.
- There is the need for the Government to provide sufficient electricity nationwide, which is crucial to the use of ICT in education.
- There is the need to build the ICT skills of the teachers and in the future make ICT skills a criteria for teacher recruitment
- Provide enough licenses and a tax break for companies interested in setting up Internet Services to encourage competition and consequently makes Internet data services cheap.
- Provide enough computers to teachers and educational administrators free of charge or at a subsidized rate.
Reconstructing the ICTE to enable it facilitates the education sector and foster sustainable development in Nigeria is of paramount importance. This paper has looked into various ways this could be achieved. Formulation of a credible national ICT policy, strategizing an ICT plan for the education sector and incorporating ICT at the educational institution level are some of the solutions offered. The relevance of ICT to education and various ways ICT play role in the educational sector has also been analyzed.
(ADB), A. D. (2009). Good Practice in Information and Communication Technology for Education. Mandaluyong City.
(ADB), A. D. (2004). Information and Communication Technologies in Education and Training in Asia and the Pacific. Manila.
(ADB), A. D. (2008). Regional Technical Assistance on Innovative ICT in Education and Its Potential for Reducing Poverty in the Asia and Pacific Region. Manila.
Adebayo, T. E., & Nafisat, A. S. (2016). Information Communication and Technology (ICT) In Teacher Education: A Tool for Sustainable National Development in Nigeria. Annual International Conference of Educational Media and Technology Association of Nigeria (EMTAN) on ICT. Ile-Ife.
Adu, E. O., Emunemu, B. O., & Oshati, T. (2014). The Role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Higher Education in Sustainable Development. Kamla-Raj , 181- 190.
Agyeman, O. T. (2007). ICT for Education in Nigeria. InfoDev.
Bank, A. D. (2009). Good Practice in Information and Communication Technology for Education. Mandaluyong City.
Department of Education and Skills, G. o.-G. (2004). National Strategy: ICT Across the Curriculum Management Guide. UK.
Development, I. I. (2007). ICTs for Education: Impact and Lessons Learned from IICDSupported Activities. The Hague: IICD, 2007.
Gutterman, B., Rahman, S., Supelano, J., Thies, L., & Yang, M. (2009). Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) in Education for Development. New York: GAID.
Lim, C. M. (2005). Classroom Management Issues in ICT-Mediated Learning Environments:Back to Basics. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia.
MCT, U. R. (2003). National Information Communication Technology Policy.
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MO-DOESE), D. o. (2006). Education Technology, Six-Step Process in Creating a Technology Plan. http://dese.mo.gov/divimprove/.
NOUN. (n.d.). History of National Open University of Nigeria NOUN. Retrieved November 1,
2016, from http://www.noununiversity.org/: http://www.noununiversity.org/noun-universityhistory/
Paas, L., & Creech, H. (2008). How Information and Communications Technologies Can Support Education for Sustainable Development, Current uses and trends . Winnipeg, Manitoba: International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)