President Goodluck Jonathan has inaugurated the presidential committee on broadband, directing the ministry of education to incorporate Information and Communication Technology (ICT), into the National Education Curricular beginning from the primary school level.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, he said this was necessary because the children should not be burdened with the disadvantage of starting late if they were to become global ICT leaders in future.
“We must therefore start exposing our children to ICTs to encourage in them familiarity with new technologies and the desire to develop software programmes and applications”.
The president explained that the inauguration of the presidential committee marked a turning point in the nation’s quest to accelerate its transformation into a 21st century economy, noting that broadband access and internet technologies are key access to Socio-economic growth and the attainment of a fully knowledge based economy.
According to him, “it is important to start thinking of how to build a digital economy particularly in this era of the knowledge economy. The critical factor here is that we are in the middle of a digital revolution that has seen ICT transform the global economy.
President Jonathan stressed his administration’s commitment to support and encouragement ICT practitioners in the country to empower collective effort in attaining the goal of the 21st century economy.
He pointed out that broadband has the potential to facilitate the creation of new industries and introduce significant efficiencies into existing ones, adding that education delivery, health care provision, energy management, public safety, government/citizen interaction and the overall organisation and dissemination of knowledge will also benefit meaningfully from it.
In recognition of these benefits, he announced that the National ICT policy has set a target of five-fold increase in broadband penetration in the country by 2017.
The 14-man presidential committee has as chairmen, immediate past executive vice chairman of the National Communications Commission (NCC), Engr. Ernest Ndukwe and Chairman of Zenith Bank, Mr. Jim Ovia.
The committee which has its members drawn from state governments and the private sector as three months to complete its assignment. Its terms of reference include: articulate acceptable definitions and perspectives of broadband and related issues that are current and dynamic for the country.
Others include, to evaluate and analyse the current position of broadband infrastructure and service delivery in the country, if possible, define broadband served, un-served and underserved areas in the country and articulate an agenda for bridging the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” within the country and showcasing possible challenges.