The minister of youth and sports, Sunday Dare, on Thursday said for any nation to reach its full potentials, it must leverage the power of technology to empower its teeming youth.
He also explained how his ministry hopes to utilise a new concept, tagged DEEL, to empower the Nigerian youth during his tenure.
Mr Dare said this when he flagged off the Citizen and Leadership Training Centre (CLTC) Online School aimed at making leadership courses available to mostly youth, government officials and the corporate world.
Established in 1951, the CLTC is a parastatal in the ministry.
It prides itself “as a human development outfit established to offer programmes for the training and moulding of Nigerian citizens to become responsible and respected members of the society.”
The centre, which is the parent body of the Man O’ War, is arguably the only informal educational outfit in Nigeria which regularly organises ‘experiential and outbound training’.
Its new online school is under the supervision of Ibrahim Fika, director, training and develooment, CLTC.
The minister, during the event, said the mission of the school aligned with that of the new concept, DEEL, which the ministry has set into motion and hopes to use to empower the Nigerian youth in the coming months.
“One of the most important platforms we are exploring to empower youth is in the area of leadership,” Mr Dare said. “We have a new concept we are exploring at the ministry. It is called DEEL. We have drawn a concept paper but it is not cast in stone as we expect feedback from experts and the public.”
Mr Dare then explained the concept: “D stands for digital literacy; E, enterpreneurship; E is employability while L stands for leadership.
“The future of our nation largely depends on our youth and we must empower them through leadership training and digital literacy. This is what CLTC and indeed the ministry is passionate about and the essence of our programmes.”
He commended the centre for the strides it had made in recent years in training future leaders.
“Our founding fathers had good intention for this nation. With their God-given wisdom and foresight, they knew a time would come when adherence to core values would be almost impossible unless there are people who are making conscious efforts to keep the citizens on track,” he said.
“Hence the establishment of the centre. I am proud to align with that vision of old,” Mr Dare added.
‘Catch them young’
Meanwhile, the Director General of the CLTC, Jonah B Bawa, while welcoming the minister, explained the rationale behind the e-training school concept.
He said the project was aimed at “changing the impression and image of the centre from an antiquated and old fashioned organisation to that of a modern technologically driven one”.
“Catch them young is a popular strategy and a reliable survey has confirmed that youth presence on social media is up to 65 per cent of their population. This creates a greater avenue for awareness creation and stimulating the interest of youth in our training activities,” Mr Bawa said.
He also said the e-training offered to the youth is categorised in the same way as the physical component being currently run by the centre and suit all facets of the society.
“The platform presents visual contents from the centre giving every individual the opportunity to get familiar with our training programmes without necessarily visiting the school. This disseminates awareness farther and wider into the world. By extension, it provides an avenue for better engagement to our activities for the general public,” the official said.
He also said the programmes offered can also curb hate speed among youth.
“When the youth are engaged in our e-learning, they will have little or no time to engage in hate speech,” he said.
Meanwhile, the coordinator of the training school, Alero Adjekota, told PREMIUM TIMES that the project aims to capture as many youth as possible in and out of the corporate world in the next few months.
“CLTC is a unique institution. You can’t find what we have here except you go out of the shores of Nigeria. The world is going digital and CLTC, as a brand, also needs to advance,” she said. “Ninety five (95) per cent of our youth are always in the internet. And if we must preach our core course now which is value reorientation, we don’t have to wait for them to come to our training centre, we can catch them while they are ‘pressing’ their phones.”
Chief Training Officer, Alex Akinusi, said the centre has existed since 1951 and has impacted Nigerians “but it has been a kind of silent achievement.”
“The whole world is gradually gravitating toward e-learning. The management deemed it necessary to open the activities of the centre to the globe,” he says. “Having seen that the youth are critical stakeholders to national development, we decided to open up greater access to these leadership platforms and empower them in the process.”
Highlights of the event included the digital presentation of the e-learning concept and the official flag off of the activities of the school by the minister.
An elated minister also promised to assist the centre with funds to set up a digital laboratory within six months to aid the successful implementation of its new e-learning project.