It is imperative that we start thinking tech as we celebrate the children’s day annually. Today we commemorate the annual ritual of celebrating our children. Every, or most adults will have something to remember about this day. The nice water proof wrapped jollof rice at the stadium, the march past, nice speeches from our leaders and a hope given to these future leaders whose school uniforms bear witness under the cloudy weather.
Every year we celebrate the Children’s day and speech writers make their fortune playing with words to be read by our leaders. But in reality, what have we left as a legacy for our children. Please I don’t mean the children of the irredeemably corrupt politicians or public office holders. I am talking about that child in the public school who sells sachet water at the traffic lights after school for survival.
My problem as I reflect on this day is how we can make these promises a reality. Every child deserves a better life whether they have people in government or not. We can use a day like this to set a concrete agenda for a better future for our children.
While growing up, we had technical schools where basic vocational skills were obtained. Most students who graduated with the knowledge in Wood Work, Auto Mechanics, Metal Work/Welding, Electrical Installations, Fine Art, etc. had to set up their workshops after their secondary education. Some of them are still in our localities till date with many apprentices working under them. Unfortunately today, this is history.
We now have private schools set up to substitute the dilapidated public schools. Unfortunately, these private schools are nothing but mere grammar schools where our kids graduate only to speak Queens English as a proof of their being educated. This is the beginning of the high level of unemployment in our system since every employer require a skill before bringing such employee into his or her establishment.
Therefore for those who are able to train their kids in these private schools, they become so insecure about the future of the child that they again use their various political offices to secure illegal employment into government services because they know that these kids have no employable skills. Where education was meant for self-actualization it is now a tool to differentiate the rich and the poor.
As we celebrate our children today, let us think of bringing back vocational studies into our curriculum and earnestly seek ways to improve acquired skills among our children. Let us begin to think of engineers who can design and supervise the development of a machine. The days of producing ‘plug and play’ engineers from Nigeria Universities should be over. After all most industries producing great machines outside Nigeria has Nigerians working in key departments.
ICT is the in thing today all over the world. Hardware engineers depends on Software for the proper functioning of the machines. Therefore government should provide a better opportunity for talents to be harnessed from our schools through ‘hands-on’ training in various ICT skills and software development. This will help the child to work anywhere in the world from the comfort of his/her room. All he/she needs is a laptop and a viable internet connection.
Parent should also assist their wards by providing them with the necessary tools like laptops and other technical equipment. At the age of 9, a really smart kid can understand what is happening in the software industry with the help of a competent coach. Tomorrow can be better only if we plan for our children today. Technology has changed the economies of many nations and I believe it can change ours too.
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Please note: This article was initially published in the tabloids in Akwa Ibom State Nigeria on May 27th and was sent unedited to the press due to its urgency. If you sight some errors kindly ignore them but get the message. Together, we can build the Nigeria of our dream. Don’t forget we need sponsors to publish this column colored.