Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Transcriber:

  • I once watched this video of a relay race

  • at a primary school in Jamaica.

  • You see here, there are two teams, the Yellow team and the Blue team.

  • And the kids are doing great,

  • working so hard and running so fast.

  • And the Yellow team has the lead,

  • until this little boy gets the baton

  • and runs in the wrong direction.

  • My favorite part is when the grown-up chases him,

  • looking like he's about to pass out,

  • trying to save the situation

  • and get the kid to run in the right direction.

  • In many ways, that's what it's like for many young people in Africa.

  • They're many paces behind their peers

  • on the other side of the inequality divide,

  • and they're also running in the wrong direction.

  • Because as much as we might wish otherwise,

  • and aspire to build economic and social systems

  • where it's not the case,

  • global development is a race.

  • And it's a race that my home country, Nigeria,

  • and home continent, Africa, are losing.

  • Inequality must be seen as the global epidemic that it is.

  • From the boy who cannot afford to dream

  • because of the disappointment that could come with it

  • to the girl that skips school in order to sell snacks in traffic,

  • just to fund her school fees.

  • It is clear that inequality is at the center

  • of many of the world's problems,

  • affecting not just the bottom 40 percent of us, but everyone.

  • Young men and women

  • who don't get set on the path of equal opportunities

  • become frustrated.

  • And we may not like the choices they make

  • in their attempt to get what they think they rightly deserve

  • or punish those that they assume keep them away

  • from those better opportunities.

  • But it doesn't have to be this way

  • if we, as humanity, make different choices.

  • We have the ability we need to fill that opportunity gap,

  • but we just have to prioritize it.

  • I grew up many paces behind.

  • Even though I was a smart kid growing up in Akure,

  • a town 350 kilometers from Lagos,

  • it felt like a place that was disconnected from the rest of the world,

  • and one where hope and dreams were limited.

  • But I wanted to get ahead,

  • and when I saw a computer for the first time, in my high school,

  • I was spellbound,

  • and I knew I just had to get my hands on whatever it was.

  • This was in 1991,

  • and there were only two computers

  • for the entire school of more than 500 students.

  • So the teacher in charge said computers were not for people like me,

  • because I wouldn't understand how to use them.

  • He would only allow my friend and his two brothers,

  • sons of a professor of computer science,

  • to use it, because they already knew what they were doing.

  • In university, I was so desperate to be around computers

  • that to make sure I had access to the computer lab,

  • I slept there at night,

  • even when the campus was closed due to teachers' strikes

  • and student protests.

  • I didn't own a computer until I was gifted one in 2002,

  • but what I lacked in devices, I made up for in drive and determination.

  • However, camping out in computer labs in order to teach yourself coding

  • isn't a systemic solution,

  • which is why I started Paradigm Initiative,

  • to help all Nigerians learn to use technology

  • to help them run faster and further toward their hopes and dreams,

  • and help our nation and take our continent great leaps forward in development.

  • You see, to put it as simply as possible,

  • my goal is for everyone in Africa to become Famous'.

  • I don't mean, like, a celebrity,

  • I mean I want everyone to be like Famous, this guy.

  • When Famous Onokurefe came to Paradigm Initiative,

  • he had completed high school, but couldn't afford college,

  • and his options in life were limited.

  • When I asked Famous recently

  • about where he would have been without our training program,

  • he rolled out a list of could-haves,

  • including ending up on the streets, jobless and homeless,

  • at the risk of doing things he wouldn't be proud of.

  • But luckily, Famous came to Paradigm Initiative, in 2007,

  • because his friends, who were part of a youth group I'd told about my plans,

  • kept talking about a free computer training program.

  • And during his training,

  • Famous paid close attention and excelled.

  • When the United Kingdom Trade and Investment team

  • at the UK Deputy High Commission in Lagos

  • asked us to recommend a few potential interns,

  • we recommended Famous and a few others to be interviewed.

  • He got the internship,

  • and while there, he heard about an Entry Clearance Assistant job

  • at the [British] High Commission in Abuja.

