LAUNCHING CEREMONY OF THE DIGITAL SMART CLASSROOM. REMARKS BY HER EXCELLENCY, PRINCESS ADEJOKE ORELOPE-ADEFULIRE, SENIOR SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
14TH AUGUST, 2018.
- His Excellency The Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo GCON, SAN
- Honourable Ministers
- HE Honourable Minister of Communications
- HE Honourable Minister of State for Education
- Chairman UBEC
- Executive Secretary NEPC, NIPC, TETFUND
- My Distinguished Guest, Mr Dejian Liu Chairman Netdragon Websoft and his entire Team.
It is my pleasure to welcome you all to the launching of the Digital Smart Classroom themed “Achieving inclusive and equitable quality education for all by 2030”, this no doubt underscores the importance our administration places on Driving a Digital Economy.
- You may recall that the SDGs were adopted by the Heads of State and Government at the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly in September, 2015 in New York, with our President Muhammadu Buhari in attendance. The SDGs comprises of 17 Goals and 169 Targets which seek to achieve a better life for all, particularly, human rights, gender equality, empowerment of women and girls for the economic prosperity of all nations. Interestingly, at the occasion our President pledged the total commitment of Nigeria to the full implementation of the SDGs. Nigeria has firmly committed to put its best foot forward at all times in ensuring sustainable development.
- The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) is working hard to actualize the dream of a knowledge-based and innovation-driven digital economy. As you may be aware I recently visited Silicon Valley in the United States and engaged with CEOs of several global IT companies. Only recently we hosted Google executives who are working to provide free Internet to 10 million Nigerians in key locations across the country. Google like several other IT companies are establishing a strong presence in Nigeria not out of altruism but based on hard and rational logic of profit to be made and potentials to impact a large youthful market of 200 million population. The Nigerian digital economy will generate an estimated US$ 88 billion and create three million jobs over the next ten years.
- As our world continues to evolve the way we work also continues to change. The industrial revolution of the 18th and 19th century caused a fundamental change in the way goods were produced from human labour to machinery. During the Industrial Revolution the dynamics of employment changed forever in Britain, Western Europe and the United States of America. Young men and women who failed to learn how to operate machinery soon found out they were either sidelined or grossly underpriced in the labour market. Today we are experiencing a different kind of revolution. It is the Digital Revolution.
- Our world is a global village and what happens in one end of the world reverberates in another end in micro seconds. Every facet of life has been influenced by the digital revolution, from our social lives to our entertainment and from our working world to our health. There are very few services and aspects of our life that cannot be controlled online from the comfort of our own homes on a desktop computer, tablet or even mobile phone.
- In less than 3 decades of the digital revolution, our lives have changed forever. The mobile phone today is a computer, a mobile bank, a video and audio camera. It is also a television, a radio, a market for buying and selling, an office work tool, a newspaper, a tabloid, and a magazine. Nearly everything can be done with a smartphone from any location. Those who deny this reality today may be unable to coexist with civilized humanity tomorrow.
- The need to physically gather people in one location for meetings is giving way to virtual audio-visual conferencing. Turnaround time for decision making is increasingly getting faster. Today “working hard” is no longer as important as “working smart” – thanks to our digital world.
- One of the major problems facing the world today is sustainable development. Information and Communication Technology (ICT), which includes traditional media, as well as newer digital technologies such as computers and the Internet, have been proven to be potentially powerful enabling tools for educational change and sustainable development. In the last decades, ICT has undergone rapid development and has been introduced into all segments of society. ICT has brought new opportunities for businesses and individuals, decreasing the cost of productivity and enhancing organizational effectiveness. When used appropriately, ICT is known to help expand access to sustainable development, enhancing self-reliance and increasing the likelihood of achieving the SDGs in the process.
- My office in collaboration with Netdragon Websoft has been engaging for months drawing on our SDGs mandate. Specifically, NetDragon and the FGN have agreed to work jointly on Education Goal 4, seeking collaboration on mutually agreed projects towards the realization of the attainment of the other contiguous Goals by the year 2030. Specific to our collaboration is Goal 17 that promotes partnership towards the digital domain and mandate which includes:
- To facilitate the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals 8 & 9 regarding Economic Growth, Industry & Innovation, thereby creating jobs.
- This will be realized by enacting policies “ to invest in the ICT industry by building IT Incubators, Digital Studios and Software Outsourcing and Training Hubs, towards the creation of new jobs in the area of Technology and Innovation.
To use technology to drive the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals 4 by the year 2030 by creating E-Learning Platforms, Educational Software and Apps and other such innovations”.
- Your Excellency will recall our visit to Fuzhou, China in April where The SDG’s office, and the Federal Ministry of Communications (FMC) represented the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN). We had a robust discussion on how best to work together to implement the SDGs related to digital-based education with a view to ensuring the rapid socio- economic development of Nigeria.
- The Federal government in it’s commitment to foster innovation, several digital and innovation hubs are being established Nationwide to bridge the digital gap and to strengthen the digital economy to achieve transformation and growth thereby booming some important sectors such as Agriculture, Manufacturing, distribution and through internet development boost the rural economy and to promote entrepreneurship through innovation.
- I am of the opinion that through Information and Communication Technology, we can improve the quality of learning thus ensuring socio-economic and technological advancement. In conclusion, to harness the power of digital technology, we must promote an ecosystem on innovation and creativity.
- Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, let me once again seize this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to Mr Dejian Liu Chairman Netdragon Websoft for the donation of the Smart Classroom to one of our communities here in Abuja. This is a clear demonstration of goodwill and commitment to work with us. To take our partnership forward, I hereby extend an invitation to Netdragon to become a strong actor in this digital ecosystem to which I am inviting Mr Dejian Liu and Netdragon Websoft to invest in and establish a presence in Nigeria. The FGN is ready and willing to provide the enabling environment and to partner with you to build a sustainable digital economy in Nigeria.
Thank you for listening.
H.E Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire,
Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs.
August 14, 2018