By Ijeoma Olorunfemi
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) on Monday launched its indigenous ‘Unity Board’, a technology hardware platform for teaching emerging technologies.
The agency launched the board as part of its activities at the 39th ongoing Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) holding in Dubai (United Arab Emirates).
GITEX is a global technology exhibition that brings together over 200,000 trade visitors, investors, innovators, IT experts, countries, Information Communication Technology startups from over 145 countries of the world to share trends in ICT and ways of advancing technology innovations.
Nigeria’s participation in GITEX, which is driven by NITDA, is a week-long programme holding from Oct. 6 to Oct. 10.
The launch of the board was targeted at attracting novel investors toward promoting the indigenous product and showcasing the capacity of Nigeria in developing home-grown technology.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the board is an initiative of the present Minister of Communications, Dr Isa Pantami, when he was the Director General of NITDA.
Dr Agu Collins, the Director, Corporate Planning and Strategy Department, also a co-author of the unity board, said it would ensure the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) from the basics.
He said “STEAM Education Kit is to drive learning and teaching of Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics and Artificial Intelligence to accelerate local content development and indigenisation of technology through human capital development in emerging technologies.
“Unity Board is a creative medium for advancing teaching and learning designed, specifically as hands-on learning tool to help today’s students to build skills for the creative and digital economy through critical thinking,” Collins said.
According to him, it is a board that brings all Nigerians together, showing local content which is one of the cardinal policlies of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The director said that “by deploying learning with the board, the agency is ensuring that Nigerian youths have valueable skills.”
He added that skills required in the ICT industry was becoming dynamic everyday, hence the need to train the youths to be abreast with modern technology trends.
“The board is designed for school children from five years upwards, for programmes to catch the young ones early.
“It can be used in tertiary schools, deployed in the field, it can create an IoT system that can give pre-warning on flooding, remote sensing and in other areas.
“There is huge economic potential because we can engage young ones to learn lacking skills across Asian, African countries which they can use to develop their systems,” he said.
He explained that getting back from GITEX, the agency would engage relevant stakeholders to introduce the board and design a programme for adoption.
The agency official said initiating the board was a Research and Development idea that took three years to innovate. (NAN)