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Youth & ICT PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 11 September 2008 16:31

Information and communication technologies have become a significant factor in development, having a profound impact on the political, economic and social sectors of many countries. While many equate information and communication technologies primarily with mobile and more advanced technologies, a more useful definition of information and communication technologies include all technologies that enable the handling of information and facilitate different forms of communication. By expanding the notion of information and communication technologies to include both older and newer technologies, from newspapers, radio and television to camcorders, cell phones, computers and network hardware and software, satellite systems and so on, as well as the various services and applications associated with them, such as videoconferencing and distance learning, the full impact of ICT on the social development of youth can be better understood. ICT are often spoken of in a particular context, such as ICT in education, health care, or libraries, the distinction between old and new technologies may become outdated as radio, television, satellite technologies and the Internet are combined in innovative ways to reach a wide range of target audiences.

 

ICT is the world fastest growing technology which has brought about globalization, we are now said to be leaving in an information age; an era where information is the basis for development in whatever capacity. It is on these that we examine young people with ICT in involvement in Nigeria. In an area where young people have an edge is the emerging information society driven by new technologies. Young people are often the leading innovators in the use and spread of information and communications technologies. They adapt quickly and are generally quite eager for the great quantities of information, locally and globally, that can be provided through emerging information and communication technologies.

 

The development of ICT has its pros and cons. Some of the side effects include, the use of computers to replace human labour, internet scam, erosion of Nigeria cultural values as a result of exposure to modern foreign media etc. on the other hand ICT has helped in the improvement of communication, trade, politics, health, education, socio economic development etc.

 

The question now is, do young people in Nigeria make effective use of ICT? The answer is no; most youth do not make effective use of ICT, which leads to their underdevelopment and that of the nation. 80% of youths in Nigeria tend to misuse ICT particularly the internet, to search for extraneous information such as hip hop stars and music, chatting with unknown people from other parts of the world, viewing of immoral sites and materials and most especially internet scam (419), while 15% use it for job search, mailing and contact point. The other 5% are those that make effective use of ICT. They access information on health, education, politics, and socio economic development, research for project, use it to develop their life building and skills, carryout legal businesses etc.

 

Following the above analysis, how then can young people put ICT to effective use to develop themselves and the nation at large? This can be done through the effective use of ICT to seek life building skills, business opportunities, good governance, commerce, communication to mention a few. Life building skills are special competencies young people require to correctly perform a task or deal with specific situation. These skills include, communication skills, negotiation skills, building self esteem skills, goal setting skills etc. most of these skills are not thought in schools. But making effective use of ICT can help develop these skills. There are e-books one can get on the internet and also.

 

In the developed societies young people are using ICT to involve themselves in great businesses that are becoming world leading businesses. The involvement of Nigeria youths in ICT businesses will result to self empowerment and bring about economic development to the nation. The coming of ICT has made businesses such as, trading currencies, stocks, bonds, shares and goods and services available to everyone in any parts of the world with just a click of the mouse or a telephone call. There are also available home base online jobs like, writing articles, editing etc. These can help empower young people in Nigeria.

Utilizing information and communication technologies to promote youth employment has expanded during the last decade. Local e-commerce may open significant livelihood opportunities for young people and smaller networks and provide young people with the opportunity to develop professionally without having to relocate from their families and support networks. At the grass-roots level, there are several examples of opportunities for entrepreneurship in information and communication technology among lower income youth. The worldwide expansion of mobile phone networks and the growth in the number of mobile phone subscribers has been phenomenal in recent years. The availability of mobile phone networks in many low and middle-income towns open up many opportunities for young people. One common option is to purchase a mobile phone through a micro credit programme and to earn income by providing low cost phone calls to others.

 

There is a growing effort to promote social action and community development among young people through electronic communications, "cyber participation” and "e-citizenship”. Today, information and communication technologies and new media can become core components for youth civic engagement and activism. Given the existing connections between new media, the Internet and young people in developed societies, it can be inferred that new media and information and communication technologies have enabled young people's activism at a general level and influenced the diverse forms it has taken. Most directly, information and communication technologies are used for communication and coordination of youth movements and for contributing to a sense of e-solidarity among individuals and groups with different agendas.

 

Technology can also increase youth awareness of issues, problems and crises in other parts of the world. New technologies bring these issues to people in very direct ways and allow for instantaneous communication among activists. In many countries the Internet is the least-controlled medium for information, and it can be a powerful tool for activists and advocacy groups, contributing to increased transparency, the development of civil society and democracy. Lists serve, temporary and long-term web sites and collective online writing and editing of documents are common features of today's youth activism. Such tools are commonly used by young people to prepare and contribute their submissions to political processes and international meetings.

 

Information and communication technologies have a potential to improve young people's access to better education. Many schools and vocational training centres in developed societies are taking advantage of information and communication technologies to provide distance learning and to train teachers in new instructional methods. Digital opportunities are particularly effective in reaching rural communities that lack large libraries and other educational resources. Technology is changing the way classrooms operate through integrating multimedia textbooks, online research, and student presentations that make the learning process more interactive and participatory.

 

Lack of access to information and communication technologies has remained a major challenge to youth development. Special efforts must be made for youth in rural areas to establish connectivity, given that rapid developments in wireless technology have made it possible to overcome the physical impediments of distance and topography, at a reasonable cost, that for long have limited the development of telecommunications infrastructure in rural areas. Shared access to these services can increase their impact. In the most remote and sparsely populated areas, existing market incentives may often provide insufficient stimulus to private investment and government funding may be required.

 

Measures to improve access to the Internet and to increase information technology literacy at large should be encouraged. The effective use of technology will help to strengthen various forms of youth engagement.

To support youth in their use of information and communication technologies, three strategies could be envisaged that aim at the adequate provision of media for young people, encourages participation by young people in the production of media in the formation of media policy and promotes education that emphasizes information and communication technology literacy, as a significant dimension of contemporary citizenship.

In conclusion, it is in this light, that FOCUS-Nigeria is a partner in the development of Gusau Information Centre (GIC). The organization has taken upon it to provide internet access to youth, ICT education and making effective use of ICT for personal and national development. ICT is a responsibility for all and should not be left to government alone, lets all contribute to the development of ICT in our communities.

 

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NRIDS-Dhankuta Formed
NRIDS Dhankuta formed with the objective of bringing ICTs revolution in remote areas of Dhankuta District. The committee consisted of the people from different profession to act as Dhankuta ICTs Task force. This Task Force is determined to work for the e-governance preparedness and ICTs awareness throughout Dhankuta District.

 
NRIDS Members Trainied by Inveneo Inc.
To upgrade the expertise on wireless internet and VoIP a training was organized by Inveneo Inc. from 2 - 6 August in Chamber of Commerce, Sunsari, Dharan. Members from NRIDS Nepal and volunteer from Netherlands participated the training.

 
Research student arrived from the Netherlands
Two student from Radboud university Nijmegen (www.ru.nl) Mr. Jos Groenewegen, Mr. Daan Pijper arrived in Kathmandu on 29th July 2009. Their main objective is to research Telecentres operated by NRIDS. During their stay in Nepal they will visit and analyze telecenters and provide necessary suggestions for running efficiently in future. They are making a documentary and a report of Telecenters after they return back to their university.

 

Please Support NRIDS!

Currently, NRIDS is not registered as a US 501(c)(3) organization and donations are not tax deductible.

Progress towards $8000

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