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IT Should Be Springboard for Development -Akano



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Tim Akano, chief executive officer, New Horizons, a renowned information technology training institute. He has always exhibited passion for IT and when he left Nigerian Bottling Company, he went to establish the IT training institute,.
Through New Horizons, Akano has greatly impacted positively in the life of many young Nigerians especially students of different schools. He spoke to chike onwuegbuchi on issues surrounding quality and effective IT training in the country’s developmental effort

Developing Students Interest in IT
The objective of New Horizons’ education initiative is to transform Nigeria. We were the first company in Nigeria to integrate ICT Certification based programme into both secondary school academic curricula and the university academic curricula. We hope by this to produce well educated and ICT compliant graduates who will rebuild this country and create new wealth based on Knowledge economy as opposed to the present situation where Nigeria is 100% dependent on oil money. Five years ago we felt that a situation whereby up to 80% of Nigerian graduates is unemployed or underemployed portends danger for everybody in Nigeria. We were convinced that given good skills to students when they are in schools will go a long way in ameliorating the problem. It is not correct that we are only in Private Secondary schools but we also operate in some selected public schools like university of Ibadan.
 Driving down cost of IT training
First, when we talk of Cost we must bear in mind that cost is relative to value. The salary of well trained ICT professionals anywhere in the world also is higher than their counterparts in other discipline. So to command such huge salary people should be ready to pay corresponding price. But having said that New Horizons is conscious of the low purchasing power of Nigerians and that is why we are coming out with a tuition free scholarship in June to mark our 28th year anniversary. With this scholarship members of public who are brilliant and interested in acquiring ICT skills will be able to do so at minimal cost.
Partnership with Anambra state government
Gov Peter Obi has made history. He was the first Gov in Nigeria to have embraced the concept of integrated ICT empowerment for students in all the public schools in Anambra state. Integrated in the sense that he brought in professionals such as Microsoft and New Horizons, to assist in giving the students the necessary ICT skills, all other states in Nigeria should emulate the Anambra example so that they too can prepare a future for their youths. I will not be surprised if Anambra produces 1000 Phillip Emegwali in the next ten years.
Microsoft as preferred Partner
Well, New Horizons and Microsoft are like Siamese twins. New Horizons is the largest Microsoft technical partner in the world. We have an agreement of going to the market jointly. Having said that, we equally have strong partnership with Cisco, Oracle, EC-Council, CBP, Prometric, VUE, CIW, SAP among others. Don’t forget that New Horizons as the number one training organization in the world we cannot afford not to have other products in our portfolio.
Collaboration with E-Council on e-business training
 EC-Council is the most prestigious organization in the world when it comes to IT Security and E-Business. They have unbeatable courses like CRM, supply chain Management, Knowledge Management etc. New Horizons is the major distributor of EC-Council in Nigeria. We have successfully integrated EC-Council courses in Babcock University and Covenant and some other universities in Nigeria. We are also teaching students in secondary schools Security 5 under EC-Council ACADEMY. In fact, I am happy to congratulate President Goodluck Jonathan and all the citizens of this country that Nigeria has produced the youngest SECURITY 5 professionals in the world in persons of Davision and Seun who are both 12 years of age.
 Outdated curriculum of IT courses in Universities
Yes I agree with you that in most cases our curriculum is 30 years behind the rest of developed world. We are still operating the same curriculum that was handed over to us by the colonial Masters in most cases. Meanwhile the rest of the world has moved forward. The way forward for the universities in Nigeria is to produce new curriculum that will meet the need of the nation. They should bear in mind that they are like a factory and if a factory continues to produce products that the market does not need a time will come when they will close down. New Horizons has started the campaign to review the curriculum. And we are winning. Just last week Federal government came up with the directive that all secondary schools should integrate ICT training into their curriculum. We believe with time we will get there.
IT training as a business venture
Frankly speaking my experiment in ICT empowerment for Nigerians or what you call training was (and is still not) a business per se for me. I went into ICT because I see it as the most veritable way of changing the society the same way late Chief Gani Fawehinmi used the instrumentality of Law to change the society. For me the most powerful too available today to create jobs, create wealth and eliminate poverty, waste and underdevelopment of any kind is ICT. I came away convinced that if Nigeria is going to achieve its Vision 20-2020 we have no viable alternative outside of ICT. This was my motivation in going into ICT. Having said that let me quickly add that the value of ICT as a business venture is enormous to the growth of the economy. If you look at the economy of the Western nations you will see that ICT is the greatest employer of direct and indirect labour. Companies like IBM, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Cisco, Dell are all having thousands of staff on their payroll. More importantly, there is no nation that has developed in the last 50 to 100 years that has not passed through what I call the ICT-Pathways. If you talk about China, Singapore, Malaysia, and Taiwan among others, they all used ICT as springboard for national development. Even if you look at the Nigeria GDP growth in the last ten years it was made possible by the growth in the telecoms sector. Therefore ICT whether as an instrument of social change or business venture its significance cannot be overemphasized,
Proliferation of none certified IT training institutes
In any profession you will always have quacks. As we have fake ICT professionals so we have fake journalists, soldiers, teachers and the rest of them. It is therefore incumbent on the person that needs ICT services to probe into the antecedents of organizations he or she wants to have business relationship with. As at today we have hundreds of what I call boutique or ”under the bridge” ICT training companies. These types of companies don’t have alliance with other global ICT companies. For instance there is nothing local in ICT. ICT is one globally. Genuine companies have to have alliances with other ICT companies worldwide for collaborations purposes. So these types of companies operating under the bridge do not have such. Members of public should be conscious of this. One of the strengths of New Horizons is that we have partnership with all other ICT companies worldwide – the likes of Microsoft, EC-Council, Cisco, Oracle, CBP, Prometric, etc. The courseware we use are original and we pay our dues on intellectual properties and also we pay tax to the Nigerian government and pay annual dues to Computer Professional Association of Nigeria.. All these fake companies do not respect intellectual properties and the likes.
Mission in Universities
New Horizons pioneered the integration of ICT-Certification based training into the education curricula of Nigeria both in secondary schools and the universities. We saw the gap in the Nigerian education curricula before the government even admitted there was a gap. New Horizons carried out an in depth research into the cause of massive unemployment in Nigeria and we discovered that there was a big gap between what the universities are producing and what the industry wanted. Therefore there is need for the producers (the universities) to align its products with the requirement of the users (the industry). As at today we have partnership with over 15 universities in Nigeria and hundreds of schools. For any academic institution that wants quality and globally recognized ICT education we recommend that they visit for details on how to go about this.
Challenges in delivery quality IT training
Well, because of the way new horizons content is packaged there is no difficulty whatsoever in getting ICT knowledge transferred to any person regardless of the person’s background. The New Horizons content is easy to read and understand.


