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CODE LAGOS: EXPANDING THE FRONTIERS OF KNOWLEDGE

Kehinde Akinfenwa

The incessant invention and prevalent of digital artefacts that are inadvertently subjugating our lives aptly proclaim that there has been prodigious advancement in technology in the last few decades. As its irresistible dexterity continues to break boundaries and hypnotise all human exploration, the world is still in suspense of the nearest technological evolution.

In aspiring to become an eminent society, it is compelling to invest and equip future generations to think about the world in new ways. Ways that evince advancement in human ability and sustain economic and social development. This is why the Lagos State government is consistently exploring through arrays of inclusive projects throughout the State and with one of such initiative the “Code Lagos”, the state is inspiring a memory of significant breakthrough in societal existence.

Coding is the computer language used to develop applications, websites and software. It is basically an art of telling a computer how to perform complex tasks. Once you know how to code, you can create virtual worlds within the computer where the only limit on what is possible is your imagination. This is the power that the State government is currently interning into the hands and hearts of its citizens, particularly the younger ones.

This innovative project, which presently holds in 275 public and private schools across the State including 10 public centres, has trained over 15,000 individuals on courses like Java and Python programming languages, HTML and CSS for web development. With an audacious plan to teach one million residents how to write code and creatively solve problems, the State government is already piloting the transition to a technology driven future.

The purpose is not primarily to equip the next generation to work as software engineers; it is about promoting computational thinking, which involves breaking larger tasks into a logical sequence of smaller steps, diagnosing errors and coming up with new approaches to solving real life challenges. It allows one to tackle complex problems in efficient ways that operate at huge scale by creating models of the real world with a suitable level of abstraction and focus on the most pertinent aspects.

Besides its existential value, coding supports early literacy development as it has a structured communication that complement logical thinking and shapes common sense. Thereby, addressing the deficiency in creative thinking at early years among children helps consistency and acute memory. A coding class also helps in acquiring a greater understanding of how software serves as the medium of triggering all of a device’s capabilities to get more out of smart phones, tablets, computers and other devices that now populate our lives. This type of knowledge is important in working environment where it is required to use technology as part of the overall job.

Arguably, coding is the most valuable 21st century skill that is immune to different areas of lives as its benefits extend well beyond knowing how to create an app or website. It is a great way to prepare the younger generation for a strong transition into the workforce considering the fact that the greatest challenge of unemployment among Nigerian youths is their deficiency in skills required in the 21st century industry because thriving in today’s innovative-driven economy demands a technologically embroidered workforce.

What dominated the discussion at the recent Goggle for Nigeria event in Lagos was the need to create trusted contents that are relevant to trends of life and with the ability to solve problems. This reinforces the reality that Africa is yet to provide avenues to get the best out of its creative young minds that have shown great desire in unleashing the fortune of the black continent to the rest of the world.

As technology continue to transform the way we live, the need for Africa to set an agenda and  have a paradigm shift to accommodate the potentials of the evolving technology must be internalised in every discussions. This is because the revolutions that will surface in few years to come will far outweigh what is being experienced presently. Therefore, in congruence with the world order, Africa must passionately invest in human and social capacity to achieve a cosmopolitan digital transformation.

However, with its defining role in Africa developments, Lagos is fast becoming a fortress of digital enterprise, building a network of liberal opportunities around the existing formal and informal structures of the state and projecting it as a fertile market for imperial investment. Behold, the city’s pronounced socio-economic vitality epitomises the abundant of positivity inherent in every African state as it continues to ignite an irresistible and prosperous future for Africa’s humanity.

This giant stride in advancing human and social capacity acknowledges the sincerity of the state government in making Lagos a Smart city. A smart society that is fastening on digital existence whose socio-cultural and economic anatomy is induced by technology. With this honest intention of providing citizens the ability to navigate their ways in the brave new world of contemporary life, the State government is brewing the culture of self-reliance and cognitive expression in its citizens in order to solve the complex challenges that have been enslaving individual and communal fortune.

On the account of this impeccable vision, the State was recently crowned the best performing State in ICT Development and best State in E-Government implementation in Nigeria. A narration of the visionary policies and programs of the state government in building a thriving ecosystem

To further promote the ideals of digital economy, the State government is collaborating with the private sector to establish an ICT cluster and ecosystem at Yaba where thousands of youths all over Africa will have the freedom to create world- class innovative and creative contents that attract the investors’ community.

Perhaps, it is high time the federal government and other states realised that technology is now part of our lifestyle. It is hard to envision a progressive society without the many luxuries that technology provides and helping the younger ones to understand how it works at the ground level and how it can be used to its fullest potentials needs to be a building block of our educational policy.

 

Akinfenwa is of the Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos

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