Information and Communication Technology And The African Youth

by Sunday Ogundugba


“It is important that we all realize that our eventual success or failure is not solely dependent on environment factors ( Africa ), we are the architects of our own future

Most of the views of people towards Africa’s problem have shunned the root as one deserving of concern. The root here connotes the totality of the young ones whose future is Africa herself. The youths of yester years are now today’s big heads. As we now blame our present predicament on African leaders, then there must have been a bleak past, such that the then youths have been badly managed. But now that Africa is beset by socio-economic problem with new changes in all facets of life, the next few years are determined by today’s deliberate attempt at maximizing the opportunities around us. It is in the light of this seemingly formidable statement that I consider ICT a beneficial thing that the African youths could utilize to better her lots and to swing momentum with the rest of the world.

It always dishearten me whenever I look at the graduates churned out of from the Nigerian universities who still views ICT as just something deserving of no concern. This is not only peculiar to Nigeria alone but other African countries Africa is one of the continents with poor utilization of ICT. What is ICT?

Femi Omotoso defines Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as “Computers, ancillary equipment software, hardware, services and resources interconnected together to form networks that is used in the automatic acquisition, storage, manipulation, managements, movements control, display, switching, interchange, transmission or reception of data or information:. This definition is not only too technical but capable of blurring our understanding. So I narrow the definition down to Internet and its opportunities. How does the African youths enter the picture?
The African Youths are those young African citizens who are bedeviled by the circumstances of their origin in areas of socio-economic, educational sectors. These sectors have not only produced an underfed youth but have left them depleted through conscious and unconscious attempts by the African system. But then I digress.
In one of my articles entitled Beyond University Degrees Published in a national daily, I recount an experience of my undergraduate days. At 200level, we had to fulfill the university’s demand to go through two computer courses. The motif behind it was “Information and Communication Technology ICT and Computer Application is designed with a view to make the students have deep knowledge of ICT and Computer application”. We went through these courses, theoretically sound but practically dull. We did not see these computer machines face to face. I know some of us could not distinguish the mouse from the monitor yet a great percentage of us passed these courses.

What am I driving at?

Socio-economy-wise, Africa’s youth still linger on in ignorance. In my department as a student ten percent of our population can use the internet. Generally in Africa , there is still an awesome importance attached to books. Then comes the arrant voices howling the heresy that Africa is underdeveloped despite the tide of change sweeping through the continent. How can the African youth be nurtured to the realities of ICT? How do we begin a revolution in the ICT sector such that our youths would not only be infused with its many ideals but able to invent, create and transform the world?

Gbenga Sesan, an ICT expert in Nigeria speaks: “These new technologies (ICT) are available for the students or young professional who wishes to get off the crowded road by embracing entrepreneurship. There are numerous online resources that will be of help for your proposed business; sample business plans, clarification in business models etc. ICT also provides you with opportunity to communicate with others who have been able to do what you are attempting. Through mailing lists and online forums, you can access unbelievably useful information.

Reinforcing this point, my own experience as a writer has proved the fact that ICT is an essential aspect of human lives. As a writer beset with publishing factor in Africa , where the publishers live under the notion that they are doing writers a favour by publishing them, the internet has greatly influenced my career. My inspiration to write is based on the solace found in being “freely” published on the web, in a forum. I not only scale through financial hurdles but help my mind.

November 1st is the day set aside for the celebration of African youths. When I watched the Nigerian version on the TV, little emphasis was placed on ICT and I’m not so impressed. The governments of African countries must ensure that those designated Youth Ministries it creates are not for ordinary function but the empowerment of the youths in all ramifications, ICT inclusive.

One way to attain this is to ensure that students are not only equipped theoretical ICT wise but practically through physical contacts with these machines .Of course there should be retraining of teachers in ICT to salvage the ugly tread that cultrate education poses.

As well, the African youths as an entity should change her attitude towards his or her countries as even in Africa dreams can be actualized.

Let me then repeat the content of the abstract here. We are the architects of our future. The governments, the non-government organizations, the youth should rise up to embrace ICT. All hands must be on deck to lift Africa higher than her contemporaries.

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LIZZY ADEKUNLE April 25, 2008 - 9:51 am

This is a nice article, it actually will help me ,i have a similar assignment on the same article. Topic is : it education in nigeria and vision 2020. I need more idea on this , i realy would appreciate if i can get materia on it. Thank you and god bless you.

jire November 23, 2007 - 3:44 am

this is a very nice article that has showcase a skill


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