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FG Mulls Renewable Energy for Improved Power Supply



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Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, minister of Science and Technology, has said that the federal government plans to diversify the country’s energy supply sources to include renewable energy towards accelerating socio-economic development.

FG Mulls Renewable Energy for Improved Power Supply

Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, minister of Science and Technology

Onu stated this when he declared open the forum on ‘Scaling-up interconnected mini-grids development in Nigeria’, ‎organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP-GEF) and the Energy Commission of Nigeria, in Abuja.

He said that renewable energy will help the nation meet its electricity needs in a functional and sustainable manner, adding that it will also improve the quality of life in the country.

‎“Nigeria is endowed with substantial energy resources such as coal, crude oil and natural gas; renewables such as hydro, wind, solar, geothermal, waves and tides, as well as biomass.

‎‎“The challenge before us, has always been on how to efficiently transform these resources into adequate and reliable energy for national development using our enormous capacity in science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship”, he said.

The minister explained that since the inception of the present administration in 2015, electronic power generation capacity had increased at an annual rate of about 390 megawatts per year.

He, however, said that while this is commendable, it could not adequately meet the needs of the country’s population and sustain the desired level of economic development.

Onu further observed that Nigeria’s desire to industrialise cannot be realised without adequate power supply.

He stressed that every effort must be made to ensure that homes, offices, factories, schools, hospitals and laboratories in the country have adequate, reliable and affordable electricity supply.

“Renewable energy could meet Nigeria’s energy needs in the area of job creation and improved standard of living in rural areas,” he said.

He added that the development of solar photo-voltaic (Pv) in the country triggered by increase in demand for rural water supply, lighting, health services and micro-enterprise needs to be regulated to stimulate private sector participation.

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ROAM Africa Reports Over 2,400 Candidates Applying for One Role as Jobs Stiffens



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ROAM Africa (Ringier One Africa Media), the leading digital classifieds group in Sub-Saharan Africa, has released figures that highlight the current state of the jobs market in Africa, with one standard role attracting 2,417 applications.

Analysing 69,511 jobs listings from January 2019 to August 2020 across 5 African countries (Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda), ROAM Africa’s data sheds more light on the challenges facing both job seekers and employers in the African jobs market.

The standard job listing that attracted 2,417 applications was for a Receptionist/Admin Assistant in Kenya while another listing for call centre agents and team leaders attracted 2,283 applicants.

Similar is observed also for other markets: In Ghana, 2,299 people applied for an Administrative Assistant role and 2,265 people in Tanzania applied for a Sales Representative role.

In Nigeria, the highest number of applications for a single role was 2,095 and it was for a Sales Representative role.

According to ROAM Africa’s data, Kenya contributed the highest amount of new job listings in 2019 with 33%. Nigeria was in second place with 31% and Uganda was in third place with 17%. However, so far in 2020, Nigeria is leading the way with 40% of new job listings, with Kenya in second place with 28% and Uganda in third place with 13%.

A closer look at ROAM Africa’s data reveals that, apart from Nigeria, there was a drop in overall job listings across all job levels during the last months.

However, there was an increase in graduate trainee and ‘no experience’ roles in Nigeria, Tanzania and Ghana from May to July 2020, which offers some hope for new entrants into the jobs market.

