10 day training for students interested in software development in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has been flagged off in Abuja by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Microsoft in partnership with the Zariah Foundation.
The training, under the UNESCO Youth Mobile summer camp project is designed to teach young girls and boys the ability to create mobile applications for sustainable development.
UNESCO Official, Mr. Anthony Oguniyi said at the event with representatives from 10 schools in the territory that the Youth Mobile Initiative builds on the experience of many worldwide initiatives that introduce young people to computer science programming and problem solving.
He said, “It also seeks to build on experiences targeting young women who are vastly underrepresented in this field and it builds on the consideration that for millions of young people, the smartphone in their pocket is a very powerful computer, it will be their only computer, and they could use it for nearly every aspect of their lives: communicating, learning, taking pictures, and playing games.”
The Executive Director, TZE Foundation, Dayo Akindolani, said the objective was to raise the next generation of software developers in the country.
Akindolani, who emphasized on the role of young boys and girls to helping realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) said it became imperative to develop their capacity in order to create reliable solutions.
Describing the free initiative as relevant considering the Federal Governments drive to developing the education and Information Communication and Technology (ICT) sectors, he said about 50 students from 10 schools would benefit from the summer camp for 10 days with consistent training.
“We selected schools that have interest in ICT and are promoting ICT. We don’t just want to train the students and the training will not be sustained. So we are training their teachers as well so that beyond this summer camp, the teachers can continue with the training while we also help with mentoring,” Akindolani said.
“The teachers can as well transfer the knowledge to other students. Of course they will be trained on HTML, Java Scripts for web language and other programming for mobile applications. Beyond that, we have a sustainability plan to place them on a portal called the developers’ haven, where every student can belong to a community and they can learn further by sharing their experiences and solutions.”
The Proprietress, Tophill School, Mrs. Kate Nomhwange described ICT as language of the 21st century especially in the area of education, saying, “ICT makes learning easier and more interactive, thus need for the partnership with UNESCO and TZE foundation in order to develop the nation’s education sector.
“Anywhere you go now ICT is always a major discourse. You will be surprised that any small business must be ICT compliance. So I just think it is a must for any school and country to witness true development.”
She appealed to the Federal Government to prioritise the education sector, stressing that failure to do such may cripple the country from true development as younger generation may eventually end up as illiterates, who may not have the capacity to grow the nation.
Vitalis Osita, one of the facilitators, described mobile application as a medium to build mobile solutions such as Uber among others.
He listed forms applications, no texting while driving application among other applications the student will be trained.
“The no-texting while driving is an application that reads messages loud on behalf of the driver. It reads out name of the sender and automatically responds to the sender based on your settings that you are driving and you will put a call through later,” he said.
Miss Sani Grace Ugbede-Ojo, one of the beneficiaries lauded the initiative and urged the orgainsers to extend ICT training to the female gender.
She said women are not offered the same opportunities as men in the area of ICT, thus government should create programmes that will encourage more women in the sector.