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    Thursday, September 7, 2017

    Going Back to Our Literary Roots

     By Elias Gbadamosi

    Traditionally, literacy is defined as “the ability to read, write, spell, listen and speak”. The evolution of internet technology has however broadened the definition of literacy to include the ability to read and interpret media, to reproduce data and images using digital tools and to evaluate and apply new knowledge gained from digital environments.

    Why is Literacy so Important
    Literacy is a sacrosanct sine qua non for social, economic and political development. Research has proven that people who are literate lead healthier, more prosperous lifestyles. People who can read, write and do sums can read and interpret health instructions; they can take proper record, keep accounts and make wise financial decisions.

    Individuals who are literate have the drive to take up new challenges. Literacy can as well open more doors of opportunities for individuals to pull themselves out of extreme poverty, underemployment and unemployment.

    Being literate is linked directly with being able to function optimally in communal and social settings. Literate beings will make wise political decisions; they are in the know of their constitutional and human rights and would therefore not be easily manipulated or cheated.

    Literacy in a digital world
    New eras evolve and grow to become better than the previous ones. The industrial revolution marked the end of an era and the beginning of a new one in human history. Over time, the internet has come to overshadow and wash down the high water of industrial revolution as large machines that were fads during the industrial age have now become antiques. Computer applications have replaced many tasks and have put a lot of people out of jobs.

    Since the beginning of the internet revolution, the world has never remained the same. Nowadays, digital skills have become an important factor that employers consider before making recruitment decisions and any 21st century business that does not utilize digital technologies shortchanges itself big time.

    The government of Osun state in Nigeria recognizes the importance of digital technology to the advancement of education and has therefore weaved it into the very fabrics of its education system. The fusion of technology and education in Osun has increased the state’s educational ranking by 113%.

    The annals of UNESCO history will write Osun State’s name in gold ink for being the first state in Nigeria to implement the UNESCO recommendation on digital education for the innovative digital revolution called Opon imo launched by the state.

    Opon imo, which in English means “tablet of knowledge” is an e-learning tablet containing over 56 electronic textbooks, 900 minutes of virtual classroom lessons and thousands of practice questions for senior secondary 1, 2 and 3 students. Opon imo makes it quite easy for each and every student to have access to education wherever and whenever.

    Apart from making educational resources accessible to students on the go, opon imo is also cost effective as the cost of 56 hard copy textbooks and practice questions for a student is way higher than the cost of one opon imo.

    Nations of the world, especially those classified as third world, need to subscribe wholly to digital education. There exists a huge gap between first and third world nations in terms of the quality of education. Developing nations will only be able to compete favorably with developed nations if they look beyond orthodox methods to fuse the illuminative force of education with the transformative power of technology to fast track our race towards building a developed world.

    Call to Action
    As we commemorate International Literacy Day 2017, let us all join hands in little or big ways to spread literacy one person at a time.

    By giving a child or an adult a book; by teaching them basic digital skills, we can increase the capacity of individuals to contribute to global development. Let us all remember that little actions taken collectively add up to big change over time.

    Happy International Literacy Day 2017!

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