By Desmond Ejibas
The Federal Government said on Tuesday it has trained 790 children in three states on emerging technologies as part of its 95 per cent digital literacy realisation by 2030.
The states are Abuja, Jigawa and Rivers.
Mr Kashifu Inuwa, Director-General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) spoke at an award ceremony to mark the end of the training of 177 children and teenagers in Port Harcourt.
Represented by Sam Sambo, Zonal Coordinator, South South, NITDA, Inuwa said the training was in collaboration with the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence (NCAI).
He said, “Children between the ages of eight and 16 years were trained in Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Drone Technologies, Extended Reality, Digital Communication, and Internet of Things.
“Others are 3D Design, Coding and Virtual Reality, as part of NITDA’s Stem Bootcamp for Kids (SB4Kids) programme.
“The Federal Government is committed to catching our children young as part of efforts to address the unemployability gap in the country.
Inuwa expressed optimism that the ‘catch them young’ programme would yield positive results especially as the world was evolving and bracing up with emerging technologies.
“So far, we have trained about 1,954 across four states and the Federal Capital Territory since 2021.
“In 2023 alone, we trained 282 boys and girls from the ages of eight to 16 years in Abuja; 331 in Jigawa and 177 in Port Harcourt.
“We commend the University of Port Harcourt for collaborating with us and making sure that the future of our children is safe,” he said.
Speaking, the Director of the Centre for Information and Telecommunications Engineering (CITE), Prof. Bourdillion Omijeh said the program was designed to address unemployment in the country.
He said the children have been equipped with the technological skills and knowledge needed to create newer jobs.
“However, when you look at our university system in Nigeria, we have lots of first class and second class holders without jobs.
“So, the question is how do we bridge the gap, and how do we create jobs and entrepreneurs in the country.
“What we are advocating for is simply: learn and earn.
“We want our children, while undergoing training, to develop skills, so that at the point of their graduation from the university they will have both a degree and professional certification,” he said.
On his part, Prof. Owunari Georgewill, Vice Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) said the training was in tandem with his vision for a ‘Total Education’ for both adults and children.
He commended the trainees for their digital innovation and encouraged them to make judicious use of their newly acquired knowledge to create a better life for themselves and families.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that highlight of the event was the presentation of certificates and awards as well as the trainee’s showcasing of their newly acquired skills. (NAN)