BY EMEKA MADUEWESICharles Chukwuma Soludo
In Silicon Valley, you launch fast and early, then you iterate, reiterate, and iterate again and again until your product attracts fewer consumer complaints. You don’t launch a perfect product, rather you strive for perfection. Can Governor Soludo create 1000 information technology jobs in his first 100 days in office? My answer is a resounding “YES!” The next question is, “HOW?” Let’s go for low-hanging fruits with high local human development impact and global reach.Anambra State has 275 public secondary schools and over 1200 public primary schools. If you employ just one Information Technology Evangelist for each public school, that’s over 1000 IT jobs. Simple. But what would be their job descriptions? What would be their responsibilities?
My idea of an Information Technology Evangelist (TE) for each public school in Anambra State is an entry-level website developer who will work with a team to create a technology template for the Anambra State school system. Each TE will be posted to a school and should be able to create blogs, microsites, landing pages, and update that school’s standard website daily with activities in the school and the school community. Being always deliberate, it would be my suggestion that TEs should be sent to the same primary or secondary school they attended.
The TEs will maintain and update the personal and contact data of the students, parents, and teachers (Parent Teachers Association) as necessary and track any ongoing governmental and community projects for auditing and reporting purposes. The TE will also be responsible for communicating and updating the PTA through newsletters, social media, phone calls, surveys, and emails as needed. The job title is “Technology Evangelist” because they will be required to teach the basic principles of computer hardware, software, and information technology to the students, parents, and teachers to develop their computer literacy skills.
Let me go into history. It used to be that if you were late to school, the headmaster or headmistress, or your class teacher would punish you. Your parents may not know you were late that day or even for several days. If you were absent from school, your parents may not know that you left home but did not attend school, and the school will mark you absent. From Governor Peter Obi’s account, I learned that some schools may lack certain teachers but the Principal would lie to the Governor that the school lacks nothing. The Governor had to give his own phone number to the Senior Prefects for direct contact.
Since Governor Soludo wants to run a smart and transparent government, he would be needing true and accurate data for each student, their parents or guardians, each teacher, every home, every house, and every community around every public school. It would be the responsibility of the TE to source this data and deliver them to the government or the public through the school website as the case may be. A parent who needs to speak to the child’s Math teacher should be able to do so by phone or email. A parent whose child was late should know by 9:00 AM that day. A parent whose child was absent should know by 12:00 Noon that day. It would be the responsibility of the TE to ensure that this data is available. The school and parents need to know how many times a child was tardy or absent in a term and why.
A few weeks ago, we read the sad news of a 19-month-old pupil of Arise and Shine Nursery and Primary School, Asaba, Delta State, who was reportedly flogged to death. The deceased was the son of a single mother who registered him at the school about three weeks before this incident. Though this was a private school, it would be the responsibility of the proposed TE to ensure that a parent could be reached in a matter of minutes to pick up a child whose condition or conduct is not conducive to a learning environment.
Recall that I said that the TE would be part of a “team” that will create a technology template for the Anambra State school system. It would not just be over 1200 TEs scattered all over Anambra State. Each TE is part of the local government team working together to identify problems facing their community that may require technology solutions. For example, a local government TEt team could collaborate to solve traffic problems at road junctions in the community. They could also work on creating alumni (old student associations) for the school, if there was none, or strengthen the existing ones to be more efficient and productive.
Since this is an entry-level job with no growth path in the school system itself, the TEs would be required to engage in continuous technology education and certification to re-skill and up-skill their knowledge for their professional growth. In fact, the TE job should be seen as a temporary opportunity to prepare TEs as thoroughbred professionals with up-to-date knowledge for their niche specializations in the global market.
As iron sharpens iron, the TEs would be expected to participate in online and in-person studies and certifications that will make them competitive in the global market and be sought after by the MAANA group (Meta, formerly Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Alphabet, formerly Google) and Microsoft. This process could also spark their inventive juice to create products, become entrepreneurs, or work local and international gigs on contract.
Could TEs generate revenue? Of course! They could run very narrowly targeted, educationally-themed Google Ads and Amazon affiliate accounts. They could also generate revenue from small business ads and events announcements in the community, provided the school’s websites are not cluttered. Yes, they could generate revenue for the government.
To conclude, I’m not expecting a perfect program and performance in 100 days. However, creating this job opportunity to keep ụmụaka Anambra busy and productive, with a growth path of continuous technology education and certification, and preparing them for the global market sounds right to me. Trust me, this information technology/community organizer combo would look awesome in their resume. Human development is more important than concrete buildings and flyovers. Let’s start first and refine as we go. It’s also high time we stop empowering our youth with Sienna vans and wheelbarrows.
Ndi Igbo, chetanụ n’ọbụ aka n’eme azụ mgbakụlụ!
Emeka Maduewesi, Esq., LLM