  • He applied, even though, without a college degree,

  • no one thought he had a shot.

  • He was starting behind,

  • but it wasn't technology that helped him get ahead,

  • it was the extra training,

  • training rooted in his community,

  • training that understood his context and his challenges,

  • training that helped him change his life for the better.

  • Famous got the job,

  • and then saved enough to pay his way through university.

  • Famous, a Medical Biochemistry graduate

  • from Delta State University,

  • is now a chartered accountant and an assistant manager

  • with one of the world's Big Four professional services firms,

  • where he has won innovation awards consecutively for the last four years.

  • But let's be clear ...

  • the computer didn't do that -- we did.

  • Without our additional training and support,

  • Famous wouldn't be where he is today.

  • Fairness is not giving everyone a computer and a special program,

  • fairness is helping make sure everyone has the same access

  • and training that can help them make use of all these things

  • to improve their lives.

  • When people are further behind,

  • fairness isn't giving everyone the same opportunity to compete,

  • fairness is helping those who are behind

  • to get to the same starting line with everyone else

  • and giving them a chance to run their own race

  • in the right direction.

  • Yet there are millions of young people

  • who have not been as fortunate as Famous and I,

  • who still don't have the skills, let alone the will,

  • to face similarly insurmountable inequality.

  • As more workers and students

  • now have to complete tasks or learn from home,

  • this inequality is exponentially pronounced,

  • and with dire consequences.

  • This is why I do what I do through Paradigm Initiative.

  • But just like many intervention programs,

  • there's a limit to how many young people we can reach through our three centers.

  • We've now taken the training to where the kids are,

  • but public schools are so ill-equipped

  • that we have to bring devices, access,

  • and in many cases, we have to provide power supply.

  • Since 2007, we've worked with young Nigerians

  • in order to improve their lives and that of their families.

  • To give just one example,

  • Ogochukwu Obi father kicked her, her sisters and her mom out,

  • because he preferred to have a son.

  • But when she completed our program,

  • got a job and became her family's breadwinner,

  • her father came calling,

  • admitting that he was wrong about the worth of the girl.

  • In addition to our work at our training centers and in schools,

  • we're now planning to acquire mobile learning units,

  • busses equipped with access, with devices, and with power,

  • and that can serve multiple schools.

  • Yes, we need better access to technology

  • and policies that facilitate open internet access,

  • freedom of expression and more,

  • but the best computers in the world could fall in a democratic forest,

  • but no one would hear them, let alone use them,

  • if they were miles away, hauling water from a well

  • or foraging for scrap metal to pay school fees

  • in a school that can't even teach them computer skills.

  • Just like the fanciest sneakers in the world

  • can't help a runner miles behind everyone else.

  • I'll never forget being invited back to my high school

  • while I was Nigeria's Information Technology Youth Ambassador.

  • It was 10 years after I had been denied access to using the computer

  • in that very same school.

  • But here I was, being introduced as a role model

  • who was supposedly shaped by the same school.

  • After my presentation,

  • that teacher, who said I could never understand how to use computers,

  • was quick to grab the microphone

  • and tell everyone that he remembered me as a student

  • and he was sure I had it in me all along.

  • He was right.

  • He didn't know it at the time, but I did have it in me.

  • Famous had it in him,

  • Ogochukwu had it in her,

  • the bottom 40 percent have it in them.

  • Are we going to say that life-changing opportunities

  • are not for people like them, like that teacher said?

  • Or are we going to recognize

  • that centuries of inequality can't just be solved by gadgets,

  • but by training and resources that fully level the playing field?

  • Fairness is not about giving every child a computer and an app,

  • fairness is connecting them to access,

  • to training and to additional support,

  • for the need to take equal advantage of those computers and apps.

  • That's how we pass them the baton

  • and help them catch up and start running in the right direction,

  • and change their lives.

  • Thank you.

Transcriber:

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 TED training computer inequality famous fairness

Technology can't fix inequality -- but training and opportunities could | 'Gbenga Sesan

  • 0 0
    林宜悉 posted on 2021/03/01
Video vocabulary