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How lack of ICT integration affects quality education in FCT schools

Although Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has become a relevant part of human life, availability and access to ICT education is a challenge to many pupils and students in the FCT. In some government-owned schools, shortage or absence of devices, dilapidated computer labs and teachers with inadequate ICT training limit the quality of education acquired by students and pupils, IJEOMA OPARA reports.

Maryam Ibrahim had always hoped that her first son, Kareem, would pursue a career in technology when he grew up.

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She had heard about young people doing innovative things in technology, which sparked her interest in having one of her children explore the sector.

“One of my boss’ children lives in Europe. The last time he came to Nigeria, he told me he was into tech. I think that is what the world is focused on now, and I want my own son to be a part of it,” she said.

However, her dreams hang in the balance because her son’s school, LEA Nomadic Primary School, Wassa in the FCT, does not have a computer laboratory, let alone teach the subject.

She told The NGGOSSIPS that when she realised her son’s school did not teach him computer studies, she attempted to find a special class for computer studies but could not afford it.

“I asked one man around my place if he could teach him computer studies, but I could not afford his fees because I also have to pay for the school fees of my other children,” Ibrahim said.

Her son is one of the many pupils and students in the FCT that are denied quality access to computer studies.

Beyond the opportunities that ICT offer as a career path, computer studies have also been found to improve learning for children.

A United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report stated that the learning process, especially for children, could be enhanced by technology, even in pre-schools, to improve learning skills.

“One of the critical areas where technology has highly improved understanding is critical thinking, as students are empowered to approach and exploit opportunities with courage and potential. Further, digitisation has enabled students to move into an era of digital learning, spearheaded by ICT’s adoption as an interconnected environment.

“ICT has helped institutions make more informed decisions that have led to the adoption of measures responsible for upholding the economy and environment’s integrity. Through this, a transformative, comprehensive, and higher quality education system is brought forward,” the report read in part. However, this is not the reality in government-owned primary schools within the FCT.

To ascertain the state of ICT education in the FCT, The NGGOSSIPS visited some government-owned primary schools in the FCT, including the LEA Primary School, Karon-Majigi.

Like Kareem’s school, it was also observed that pupils had no access to computer education.

While ICT is rarely taught in government-owned primary schools, it is often not treated as a practical subject in junior secondary schools.

In some junior secondary schools visited by The NGGOSSIPS, it was observed that students are only taught the theoretical part of computer studies with minimal practice.

The NGGOSSIPS visited the Junior Secondary School, Life Camp, where it was observed that computer studies are mainly limited to theory.

One of the teachers at the Junior Secondary School, Life Camp, who refused to disclose their identity for lack of authorisation to speak, confirmed to The NGGOSSIPS that Computer Science was being taught mostly as a theory than a practical subject.

“We have a lab. But if you want the child to be all that literate, maybe you will enrol them in extra classes. What we really do here is more of theory at their level. But when they go to the senior level, they start practical theory,” the teacher said.

When confronted with possible difficulties with understanding, the teacher said that was the training required at their level.

“All those private schools teaching practicals in junior secondary and primary levels are just stressing the children’s brains. There is a procedure to education, and there is what you give to a child at a particular age. If you read education very well, you will know what you are supposed to give to a child.

“We are not in the western world. We teach according to the scheme. That is the problem that private schools have. They know the practicals but they don’t know the theory. But if they learn the theory well, when they see the practical, they can perform it. For junior schools, it is alternative-to-practical,” the teacher said.

A student of the school who spoke to The NGGOSSIPS said although she had basic computer skills, she mostly learnt from her brother.

“They teach us computer in school, but most of what I know, I learnt from my brother at home. He teaches me with his laptop. Our teachers teach us on the board, and we do a bit of practical. But my brother teaches me more with his laptop,” she said.

The National Policy on Education (NPE), as revised in 1988 and again in 2004, requires teaching computer science as a discipline and integrating the same into school administration and instruction.