By Emmanuel Afonne
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has assured the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) of its support and assistance in the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the institution.
Director General of NITDA, Dr. Isa Pantami gave the assurance on Tuesday when the Vice Chancellor of NOUN Professor Abdalla Adamu and his team visited the agency.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NITDA is an agency under the Federal Ministry of Communications charged with the responsibility to implement the Nigerian Information Technology Policy and coordinate general IT development, regulation in the country.
The agency also creates a framework for the planning, research, development, standardisation, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of Information Technology practices, activities and systems in Nigeria.
Pantami said that NITDA under his watch would ensure NOUN becomes one of the universities in the country with a reputable ICT education base following recent transformation in the institution.
“I will give you 100 per cent support because you are ahead of many universities in Nigeria as far as emerging technologies is concerned.
“Only few universities come to us to talk of emerging technologies, which you are one of them, but many others dwell on manual and this is challenging; it is said that he who fears to change the status quo must find it difficult to progress.
“You can’t continue to do the same thing all the time and expect result; you must disrupt something to change the system, so, I commend NOUN because your exams are now online.
“This make it is easy now for civil servants to enroll in your programme,” Pantami said.
The Vice Chancellor of NOUN Professor Abdalla Adamu, had appealed to NITDA DG for collaboration and assistance to make the institution a digital hub for learning.
Professor Adamu said such innovation was to ensure that the university developed its computer infrastructure to be able to produce students with computer knowledge and cyber security.
“What we are seeking to do is to provide electronic facilitation for our students particularly artificial intelligence as well as short term programmes like cloud computing, social networking; something that will take about three months for somebody to do.
“We are in leading age realities and we are dealing with ‘generation z’; generation z is tied down with their devices. Their live and their activities are tied down in their handset, iPads etc.
“We are targeting a populace that is living in electronic river with flow of electronic current taking them to where ever destination they want to go; so when we have heavy duty programmes like artificial intelligence, or cloud computing which deals with large data, we provide our students with those skills.
“This is a project the World Bank loves, supports and funds,” Professor Adamu said.
Prof. Grace Jokhtan, Director African Centre on Technology, Enhanced Learning (ACETEL), explained that the World Bank was already supporting the ICT project in NOUN and would expect result in four years.
She said plans have been made to ensure students obtain Doctor of Philosophy and Master’s Degree on courses related to ICT but noted that infrastructure was needed to achieve that.
“We are interested in digital solutions for education and we are looking at access to internet and increased bandwidth and infrastructure that is in the ICT sector; those are areas we hope to collaborate with you.
“We have issues of policy engagement on the safe use of ICT for education, as well as cyber security issues,” she said. (NAN)
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