The Oyo State Government has commended Smile Communications Nigeria Limited, a broadband internet service provider, for assisting 25 secondary schools in the state with free internet access.
Commissioner for education Prof. Solomon Olaniyonu made the commendation at the weekend during the official commissioning of internet facilities provided by Smile at Wesley College of Science, Ibadan. Twenty-four schools had earlier been connected.
He noted that Smile has taken the lead to assist students in the state to have access to vast knowledge via the internet, emphasizing that, with such assistance, the state’s e-learning initiative, which he said was being fine-tuned, would be fast-tracked towards making education easy and better.
He added that the provision of free Superfast Internet access together with router and monthly renewable data bundle 20GB to secondary schools within Ibadan metropolis would go a long way towards improving and enriching lives using the power of technology.
The education boss explained that the state government was poised towards making education system highly computerized by introducing the e-learning in secondary schools. Though the initiative was yet to fully take off, Olaniyonu hinted that “we had a demonstration which we are still fine-tuning to ensure that schools in all the nooks and crannies benefit from the scheme once it takes off.”
According to him, about four schools in each local government area of the state have been selected for pilot study while a memorandum of understanding would soon be signed by the state government and the Chinese company handling the project.
Like the proverbial Oliver Twist, the commissioner while appreciating what Smile has done already did not hesitate to plead that the company should extend its internet services to schools in other areas of the state, particularly in rural communities.
Mrs. Alero Ladipo, who led other officials of the company to the event, explained that the objective of her company was to provide a platform where students can derive information, communication technology (ICT) knowledge with ease.
According to her, Smile was expanding its services to other states but Oyo State, specifically the city of Ibadan, was fortunate to be the first to benefit.
Ladipo clarified that Smile “is not about providing computers or laptops but rather the data in the internet service and, as humanity is one of our key values, one of our key objectives is to give students the opportunity to express things on-line, expose their minds and increase their education in the use of internet.”
For now, only public secondary schools are benefitting from such assistance and the 25 so far assisted are in Ibadan.