The Justice Development and Peace Caritas (JDPC) Nnewi, Anambra State has expressed concerns over students’ preparedness for Computer-Based Tests (CBT) as announced by the West Africa Examination Council, WAEC ahead of its examinations.
To this end, it has resolved to collaborate with the agency to address technological gaps in education and healthcare in the state.
The Director, Rev Fr Benedict Okolo, disclosed this during an advocacy visit to Anambra State ICT Agency, as part of its Campaign for Anambra Health Laws Strengthening and Education Advancement.
The campaign is part of the JDPC’s Community Resilience Engagement and Management (CREAM) project, aimed at enhancing the implementation of Anambra’s education and health laws, as funded by the UK FCDO and facilitated by the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room.
The director noted that while the Joint Admission and Examination Board, JAMB has been conducting computer based tests, thousands of students still find it difficult.
“The recent announcement by WAEC to follow suit has made it imperative that we intentionally make efforts towards helping our children to cope better with the technology. If this is not done, even the brilliant ones among will fail,” he said.
In a remark, one of the project team members, Onyekachi Ololo, emphasized that the state’s ongoing digitalization initiatives are laudable and must be encouraged, even as he suggested that similar attention be extended to public schools and primary healthcare centers.
“There is need for automation in public schools and healthcare centres. Government also needs to continue to train and retrain its workforce and sensitize the citizens to take active part in its free education and health care delivery services.
He further praised the free antenatal and delivery policies of the government even as he called on the ICT agency to set up independent reporting methods for effective implementation. “This independent reporting platform will enable the citizens to report issues around implementation across the twenty one local government areas. This again calls for the deployment of technology,” Ololo submitted.
The State Chairman of Community Empowerment Network (COMEN) Ide Godwin Eze, from Oba community, called for more sensitization at the communities to embrace the digitalization program of the government while Mrs Ogoamaka Atuenyi from Utuh spoke about the absence of functional computer centre in the secondary school in her community.
In his response, the Chairman of the ICT Agency, Mr. Chukwuemeka Agbata, represented by Mr. Castro Ideke, highlighted the government’s commitment to digitalization.
Agbata stressed that collaboration with international organizations, multinational businesses, and communities is essential for transitioning the state into a Tech hub and upgrading Computer Labs in public schools.
While acknowledging the government’s limited resources, Chairman of the ICT Agency shared the vision of the State Government to build smart schools across the senatorial zones of the state while the Agency is partnering ministries of Education and Health to achieve the aspirations of the Governor for Anambra state which is in alignment with the objectives of the SPARK project.
The dialogue highlighted the necessity of bridging technological gaps in education and health sectors, urging collaborative efforts between the government, communities, and international partners for a digitally inclusive Anambra state, capable of bridging the gap between education and health policy and legal knowledge with a view to empowering citizens to assert their rights and fostering a more informed and equitable society.