Interestingly, recruitment agencies contributed the most roles, with 16% of overall jobs, closely followed by IT and Telecoms with 15% and Advertising media and communications with 12%.

Some candidates have also reported applying for more than 20 jobs a day for multiple months and only getting to the interview stage on a handful of occasions. This is why ROAM Africa’s jobs platforms Jobberman (Ghana and Nigeria) and BrighterMonday (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) are focused on matching technology.

The company’s technology helps employers to identify and score the right candidates faster. Suitable candidates are made visible to prospective employers, and helped across the finish line by providing data driven career development tools and training programmes.

Job seekers using the platforms can expect to improve their CV, gain interview tips and sign-up for online training courses designed to bridge the gap between education and employment.

Commenting on the data, Clemens Weitz, CEO of ROAM Africa said, “The high ratio of applications per job listing really highlights how challenging the jobs market is for employers and job seekers.  Both employers and job seekers are struggling to connect with the right opportunities and more needs to be done to address this.

“Employers must rethink their hiring strategies and clearly define what they are looking for, based on data and insights. Job seekers must also invest in personal development that will make it easier for them to stand out in such a crowded and competitive market.”

Weitz also added that, “We believe that Africa’s greatest asset is its people and their entrepreneurial spirit. With the expected growth in the continent’s population, we must begin to put structures in place that will make it easier for African businesses to make the most of this resource.”

According to Hilda Kragha, Managing Director of ROAM Africa’s Jobs platforms, “With the current state of the jobs market, Africans cannot afford to continue with the antiquated recruitment processes that are commonplace in many organisations.

We must prioritise a digital approach to recruitment, which brings transparency to Africa’s labour market while connecting people to work opportunities that will improve their livelihood.

We must also embrace objectivity in the recruitment process by incorporating innovation that makes it easier to fairly and consistently sort for the best candidates. This will ensure that only qualified candidates are applying for roles and employers get an accurate picture of jobseekers’ capabilities. A win-win for both job seekers and employers.”

“Our data highlights both the challenge and opportunity that come with the African jobs market. We must address the challenge of rampant unemployment but also embrace the opportunity to transform how recruitment is done. By doing this, we will not only be addressing the current problems but also future-proofing our businesses and organizations for generations to come.”

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FG Offers to Support TStv to Relaunch with Pay per View Model



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National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has pledged to give necessary support to TStv Africa as the indigenous digital satellite TV service begins full operation with pay per view model on October 1, 2020.

FG Offers to Support TStv to Relaunch with Pay per View Model

Professor Armstrong Idachaba, acting director-general of NBC, made the promise on Monday in Abuja when the management team of TStv paid him an official visit.

The visit was to inform him of the company‘s readiness to commence full operation across the country on October 1.

TStv Africa is a wholly-owned Nigerian innovative multi-channel outfit which had promised to operate a pay per view model for the benefit of Nigerians.

Idachaba said: “We promise on our side that we will continue to support you.

“At this time, I think that the major issue confronting the PayTv sector is the area of giving Nigerians option of deregulating purchasing capacity in terms of pay as you go concept.

“We believe this will give you the visibility if you remain committed to the idea.

“We welcome that option and wish that it serves as a stimulant and as a progressive index for other pay-TV operators to adopt.

“Some of them have come up with a lot of excuses why pay per view is difficult and why it is not doable.

“We want you to be the galvaniser to prove the naysayers wrong that this is doable in the interest of Nigerians.

“Once you begin and you make a success of it through increased subscription base, we are sure that others will be drawn into it as it happened in the telecommunication sector.”

Idachaba said the NBC is committed to promoting local participation in the nation’s broadcasting industry, especially in the pay-TV sector, to create jobs and provide diversity for Nigerians.

He acknowledged the challenges TStv had faced over the years and encouraged the company to remain focused.

“We are aware that it has been very challenging for you.

“All over the world dominant players will always want to remain in a dominant position.

” Those who want to survive will also have to take the courage to do so,” he said.

The Acting Director-General, however, admonished the firm to refrain from any activity that would give Nigeria a bad name.

“If you are acquiring rights, you must make sure that your rights are legitimately acquired.

“You must make sure you follow the rules of engagement strictly, study the broadcasting code strictly to have a robust future ahead of you,” he said.

Earlier, Dr Echefu Bright, managing director and CEO of TStv, said they were at the NBC to seek the commission’s support to have a peaceful roll out on October 1.

He said the outfit also visited the NBC to officially present samples of its decoders to the commission and thank the management for its support.

Bright gave an assurance that the novel pay per view concept was sacrosanct.

“The model is what we have experimented and implemented and it works and we have done everything we need to do for it Nigerians to benefit.

“Beyond that, we have enough boxes on ground that will cover the entire country,” he said.

Bright also gave an assurance that with the Oct.1 roll out, every part of the country would be covered.

“We currently have a dealership in virtually every state in Nigeria and as I speak to you now our goods are already with them for October 1 rollout. The coverage from day one will be across Nigeria,”

On sports products, he said the firm has Laliga as well as the FA Cup and  Euro Cup 2021 rights.


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