Preparing The Next Generation For A Digital World

At The Chris Ogunbanjo Foundation, one of our core objectives is to promote and sponsor the development of science and technology-based education for the attainment of an industrial society in Nigeria. In our 2019 quarter for Private Enterprise (July to September), we achieved this objective by partnering with Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre- W.TEC and sponsoring 37 children and girls to study courses in Robotics, Python Programming, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and much more.

The W.TEC Academy is an afterschool technology club which presents technology in an engaging way with the aim of attracting more girls to pursue science and technology careers. The clubs target girls aged 10 to 17 years who attend public schools in Lagos. The students go through a practical and engaging curriculum comprising of programming with Alice and Greenfoot, Mobile Application Development, Computer Architecture, Networking and Robotics.

The Early Innovators non-residential camp aims at discovering the innate curiosity of children by introducing them to computing and science concepts through play and exploration; thereby providing them with early inspiration to solving significant problems around them through information and communication technology (ICTs).

 

According to a 2017 UNICEF report on the state of the world’s children,

  • The most connected age group is made up of people within the ages of 15–24. Worldwide, 71% are online compared with 48% of the total population.
  • Children and adolescents under 18 accounts for an estimated one in three internet users around the world.
  • A growing body of evidence indicates that children are accessing the internet at increasingly younger ages. In some countries, children under 15 are as likely to use the internet as adults over 25.
  • Smartphones are fuelling a ‘bedroom culture’, with online access for many children becoming more personal, more private and less supervised.

Connectivity can be a game-changer for some of the world’s most marginalized children, helping them fulfil their potential and break intergenerational cycles of poverty.

  • Digital technologies are bringing opportunities for learning and education to children, especially in remote regions and during humanitarian crises.
  • Digital technologies also allow children to access information on issues that affect their communities and can give them a role in helping to solve them.
  • Digital technologies can deliver economic opportunity by providing young people with training opportunities and job-matching services and by creating new kinds of work.
  • To accelerate learning, information and communication technology (ICT) in education needs to be backed by training for teachers and strong pedagogy.

But digital access is becoming the new dividing line, as millions of the children who could most benefit from digital technology are missing out.

  • About 29% of youth worldwide – around 346 million individuals – are not online.
  • African youth are the least connected. Around 60% are not online, compared with just 4% in Europe.
  • Digital divides go beyond the question of access. Children who rely on mobile phones rather than computers may get only a second-best online experience and those who lack digital skills or speak minority languages often can’t find relevant content online.
  • Digital divides also mirror prevailing economic gaps, amplifying the advantages of children from wealthier backgrounds and failing to deliver opportunities to the poorest and most disadvantaged children.
  • There is a digital gender gap as well. Globally, 12% more men than women used the internet as of 2017. In many African and some Asian countries, less than one-third of internet users are female.

These statistics have improved since 2017 but there are still many individuals who remain on the negative side of the digital divide. It is our hope that more young Nigerians will be empowered and prepared for the digitalized world of works.

To read more about Children In A Digital World, please see link:

https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/SOWC_2017_ENG_WEB.pdf

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