The internet has become the most significant factor of development more than ever before. With the emergence of Covid-19, which requires countries all over the world to restrict physical meetings. The internet remains one of the few means of connecting us to our loved ones, opportunities and information. The incident reveals flaws in our typical office work structure; businesses recognized they could accomplish the same work remotely, save cost and get the most out of their staff or even outsource work at a cheaper price. The usage of digital services has increased during the pandemic, speeding up the worldwide ‘digital divide.’ Virtual work has grown in popularity mostly among the digitally literate and metropolitan populations, thus increasing dependence on the digital economy.
Reflecting the growing importance and availability of new technologies in work, education, and everyday life, Nigeria is in a great position to capitalize on the digital economy’s benefits as it has the largest mobile market in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nigerians make up 54 per cent of West Africa’s population, with half of the country’s 200 million inhabitants under 30 years of age. However, rural areas have limited fixed broadband infrastructure and connectivity, leaving a large portion of the population without access to the Internet. Generally, low levels of computer proficiency in the population, inadequate infrastructure, and expensive Internet service charges are all obstacles to Internet service accessibility in Nigeria. Power is likewise in short supply, with a large part of rural communities not linked to electric power networks and regular blackouts in urban areas.
These and other factors are some of the key issues related to lack of Information Communication Technology (ICT) skills as they affect workforce readiness in the country, widening the skills gap in available workers to meet the workforce requirement for the new economy. Improving digital connectivity will increase innovation and productivity across the economy. These efforts will produce models and competencies necessary to meet ICT education and workforce requirements for the future of ICT literacy and have the potential to transform not just the lives of those who develop the requisite skills and knowledge but the society as a whole.
Scaling projects like Paradigm Initiative’s ‘LIFE Program’ has become necessary, a flagship program that is aiming to unlock the social and economic opportunities for young people in underserved communities through ICT. It has been stated that lack of digital skills is beginning to magnify the digital inequalities as jobs demand some level of digital ability. There have been several interruptions in the work industry and one of the numerous options available is freelancing. However, the concept of freelancing appears to be gaining popularity and will eventually become the backbone of the labour market. However, the issue remains as to whether Nigerian youth are prepared?. In this context, it is more important than ever to equip children and teens with the necessary ICT skills to enter the new future labour market.
A global survey conducted by Gartner, Inc. found that 88% of business organizations all over the world mandated or encouraged all their employees to work from home as Covid-19 virus started to spread earlier last year, it was found that 36. 74% of companies plan to shift some of their employees to remote working permanently. The research results hint that the ongoing pandemic will create a new normal and bring about several permanent changes in almost every area of life. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that as the majority of the people have been working from home for several months now, business leaders have started to realize the cost benefits of having a remote workforce. They plan to shift at least some of their employees to remote work permanently because they have figured out that it is a useful policy for cost management.
It became obvious that work and schooling could be done from any place given the proper local structure, training, tools, and approaches. That means that brilliance may be found anywhere in the globe, even among young people in Nigeria’s rural areas, slums, and isolated villages. It’s a mental shift that has to happen. It is possible that we will have to rethink our ideal strategy and simply be present in the moment. Make necessary modifications to time, resources, and plans. Listen to shifting industry demands, regional requirements, and technology developments and adjust accordingly.
Written By Sani Suleiman | Program Assistant | Paradigm Initiative.