Information and Communication Technology in Nigeria: Revolution or Evolution

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This paper presents an historical development of telecommunications starting from Lanlate I Satellite Earth Station which was Nigeria’s first international satellite telecommunications gateway to the outside world. An overview of the general level of development of information technology in Nigeria is also highlighted and it also examines the extent to which it is being used in support of information delivery and communication in science and technology. The importance of information technology devices to the general development of national economy and educational advancement is also discussed. The paper emphasizes that for the survival and relevance of higher education institutions in Nigeria, ICT should be declared an institutional priority with adequate funding and support. It is finally concluded that the tremendous advancement in computer technology, software engineering and telecommunications as well as the resultant radical changes and advances in the techniques of data and information processing, storage, retrieval and dissemination in Nigeria within a decade is, no doubt, a revolution.

INTRODUCTION
Information has always played a very impor- tant part in human life. However, in the mid-20th century, the role of information increased immea- surably as a result of social progress and the vigorous development in science and techno- logy. In addition, as Trostnikov (1970) has pointed out, rapid expansion of a mass of diver- sified information is occurring, which has receiv- ed the name “information explosion”. As a result, the need has arisen for a scientific approach to information and for elucidation of its most charac- teristic properties which has led to two principal changes in interpretation of the concept of information. First, it was broadened to include information exchange not only between man and man but also between machine and machine, as well as the exchange of signals in the animal and plant worlds. The pace of change brought by new technologies has had a significant effect on the way people live, work, and play worldwide. New and emerging technologies challenge the traditional process of teaching and learning, and the way education is managed. Information technology, while an important area of study in its own right, is having a major impact across all curriculum areas. Easy worldwide communication provides access to a vast array of data, challeng- ing assimilation and assessment skills.
Rapid communication, plus increased access to IT in the home, at work, and in educational establishments, could mean that learning be- comes a truly lifelong activity- an activity in which the pace of technological change forces constant evaluation of the learning process itself. Commu- nication can be described as the process of transmitting and receiving ideas, information, and messages. In keeping with their complex nature and multiple applications, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) may be viewed in different ways. The World Bank defi- nes ICTs as “the set of activities which facilitate by electronic means the processing, transmission and display of information” (Rodriguez and Wilson, 2000). ICTs “refers to technologies people use to share, distribute, gather information and to communicate through computers and computer networks” (ESCAP, 2000). ICTs can be described as a complex varied set of goods, appli- cations and services used for producing, distri- buting, processing, transforming information- (including) telecoms, TV and radio broadcasting, hardware and software, computer services and electronic media” (Marcelle, 2000). ICTs represent a cluster of associated technologies defined by their functional usage in information access and communication, of which one embodiment is the Internet. Hargittai (1999) defines the Internet technically and functionally as follows: “the Internet is a worldwide network of computers, but sociologically it is also important to consider it as a network of people using computers that make vast amounts of information available. Given the two (basic) services of the system- communication and information retrieval- the multitude of services allowed is unprecedented.” ICTs, represented by the Internet, deliver “at once a worldwide broadcasting capa- city, a mechanism for information dissemination, a medium for interaction between individuals and a marketplace for goods and services (Kiiski and Pohjole, 2000). As pointed out by Capron (2000), mails, telephone, TV and radio, books newspapers and periodicals are the traditional ways users send and receive information. However, data communications system-computer system that transmits data over communications lines such as telephone lines or cables have been evolving since the mid-1960s.
One of the most dramatic advances in commu- nication potential- data communications- is found in the field of computer technology. Since the first development of the modern electronic digital computers in the 1940s, computerization has infiltrated almost every area of society in nations with advanced technology. Computers are avail- able in many formats for use in industries, busi- nesses, hospitals, schools, universities, transport networks and individual homes. Small or large, a computer network exists to provide computer users with the means of communicating and transferring information electronically. The use of Internet has revolutionized access to informa- tion for the business world, libraries, education and individuals. A few of the most popular include E-mail (electronic mail), World Wide Web, FTP (File Transfer Protocol), Usenet, and Telnet. The Internet and its technology continues to have a profound effect in promoting the sharing of information especially in academic world, making possible rapid transactions among businesses, and supporting global collaboration among individuals and organizations. Learning resource centres now often contain learning materials published on CD-ROM and most colleges are connected to the Internet. These technologies have the potential to develop “virtual campuses” and thus increase student access and participation. Information technology provides access to mainstream materials and enables students to express their thoughts in words, designs and activities despite their disabilities. World Wide Web can be described as a library of resources available to computer users through the global Internet. It enables users to view a wide variety of information, including magazine, archives, public and college library resources, and current world and business news. WWW resources are organized so that users can easily move from one resource to another.
 
Using IT, learners can absorb more information and take less time to do so.
It is the objective of this paper to highlight the growth and the importance of ICTs in Nigeria. Attempt is made to trace the development of IT especially telecommunications system in Nigeria and the growing popularity of IT devices in both the educational and economic development of Nigeria as a whole. The paper presents an over- view of the general level of development of information technology in Nigeria, and then examines the extent to which it is being used in support of information delivery and communication in science and technology.
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APA

Ugwu, A. (2018). Information and Communication Technology in Nigeria: Revolution or Evolution. Afribary. Retrieved from https://afribary.com/works/information-and-communication-technology-in-nigeria-revolution-or-evolution-7676

MLA 8th

Ugwu, Anderson "Information and Communication Technology in Nigeria: Revolution or Evolution" Afribary. Afribary, 29 Jan. 2018, https://afribary.com/works/information-and-communication-technology-in-nigeria-revolution-or-evolution-7676. Accessed 04 Mar. 2024.

MLA7

Ugwu, Anderson . "Information and Communication Technology in Nigeria: Revolution or Evolution". Afribary, Afribary, 29 Jan. 2018. Web. 04 Mar. 2024. < https://afribary.com/works/information-and-communication-technology-in-nigeria-revolution-or-evolution-7676 >.

Chicago

Ugwu, Anderson . "Information and Communication Technology in Nigeria: Revolution or Evolution" Afribary (2018). Accessed March 04, 2024. https://afribary.com/works/information-and-communication-technology-in-nigeria-revolution-or-evolution-7676