FG inaugurates Digital Literacy Council

Mr Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications.

The Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, has inaugurated the first Digital Literacy Council to oversee digital literacy programme aimed at providing individuals and communities with Information Communication Technology (ICT) education.

Mr. Henshaw Ogubike, Deputy Director Press and Public Relations Unit, Ministry of Communications, made the disclosure in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.

The statement said that members of council had been carefully selected to represent key stakeholders, corporate organizations, government functionaries, academics and industry luminaries.

It quoted the minister as saying that in view of the seriousness attached to the task, “I have also taken the responsibility of chairing the council’’.

It said that the council’s members who were at the inauguration included the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications, Mr. Sonny Echono.

Others are the Permanent Secretaries, Ministries of Sports and Youths Development, Mr. Chinyeaka Ohaa, Women Affairs and Social Development, Phyllis Nwokedi and their Transportation counterpart.

The statement said that the Director-General, Public Service Reform, Dr. Joe Abba is also a member.

Other members from the academia and industry are Prof. Adamu Rashidi, Executive Secretary, National University Commission (NUC) and Vice-Chancellor of University of Ibadan, Prof. Idowu Olayinka.

The rest are the Vice-Chancellor, Bayero University, Prof. Muhammed Bello, Yusuf Kazaure, Manging Director of Galaxy Backbone Ltd and Mr. Stanley Jegede, Chief Executive Officer, Phase 3 Telecom.

“Digital Literacy Programme will provide the opportunity for individuals and communities to understand the use of Information and Communications Technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information for meaningful actions and within life situations,’’ the statement said.

It said the minister explained that the council was formed because the economy was experiencing a downturn due to dwindling revenue from the Oil and Gas sector and inadequate economic diversification.

It quoted Shittu as saying that the government believed that the ICT sector had the potential to be the arrow head for weaning the country off oil and gas.

The statement said that the ICT Roadmap was therefore developed as an integrated, multi-stakeholder framework that would be used to direct activities of the ICT sector for the period 2016 to 2019.

And one of the integral components of the ICT sector Roadmap, it noted, was the development of a smart, globally competitive workforce and digitally literate population.

“And the key initiative targeted at achieving this objective is the Digital Literacy Programme,’’ it quoted Shittu as saying.

It restated that the existence of a Global Digital Literacy Council would define and serve as a credible voice on issues driving the development of Global Digital Literacy Standards and Systems.

The statement said that the council would also oversee and guide the development of digital literacy standards and ensure that such were market-driven.

“The delivery methodologies and reporting systems must align with the market, corporate, educational, workforce development/government, and individuals’ expectations of computing literacy.

“The council will be expected to develop a National Digital Literacy Policy and Strategic Action Plan for the implementation of this initiative as well as identify and harness opportunities for partnerships.

“This is in order to provide digital literacy services to Nigerian citizens irrespective of their geographical location within the country.

“Its decisions will be implemented by the Digital Literacy Management Committee under the leadership of the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Isa Pantami,” it said.

The statement said that the minister charged the council to seize the opportunity of the inauguration to deliberate and agree on its operational methods.