About 110 rural children have completed training in digital literacy in Plateau, to expand market opportunities for local businesses and innovators, Officials say.
The kids had no knowledge of the computer. But they were hand-picked and trained for several weeks, as a first step to solving inequality between rural and urban children, Mr. David Daser, the Director General, Plateau State Information Communication Technology Development Agency (PICTDA) told MK.
In his words, “Each time we talk about automation in schools, hospitals, e-commerce and all other IT innovations, we forget about inequality.
“The urban kids have access to internet and computer and can use them anytime. But the rural kids are deprived of all of these.
“What we are trying to do is to identify these deprived kids and give them basic digital knowledge. This is what we have done with these 110 but this is just the first step. We will examine them and see where next to go.”
The pilot phase of the training in Kagu village, in Pankshin South constituency, will be replicated all over Plateau State, said Mr. Daser. But finances are a threat, he said.
“We are networking with community influencers and representatives to fund the training while we provide the expertise and equipment,” said the IT Official.
“We want a situation where every child will be digitally literate so that the urban child will not have an edge over the rural kid in terms of attempting jamb questions and other basic IT activities,” added Mr. Daser.
Digital literacy, according to Daser will ultimately improve economic prospects for the State.
“The goal of PICTDA is to increase awareness and skills for the youths to explore economic opportunities in the IT sector.
“In addition, the more citizens are digitally literate, the more businesses can sell goods and services.
“If you have only 100,000 people that are digitally literate, it means you can only market your goods to these 1000 but when you increase to 500,000, you have increased the consumer market for such products to 500,000 targets.”
PICTDA had trained about 150 youths in digital marketing and about 45 in software development.
It currently has over 2000 applications for the same training and it is mobilizing resources for it.
Part of the training by PICTDA is responsible Internet usage, which would be isolated in a special radio program, “IT on Radio” starting next Tuesday on Highland 101.5FM Jos. The program will solve hate speech and fake news on social media, said Daser.