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Professor Adebayo Canvasses Greater Investment in Digital Resources to Bridge Technology Gap

It has become vital for people to access computers and the internet for socio-economic connectivity as the wave of globalization sweeps across the globe, according to the Vice-Chancellor, Covenant University, Professor Abiodun H. Adebayo.

He made the averment at an event organized by the Covenant University Community Development Impact Initiative Committee (CU-CDIIC) and the University's Centre for Learning Resources (CLR) to commemorate the 2021 World Literacy Day.

Professor Adebayo, represented by the Director, Vice-Chancellor's Office, Dr Omotayo Osibanjo, said since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for internet infrastructure, connectivity, electricity, and ability to engage with technology had been highlighted as factors exacerbating the digital divide. He said that over 33% of the world's population did not have access to remote learning, and children of school age from the poorest households and those in the rural areas being the most affected. He stated that a recent United Nations report indicated that this group represented nearly 50% of the world's population that lacked internet access.

The Vice-Chancellor said the prevailing huge digital divide called for stakeholders' investment in digital resources to equip young people with relevant digital skills to foster social cohesion and reduce the unstable inequalities that hindered inclusive human development and economic growth.

"Covenant University has always supported the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all," Professor Adebayo stated.

In his remarks, the Registrar, Dr Oluwasegun Omidiora, represented by the Senior Assistant Registrar in the Registrar's Office, Mr Olumuyiwa Vincent, said the World Literacy Day event should constantly serve as a reminder to the international community of the importance of the literacy day campaign. He said the campaign was geared to create the required awareness of reading, learning, and writing.

Dr Omidiora said that despite the global literacy campaign progress, literacy challenges persisted, with at least 773 million young people and adults lacking basic literacy skills today. He added that "we all have the responsibility to ensure that we have a more literate and sustainable society".

The Director, Centre for Learning Resources, Dr Mercy Iroaganchi, who made a presentation titled 'The Relationship between Learning and Reading for Excellence' said literacy was the ability to read, write, speak and listen in a way that enabled people to communicate effectively and made sense of the world. She noted that it could be acquired through learning, which in turn helped to develop diverse knowledge.

Dr Iroaganchi said the rudiment of learning entailed being taught, consistency in reading or studying, which eventually brought one to the realm of developing competence and overcoming illiteracy.

She charged the young ones to develop a reading culture, a prerequisite trait of great leaders. Reading, she said, conferred numerous advantages on the reader, one of which was the steady increase in one's knowledge base. "You must continue climbing the ladder of excellence by reading because reading in itself is the key to learning in life," she stated.

The Chairperson, CU-CDIIC, Dr Tayo George, said the event was necessary towards creating awareness and discourses on the important role of literacy in nation-building, noting that literacy was a key driver to the development of any nation.

Dr George said the theme of this year's celebration, "Literacy for a Human-Centered Recovery: Narrowing the Digital Divide", was very apt. She stated that it talked about the critical role of learning for human-centred recovery, considering all stakeholders' vital role, including research and educational institutions, in closing the existing gaps.

The 2021 World Literacy Day event attracted over 130 children of various school ages, with participants exposed to the operations of one of Africa's best libraries. In addition, they were engaged in spelling bee competition, story writing, quiz, drawing/colouring, and read-aloud session, with awards and prizes given to the best students of various age categories.

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