The Oyo State Government on Wednesday disclosed that it is partnering Microsoft and Signal Alliance on its digital literacy programme, saying that 800 computers will be provided across eight centres as the pilot scheme.
The Government stated these during a press conference attended by representatives of Microsoft Nigeria, Signal Alliance, Tertiary Institutions, Schools Governing Board and other stakeholders held at the Film Theatre of the State Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism in Ibadan.
Speaking at the conference, the Special Adviser to Governor Abiola Ajimobi on Education, Dr Bisi Akin-Alabi stated that the state would launch digital literacy centers to prepare the state towards producing a knowledgeable competent workforce in the country.
She explained that the state government cum Microsoft and Signal Alliance would give birth to eight centres with 100 computers each, stressing that four centres will be in Ibadan, two in Oke Ogun, 1 for Oyo/Ogbomoso Zone and One for Ibarapa zone.
Dr. Akin-Alabi said that the every student is expected to benefit from the digital literacy, noting that Microsoft has promised to give the state 700 computers every year to complement the state government’s efforts until each school in the state is covered.
According to her, “this digital literacy project was put on ground towards the Sustainable Development Goals in education in order to ensure wholesome offerings for all and to demonstrate the government commitment to delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals 4 (SDG) to bridge gaps in education provision. Oyo State government is collaborating with Microsoft and Signal Alliance to launch the digital literacy and cluster learning centers in the State. Initially, the government wanted to provide 3 Cluster Learning Centre (CLC) as a pilot scheme but the partnership with Microsoft and Signal Alliance increased it to eight.
“This is to improve access to qualitative education in the State by all private and public pupils. The Senator Abiola Ajimobi-led administration in Oyo State is set to launch a 21st Century Compliant digital literacy drive. This is another unprecedented move by the administration to prepare Oyo State for a knowledge-based future and make the State a hub for producing a knowledgeable competent workforce in Nigeria,” Dr Akin- Alabi added.
In her comments, the Microsoft Head of Education Programs in Nigeria, Ms Jordan Belmonte said that the programme was built towards making Oyo State meet the global technological pace, saying that this project could put Nigeria on the digital technological map through the state.
Belmonte pledged Microsoft’s commitment to lifelong education by providing education solutions and at the same time, promoting adoption of ICT in schools, stressing that the project will lead to institutional change and students can get certification which is recognized globally thereby giving Nigerian companies the opportunity to find the needed talent from their host community.
She said “We are delighted to partner the Oyo State Government and Standard Alliance we believe that investment in education is a critical component of preparing youths for the global workforce and it is directly tied to a country’s economic growth. Our mission is to ensure that we support this advancement in learning and the benefits it provides for Nigerian students. Microsoft Nigeria is committed to promoting lifelong learning by providing affordable access to education solutions and promoting the adoption of ICT in schools.”
The representative of Signal Alliance, Mrs. Adamma Onoegbu said it was important to prepare graduates before joining the workforce so as to be sure of quality input into the nation’s economy.
She said that technology should reach everywhere in Nigeria, hence the need to support the digital literacy drive of the Oyo State Government, assuring that the company will ensure that the objectives of the programme are realized.
The press conference was witnessed by the State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Adeniyi Olowofela, Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun, Chairman, Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Mrs Aderonke Makanjuola among others.