A call has gone out to governments at all levels to, a matter of priority, equip female schools with Information and Communication Technology, (ICT) facilities and internet access as well recruit sufficient number of qualified ICT teachers. Interpreted in development circle as an ICT early warning, the call is against the background of the results of a survey showing that 84.6% of the female students in the case of Kano State of Nigeria do not know how to use the internet while only 4.7% respondents said they have internet in their schools.
The same survey also showed that only 50 out of a total 204 schools have computer laboratory but, even then, the schools that have the facility have insignificant numbers of the computers and have no provisions for repairing them when they breakdown.
Motivated by the massive failure of students, especially females in the 2017 computer-based Unified Matriculation Examination (UME) of Joint Matriculation Examinations Board (JAMB), the survey on Access to Internet in Public Girls Secondary in Kano State was conducted by the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) at the close of last year, (2017).
Supported by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), the survey was to ascertain the state of things in public secondary schools, especially the hint that many students were using the computer for the first time in the life during the examination and consequently did not know how to interact with the systems to write the examination. This was so as to develop an appropriate advocacy plan to support the campaign for the promotion of greater access to internet for females students of secondary schools in the state towards the kind of policy framework that would terminate the .
A two-day Stakeholders Meeting on Promoting Greater Access to Internet in Public Girls Secondary Schools in the state which involved representatives of education authorities, parents, teachers, students, civil society organizations and journalists subsequently and strongly recommended a review of the ICT Policy of the Kano State government with a view to updating and implementation; payment of Internet services and provision of ICT facilities out of the PTA/School fees and other sources of incomes accruing to school managements; conduct of high level of advocacy by stakeholders towards getting the government, philanthropists, donor agencies and other stakeholders to support the provision of ICTs facilities to girl’s secondary schools; encouragement of female indigenes of states in Nigeria to study computer related courses at tertiary level so as to provide each state with both sufficient number of female ICT teachers and role models for the students to emulate; Internet Service Providers (ISP) subsidizing Internet access to public secondary schools As part of Community Social Responsibility (CSR) and articulation and implementation of a digital inclusion agenda especially by the Federal Government aimed at bridging the gender digital divide, among others aspects of the digital divide.
Providing more background to these recommendations, the Communiqué Team involving Dr. AdamuTuraki (Chairman); Malam Zakariyya Abdullahi Balarabe, KSSSMB (Member); Alhaji Wakili Shehu Abubakar, State PTA Chairman (Member) and Maryam Ado Haruna, CITAD (Secretary) drew attention to how accessing of internet by female students is further constrained by ignorance and misconception among parents, especially in rural areas, resulting in only 0.12% of the respondents in terms of affording subscription to internet access and a computer. When it comes to those allowed by their parents to use the internet, only about 9% fit in, the rest discouraged from using the internet for reasons of moral concerns, (26.0%); fear that they will become exposed to boys and men, (11.1%) and understanding of engagement with the internet as a waste of time, (8.5%).
Additionally, none of the schools have sustainable internet connectivity aside from the absolute lack of resources to provide fuel for the generators to use in the absence of grid electricity supply in the schools. In the end, Computer Science as a subject is taught as a textbook affair without the students even knowing what computers look like, much less engage with it.
The communiqué hints how it might be worse in many states if the situation is this bad in Kano which is one of few states to have developed a state-level ICT policy by the year 2000. It is suggested that the situation might have arisen from the policy having lasted more than 10 years without being implemented.