“The world has become a global village.” This fact has been stated so many times that it has become a cliché. However a lot of those who make this statement just have at best vague notions about the implications of that statement for us as people. The digital world is evolving and it is going to bring far reaching changes to how we do everything, how we relate with one another, how we think and in particular how we work. Whether we like it or not the digital economy is changing what kind of work one is able to do, and the set of skills that we need to survive in the new rapidly changing economic climate. The digital wave has already risen, it remains to be seen if we as Nigerians and as Africans will have the correct equipment to ride the wave or we will allow it to sweep us away. This is why according to the title of the famous memoir of Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, “We Must set forth At Dawn.”
The Yoruba of Nigeria, have this saying “the god that children are forbidden from worshiping, will eventually die out”. Nigeria and indeed Africa has a duty to educate its future generations about the digital workplaces of the future, because they are the ones who will enjoy its dividends if they learn the requisite skills or be left behind if they fail to get the needed grounding. Africa is already lagging behind its others counterparts, because it missed out on the various revolutions that have changed the world. It cannot afford to miss out on this one.
However in recent times there have been plenty of good news. Organizations like the IBridge Network in Ibadan and the CCHub in Lagos are seeing the trends in the digital revolution and are trying to get young Nigerians to be interested in skills that will fit into the rapidly expanding digital environment. this is the projection that made IBridge Network start a holiday computer knowledge programme, Summer of Code. The Summer of Code for 2016 has started on the 1st of August 2016 and will run every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until the 27th of August 2016. The venue for this year is the Ibridge Hub, Alalubosa 110 Express Dugbe to Apata Road, Ibadan Oyo State. The purpose of the Summer of Code is to introduce children from age 5 to age 18 to computer knowledge and computer programming. From 10am to 3pm on the designated days, the participants in the training are always hard at work learning how to design computer games, animation, websites, applications and electronics.
At an affordable price and in a conducive environment free from distraction, kids are learning new skills and gaining the tools to become digital makers, they are improving their problem solving abilities and they are finding new ways of expressing their creativity. Young people, especially children, are active and love to learn, it is therefore important to keep them engaged, instead of them just playing away the holidays. They are learning useful skills which do not require a formal classroom setting to teach and which gives them a noticeable advantage over their peers, who have to navigate the same space without the advantages that the kids who attended the summer of code will have. They also get the opportunity to learn from a group of volunteers who have experience in the digital space. Ibridge Network and CCHub will still continue to try their best to “catch them young”, but more initiatives like Summer of Code are needed if Nigerians are to be properly positioned for the digital challenges of the 21st century.