The inclusion of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) issues in the curriculum and provision of these technologies in our schools have raised many issues of concern to educators, parents, and politicians. Some of the most important issues are the role of the ICT in the curriculum, and how these issues should be addressed in the curriculum, and most importantly how they impact teaching and learning. The other issue of concern is the impact of these technologies in terms of increasing access to quality education. Learners in our schools today will require considerable ICT knowledge, skills and awareness if they are to be successful in the future.
Liberia’s economy will depend on a high level of ICT capability from its people if it is to develop technologically and to compete internationally.
As a passionate Digital Rights Activist, Lecturer, Founder and President Emeritus for the Liberia Information Technology Student Union, LITSU, I would like to recommend that each student in junior and senior high school should take a basic Computer Awareness subject; all senior secondary school teachers should acquire computer literacy and the schools should be allocated enough computers to enable all students to develop computer skills; all schools should have access to a computer, and computer-based communications such as the Internet guided by the National Policy on ICT by the Government Ministry Posts and Telecommunication.
By the year 2023, we want the people of Liberia to be able to use and apply the potential of computer equipment in many aspects of everyday life.
The ICT curriculum for students, when designed and effectively utilized, would promote creativity, problem solving, and introduce students to the world of information and communication technologies with the specific purpose of widening their horizons and better informing them of choices in their career pursuits. In particular, the curriculum I presume would focus on training the student to work with a variety of resources; learning to critically appraise information and resources; and making safe, productive, ethical and legal use of these resources a habit.
Students are also introduced to ICT outside the classroom context. Their curiosity and desire to learn will prompt them to more intensely participate in ICT activities. While introduction to social networks and blogging would become inevitable, making them aware of cyber bullying or other means of violating their rights should become an essential part of the training. While experimenting with hard and software the range of learning is very high. Channelizing these tendencies and co-opting them into the teaching-learning process can help teachers create able support to the ICT system in the school.
The impact of ICT on the overall development of the personality can be extremely significant. In particular its effect on the improvement of communication skills is treated as a central goal of the ICT curriculum. Language barriers and isolation can deny students access to the wide range of digital information and resources.
Based on the availability of ICT infrastructure and the provisioning of an ICT class in the timetable, different schools or Boards of School Education can exercise the choice to begin the ICT programme with any appropriate class, but ensure that every student completes the advanced stage outlined in the National Policy on ICT in School Education before completing schooling.
It is therefore the aspiration of the Government of Liberia to see all citizens equipped with ICT skills and apply them in their lives. Henceforth, it is incumbent upon the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunication to address ICT issues in the curriculum and ensure that these technologies are available in schools, and implementers of the curriculum are equipped with the necessary skill to effectively implement these in schools.
As a lecturer who interacts with students daily, it is a serious embarrassment to see a high school graduate or University or College graduate here in Liberia lacks common computer skills even to create a simple folder on a computer or work in Word, Excel and PowerPoint, DA WAR!
Eventually, we will one day have the required infrastructures in place. Many Liberians are embracing technology. It’s certainly the way of the future. In fact, our daily lives are being shaped by technology. Example; today, I used the Lonestar Cell MTN and Orange Liberia mobile money platforms to send money to my Grandma “Ma Kamah Tingba” who reside and operates a mini farming in Glehyee Zorpea, Yarwin Mehnsoloh District, Nimba County, Liberia instead of driving to the bank. I saved gas and time. Technology can do plenty of things these days. We can’t wait for the usage of our own GPS to find directions around our cities; as the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunication started mapping houses in central Monrovia.
There are many problems in our country that can be resolved by leveraging the right technologies and many jobs can be created as well.
Technology is here to stay, we cannot escape from it, let’s get used to it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Willie Bee Tingba, Jr. holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Technology Infrastructure Management Services/Computer Science at the United Methodist University (UMU). He is a candidate for a Master of Science degree in Management Information System at UNICAF University. He is a Digital Rights Activist, Lecturer at the BlueCrest University Liberia, Founder, and President Emeritus at the Liberia Information Technology Students Union (LITSU). He can be contacted on the following numbers and email addresses 0777538605. Em