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Stakeholders at the 2019 African EduTech Conference Seek for Reforms in Nigeria’s Education System

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Stakeholders at the maiden edition of African EduTech Conference have called for urgent rejigging of the nation’s education system, so as to address the current trend, in which the country allegedly have 60 million illiterate adults and 10.2million out of school children,

 

They noted that with the statistics that 60% of the country’s population is below the age of 30, if this demography is not reversed, would become a curse rather than blessing for the country.

 

The African Edu-Tech Conference was organised by the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with EduFirst.ng; a subsidiary of Skool Media with support from Olashore International School.

Arch. Sonny Echono, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, in his Keynote address, said all hands must be on deck to ensure the nation’s education system is focused on churning out graduate with 21st skills set.

 

The Permanent Secretary’s keynote dwelt on the Conference theme: ‘Education, Technology & Jobs; A Synergy that Works’, said, technology is the ultimate tool to leverage and enable viable education and job creation.

 

“With the depressing statistics, there is need to provide access, modernized delivery mechanism for teaching; increase the number of teachers; provide enabling environment and ensure even resources, as means to recreate the education system.

 

“Education system has to provide graduates with adequate skills for present and future workplace. CBN’s 2018 statistics shows that Diaspora remittances to Nigeria exceeded the proceeds from oil revenue. In other words, we are no longer an oil economy rather human resource-based nation. Therefore, we need to stop brain drain.

Perm. Sec. inspects Skool Media stand while the Project Coordinator, Moses Imayi explains their activities.

“We must make our education competitive and attractive. Today, we use games to make education fun such that the children while playing they learn too. So, we must make our graduates employable.

 

“At the same time, we have to emphasis entrepreneurship. To create more jobs, we need more entrepreneurs who are using technology to innovate whether in agriculture, health, education, telecommunications, manufacturing, etc.

 

“As a government, we are keen to always facilitate public-private-partnerships that enable investments in the sector knowing that the expectations are huge.

E-School Demo by students of Queens College Yaba, Lagos State.

He also called on stakeholders to create a structure for accountability among the school owners, teachers and students as means to tackle laxity in the system.

 

He however, did not fail to emphasis on the need to equip and re-equip the classrooms and laboratories with state-of-the-art tools to facilitate effective teaching and learning environment.

 

Earlier, the Acting President and Chairman in Council, Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Kayode Falowo, said that Conference: ‘Education, Technology & Jobs; A Synergy that Works’, was convened as part of the Chamber’s mandate to support the socio-economic development of Nigeria through educational development.

Bunmi Afolabi, Director General, Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce

 

He said the Chamber African Edu-Tech platform will continue to provide the government, regulatory agencies, e.g Federal Ministry of Education, NUC, NERDC, WAEC, etc. and educational professionals, the opportunity to interact and share experiences on the revitalization of Nigeria’s education system, through the application of technology and innovation as key ingredients for educational transformation.

On his part, the General Manager, Partnership Implementation at Skool Media Nigeria Limited, Mr. Charles Dungor, told TechEconomy.ng that the goal for African Edu-Tech Conference was to bring all stakeholders in the education space to brainstorm on how best engineer a better system that recognises need for grooming students with 21st Century skills.

 

“I am sure that in the global scale we all know what is happening in Nigeria due to the decadence in the Nigerian educational system. We believe developing a platform as this will be an avenue for people to interact: proffer solutions; get public-private participants under a roof to dialogue and see how best to tackle the challenges so we can become globally competitive.

Exhibition Inspection by Arch. Sonny Echono, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education.

 

“The goal is simple: we have a lot of young people moving from the Secondary and colleges to universities, and other graduating from the universities, but they are not employable. This informed the theme of the conference, ‘Education, Technology & Jobs; A Synergy that Works’. How does this work? It deals with a competitive and effective interaction among stakeholders in the education sector, innovation (ICT) ecosystem, public-private sector participants to synergize,” Mr. Dungor said.

 

He continued, “As the first edition there will be a communiqué from the Conference to be sent to the government to highlight issues that were portrayed and solutions or recommendations proffered to resolve those educational issues.

 

“We have the body in charge of curriculum; the NCC that regulates telecoms and can recommend how they could go about assisting the education sector through their product offerings; NECO, which is an examination body and also WAEC; I believe some of their takeaways from this conference will reflect in decision and policy-making processes, just as the Acting Minister of Education, Arch. Sonny Echono who doubles as the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, delivered the keynote; he spoke ‘to the topic’ and proffered solutions from the Government point of view. He also staked clearly what the government is doing to bridge the gaps in the system and took feedback from the participants mostly from the private sector”.

Moses Imayi, Co-Founder/Project Coordinator, Skool Media.

 

Also commenting, the Principal, Olishore International School, Osun State, Mr. Derrick Smith, said in an interview with TechEconomy.ng that “the case with our schools is that we have to review the curriculum. We have to upscale the courses to reflect skills for the 21st Century among the students; such as critical thinking and problem solving, creativity, imagination, communication skills that will help them become citizens of the world.

