The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) held a two-day Stakeholders Meeting on Promoting Greater Access to Internet in Public Girls Secondary Schools in Kano State. The meeting, held on and 19th December, 2019 at Mambayya was attended by over 50 people representing education authorities, parents, Teachers, students, civil society organizations and journalists. The meeting which was part of a larger engagement supported by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) was meant to deliberate on the findings of the Survey on Access to Internet in Public Girls Secondary in Kano State conducted by CITAD and to propose solutions to address problems identified from the survey. The survey itself was motivated by the massive failure of students, especially females in the 2017 computer-based Unified Matriculation Examination (UME) of Joint Matriculation Examinations Board (JAMB). Many students it was reported were using the computer for the first time in the life during the examination and consequently did not know how to interact with the systems to write the examination. The objective of the survey was to assess the actual state of things in public secondary schools and develop an appropriate advocacy plan to support the campaign for the promotion of greater access to internet for females students of secondary schools in the state.
The keynote address on ICT, Girls and Education” was delivered by Malama Sanah Mu’az (Faculty of Computer Science, BUK) while another supporting presentation on Sources of Support for Schools” was made by Isyaku Garba. Also students and teachers gave testimony at the occasion. The survey report was presented and discussed in four sessions.
The meeting noted from the survey report the following:
• Result showed that 84.6% of the students do not know how to use internet
• Ten 10.8% of the students said they learnt to use the internet from their homes, and do not have access to internet in their schools
• Only 24.9% respondents said they have computer laboratory in their schools
• Only 4.7% respondents said they have internet in their schools
• Only 50 out of a total 204 schools have computer laboratory
• Only about 9% said are allowed by their parents to use the internet while the rest discouraged from using the internet for various reasons (23.3%, Moral concerns 26.0%, Exposure to boys and men 11.1% and Waste of time 8.5%).
• Only 3.35 said they had received advise from colleagues against using the internet show that peer influence is low
• Only one of 0.12% of the respondents said they could afford to subscribe internet access and a computer
• The schools that have computers have insignificant numbers of the computers and often when they breakdown, schools have no provision to repair them
• None of the schools have sustainable internet connectivity
• Schools have no resources to provide fuel for the generators to use in the absence of grid electricity supply
• In some schools, they have Computer teachers who teach Computer Science theoretically, but they have no computer labs
• Some schools have the computer labs, but lack computer teachers
Participants further identified the following as key factors constrain the effective use of the internet by female students:
• Lack of awareness on the importance of ICT both from the parent side and from the students’ side
• There is ignorance and misconception among parents, especially in rural areas which create negative attitude to the internet in the students
• Prevalence of gender based violence from the internet
• Lack of computers & insufficient qualified teachers
• Poverty among parents that many girls cannot afford paying for access to internet because many of them have no jobs and no means of livelihood
• Few number of female teachers in the ICT to provide encore and role model for the students
• The non-implementation of the current national secondary school curriculum in full which makes computer studies compulsory
• That although the state is one of few states to have in the mid 2000 to have developed a state-level ICT policy with a section developed on ICTs in Education, this policy which has lasted more than 10 years is not being implemented
Participants recommend that:
1. Governments at all levels should as a matter of urgency equip female schools with ICT facilities and internet access as well recruit sufficient number of qualified ICT teachers
2. Schools should be supported by their proprietors and other stakeholders to have resources to repair, maintain and upgrade their systems as well as pay for internet connectivity
3. Principals and other school administrators should be creative in the efficient and effective use of the available ICT facilities in their schools to ensure that all students have access to and use these facilities
4. Proprietors of schools must meet their obligation of providing adequate ICT facilities given that computer studies is now compulsory and the fact that the Universal Matriculation Examination is computer-based
5. Stakeholders should sustained high level of advocacy to government, philanthropists, donor agencies and other stakeholders to support yhe provision of ICTs facilities to girl’s secondary schools.
6. There should be massive sensitization to parents, traditional and religious leaders and CBOs etc, to encourage positive use of Internet among female students.
7. The school managements should, out of their PTA/School fees and other sources of incomes, try to pay Internet services and provide ICT facilities.
8. State government should encourage female indigenes of the state to study computer related courses at tertiary level so as to provide the state with both sufficient number of female ICT teachers and role models for the students to emulate
9. As part of Community Social Responsibility (CSR), Internet Service Providers (ISP) should play their roles by subsidizing Internet access to public secondary schools.
10. Parents and teachers should educate and monitor the usage of the internet by the students and make them more aware on how to protect themselves from cyber bullying.
11. Government should employ qualified ICT teachers, train them and make them up-to-date on how to use and teach ICT in schools.
12. The Kano State government should review its ICT Policy with a view to update and implement it, especially as its affects the education sector given the demand for ICT knowledge and skills in the educational pursuit
13. ICT subjects should be made compulsory in reality as provided in the current curriculum like Mathematics and English Language.
14. Parent-Teachers Associations (PTA), School Based Management Committees (SBMC) and other educational authorities/stakeholders should develop a zeal to ensure that schools have adequate ICT facilities and teachers.
15. Government, especially at the federal level should articulate and implement an digital inclusion agenda that will seek to bridge the gender digital divide, among others aspects of the digital divide
1. Dr. Adamu Turaki (Chairman)
2. Malam Zakariyya Abdullahi Balarabe, KSSSMB (Member)
3. Alhaji Wakili Shehu Abubakar, State PTA Chairman (Member)
4. Maryam Ado Haruna, CITAD (Secretary)