In view of the COVID-19 pandemic that slowed down teaching and learning in the country’s educational institutions, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, Group Executive Vice Chairman, SIFAX Group, has tasked relevant stakeholders in the education ecosystem on the need to upgrade information communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in schools across the country.
Afolabi made this call while delivering the keynote address at the just 5th Annual International Conference of the Faculty of Education, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife with the theme “COVID-19 and the Emerging Issues in Education”.
Afolabi, who was represented by Mr. Bode Ojeniyi, Group Executive Director, said such upgrade would provide unhindered access to quality education to all students, irrespective of their socio-economic status, especially during unforeseen circumstances.
He said: “The COVID-19 has exposed the inadequacies in our educational sector, as teaching and learning were affected during the lockdown and post-COVID 19. There is need for a “state of emergency” to be declared in the education sector in Nigeria, particularly in the public institutions, towards the upgrade of the entire educational infrastructure with particular emphasis on ICT equipment and skills re-tooling in schools that will support virtual teaching and learning.
“The government apart from coming up with enabling policies to support private-sector-led initiatives, must also consider setting aside “special funds” through any or all of its development agencies to be dedicated to the development of the educational sector technology infrastructure upgrade and personnel training/teaching faculties skills upgrade.”
Afolabi also called on all stakeholders in the sector, including parents, alumni, alumni associations, wealthy private individuals, philanthropists and corporate organizations to lend a hand in the transition of the educational sector to a 21st-century compliant one which is driven largely by technology.
Earlier, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, the institution’s Vice-Chancellor, commended Dr. Taiwo Afolabi and SIFAX Group for its numerous support and interventions in the education sector, adding that its financial support for its Faculty of Education and other faculties in the school is well appreciated.
Prof Bola Omotesho, Dean, Faculty of Education, lauded Dr. Taiwo Afolabi for his support towards the international conference and further solicited more assistance to reposition the faculty for improved teaching and research.