 

“The curriculum should vive room for the children to develop personally; bring up ideas, research, because it is no longer fashionable to teach-for-passing-exams; our children need to have the skills that are necessary in the workplace when they graduate which are also constantly changing. It is no longer interesting to train a child for a particular job; their skills should work in a verity of jobs,” he added.

 

Olishore International School is a leading community committed to academic excellence, nurturing each child to their full potential, developing leaders for the dynamic global society in the 21st Century.

 

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) carefully designed and implemented the Advanced Digital Awareness Program for Tertiary Institutions (ADAPTI) as means to bridge the digital gaps that exist in the academia.

L-R:Tosin Koyejo, Founder, Chronicles Software Development Company; Bunmi Afolabi, Director General, Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce; Charles ungor, General Manager, Edufirst.ng; Kelechi Uchena, Co-founder, Nigenius; Adetola Salau, Carisma4U Educational Foundation ; Yomi Adedeji, Co-Founder Softcom; NERDC Representative

 

This was disclosed by the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, who spoke through the Director Research and Development NCC, Ephraim Nwokonneya.

 

He said that the project involves the provision of suites of e-learning applications for academics, students in tertiary institutions.

Mr. Derrick Smith, Principal, Olishore International School, Osun State

 

Danbatta whose speech dwelt on the theme: ‘Promoting Internet Accessibility for Inclusive Learning and Development in Nigeria’, said that internet accessibility is at the heart of digital inclusiveness.

 

“It is indeed the practice of ensuring that there are no barriers to prevent interaction with or access to the internet”, the NCC boss said, “Coming down home to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), facilitating the development of a knowledge-based, inclusive and globally competitive environment, is at the heart of our regulatory focus. Hence, the first item on the current 8-point agenda of the Commission is to facilitate broadband penetration in the country. We have carefully chosen this critical agenda to underscore the fact that the provision, access and use of affordable fixed and mobile broadband are critical for ubiquitous internet accessibility.”

Director Research & Development, Ephraim Nwokonneya, representing NCC’s EVC

 

NCC’s ADAPTI program involves the provision of computers, other ICT equipment and necessary facilities to provide lecturers, staff and students with the requisite ICT skills essential for the 21st Century digital economy.

 

“Through this program the Commission is able to specifically provide the tools that will enable familiarity, skill development and confidence in the utilization of ICT in teaching, research and learning”, he said.


Group photograph of facilitators and participants at Edu-Tech Conference 2019

 

The Conference had in attendance the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Arch. Sonny Echono; Director General, Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce, Bunmi Afolabi; the Co-Founder and Project Coordinator at Skool Media, Moses Imayi; Digital Innovation & Country Manager, EduFirst Ng, Idris Oladipo; Principal, Olishore International School, Mr. Derrick Smith; Principal Consultant, Leading Learning Limited, Folasade Adefisayo; Teal Lead, HR Strategy & Projects, First Bank, Tomilayo Esan, among other speakers and moderators. It also featured exhibitions, presentations by students, panel discussions, etc.

 


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University.

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NCC @ ICTEL EXPO, Pledges Robust ICT Infrastructure for Economic Growth

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Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has said that the Commission will continue to promote and facilitate expansion of robust broadband/Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure across the country for the rapid development of the nation’s digital economy.

NCC @ ICTEL EXPO,  Pledges Robust ICT Infrastructure for Economic Growth

Prof Umar Danbatta, EVC, NCC

Danbatta gave the assurance in a presentation titled “Communication Technology for Service Delivery in Health, Education, Tourism, the Creative Industry and Agriculture” delivered during the first virtual and sixth edition of Information Communications Technology and Telecommunications Conference and Exhibition (ICTEL) EXPO 2020.

He said the Commission, not only successfully achieved but surpassed the 30 per cent broadband penetration target in 2018.

Danabatta observed that through various policy initiatives, broadband penetration has further increased to 42.02 per cent as of July, 2020, noting that this has laid a solid foundation to drive the national efforts at achieving the new 70 per cent broadband penetration target set in the Nigeria National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025.

Represented by Efosa Idehen, director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, NCC, Danbatta said in line with this commitment, the Commission has commenced the review of the framework for engaging infrastructure companies to cascade fibre optic deployment to the hinterlands of Nigeria to ensure pervasive access to broadband services in the country.

He stated that with the support of the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, NCC is resolving the perennial problem of high cost of Right of Way (RoW) with the support of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) to hasten ICT infrastructure that will enable socio-economic activities across various sectors.

According to him, as the world is becoming increasingly digitised; there will be no sector or facet of human life where ICT will not be required for optimal service delivery and improved conditions of living for the citizens.

With regard to the health sector, Danbatta said ICT is playing a very important role in the manner health services are now delivered, adding that the new Internet speed and low latency of 5G technology are expected to further enhance the possibilities of telemedicine and remote surgery.

Similarly, the EVC said the educational sector has also greatly soared on the wings of ICT, as there has been a surge in online learning in many institutions around the globe due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic, while illustrating the symbiotic relationship between ICT and educational sectors.

Danbatta said “the relationship between ICT and the educational sector has been mutually beneficial. He assured the stakeholders that the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is expected to enhance the capabilities of the educational sector even further.”

According to him, the agricultural sector has also benefitted from ICT, as several agro-based apps have been designed to ensure that stakeholders in the sector are able to provide and improve on essential agro-services.

These developments have helped to boost food production and security, just as a lot of digitisation is also holding sway in the creative industry, enhancing its growth thereby enabling job creation and greater contribution to the Gross Domestic product (GDP).

 


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NDPR to Safeguard Personal Data of Nigerians -DG NITDA

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Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, director general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has disclosed that the motive behind the issuance of Nigerian Data Protection Regulations, (NDPR) by the Agency was to safeguard the right of natural persons to data privacy, fostering safe conduct for transactions involving the exchange of personal data, enablement of Nigerian businesses to be globally compliant and competitive and to create jobs for Nigerians.

 

Mallam Abdullahi revealed this Friday while delivering the keynote address  at the 6th annual conference of Institute Internal Auditors of Nigeria, (IIAN) with the theme:, “Agility and Resilience” which was held on zoom conference platform.

 

The Conference aimed at preparing participants across Internal Audits, Internal Controls, risk management, revenue and Government assurance and other business professionals to learn how to leverage on new technologies and procedures towards actualisation of the organisation’s goals and objectives.

 

The NITDA DG who was represented Director e-Government Development and Regulations, Dr Vincent Olatunji stated that since inception of the Agency in 2001, it has been playing a catalytic roles to spur the infusion of technology into nation’s work processes reiterating that the Agency plays “critical roles in capacity development, provision of working tools for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

 

“NITDA also has an existing arrangement with the office of the Auditor General of the Federation to aid the office in the discharge of its activities.”

 

Mallam Abdullahi said, “The Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) was issued on 25th January, 2020 by my predecessor, DrIsa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.

 

“As part of his think-tank then, our thinking was that Nigeria needed to quickly provide a regulatory framework for the processing of personal data.

 

“This was even more pertinent in consideration of the global implications of non-performance.

 

“Businesses where losing bids because investors felt there was no data privacy regime in Nigeria.

 

“The Agency’s implementation of the NDPR has been innovative and impact oriented. For the first time in data protection implementation, auditors became recognised as Data Protection Compliance Organisations (DPCO)”.

 

He maintained that NITDA has 72 licensed DPCOs among which are members of this “august body,” adding that “this posture is not as a result of lack of professionals in the IT industry, rather, we have made conscious efforts to carry every relevant stakeholder along in our developmental regulatory strategy.

 

“ I hope this noble institute would repay NITDA’s generosity by imbibing ethical and professional principles on your members for better implementation of the Regulation.”

 

Earlier in his remarks, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, New Capital Cooperatives Society Mr. Benedict Anyalenka while commending the organisers of the conference affirmed that data privacy and protection should be a requisite skill needed for development of the Information Technology Sector as it would create platform for protection of information against unauthorized usage.

 

Anyalenka, however, called for proper awareness on the importance of data privacy among organisations and stakeholders across the country to safeguard citizens’ data.


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FG Reveals Plans to Deploy Technology in the Health Sector

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As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government of Nigeria has announced plans to deploy information and communications technology (ICT) in the country’s health sector.

This is part of the plans to achieve transparency and accountability in health care delivery across the country.

Dr. Ngozi R. C. Azodoh, director, Special Projects, Federal Ministry of Health, who represented Osagie Emmanuel Ehanire, Honourable Minister of Health, revealed this while speaking at MTN Nigeria’s Revv Programme masterclass on Thursday, September 17, 2020 .

The virtual session themed ‘Bridging the healthcare divide through technology and partnerships’ had in attendance health sector experts including Chief Executive Officer, Hygeia HMO Limited, Obinnia Abajue; Chief Operations Officer and Co-Founder, Afya Care, Kola Oni; Managing Director, Ingress Health Partners, Dr. Orode Doherty and Chief Executive Officer, Tremendoc Limited, Ugochukwu Chikezie. The session was moderated by the General Manager, Business Development, MTN Nigeria, Omotayo Ojulatayo.

According to Azodoh, the federal government has put structures in place to utilise ICT as part of efforts to standardise the healthcare system.

“The government is working hand in hand with state governments across the country to maintain transparency and accountability, adding that ICT and other forms of electronic platforms are currently being improved and expanded following the federal government’s COVID intervention”.

She also shared that the ministry is willing to support small businesses in the sector imploring the participating SMEs to seize the opportunities provided by The Revv Programme.

“I want to ask everyone who is listening to write to the MTN Revv team and say this is one thing I want the Federal Ministry of Health to do to help my business then we can engage on how to proceed,” she enthused.

In her parting remarks, she also commended MTN Nigeria for providing a platform for SMEs to expand their capacity. “I must commend MTN for this excellent initiative. It has been very productive for me and an opportunity to transfer knowledge.”

The Revv Programme is an initiative from MTN Nigeria to help small businesses rethink and retool their operations in order to withstand the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic using a four-pronged approach that includes masterclasses, access to market, productivity tools support and advisory initiatives.


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