The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr. Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, has disclosed that more than 24,000 Nigerian youths have signed up on NITDA Academy.
Speaking during a Virtual (Education) Stakeholders’ Meet Up and Hangout under the theme: Leveraging Indigenous Technologies to Enhance Educational Development, Abdullahi said the event was apt and exciting because covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted educational system globally.
“According to UNESCO more than 1.1B students are out of school due to covid-19. The disruption is unprecedented and one of a kind in our living memory.
“The crisis hit in mid-March and now 6 months after still we don’t know when it’s going to be safe to open schools for all students to go back to their normal way of learning in person.
“Before COVID-19, the Federal Government of Nigeria was working hard to ensure young and underprivileged children stay in school and have access to proper education. The government invested in programmes such as school feeding to reduce the number of out-of-school children.
“We had started seeing impressive result from the investment when covid-19 hit unexpectedly and forced about 46M Nigerian students out of school. On the one hand the COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting conventional educational system but, on the other hand it is revolutionizing digital and online education globally. However, kids in rural and underserved communities are being left behind as they are not equipped to adapt or transition to the new methods of learning.
“As a response to the crisis, some private schools in Nigeria switched to digital platforms, some state governments released a schedule of radio and TV lessons for students in public schools, but majority of students are left out. At our ministry and NITDA we also responded by launching virtual learning platforms for our citizen to spend their time meaningfully out of school. Our platforms are aimed at reskilling and upskilling our citizens with digital skill for post covid-19 world and future of work.
“As of this morning we have 24,372 active students learning under NITDA Academy”, the DG said.
According to Microsoft 149million new jobs will be created in the next 5 years.
These new jobs are going to be in Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, Cloud Computing, Robotic and Software development.
Abdullahi believes that to put the ‘meetup into historical perspective’, “it is aimed to kill two birds with one stone. Firstly, to open a discussion on how we can leverage emerging technologies to build an affordable indigenous solution to address the current global learning crisis using local solution. And secondly, to encourage and incentivize our innovative citizens to develop a marketable products and services using emerging technologies.
“Our next strategic action is to organize innovation challenge on indigenous solution that can help develop digital learning platform for rural communities in Nigeria. This is in line with our Honorouble Minister’s directive, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami to parastatals under his supervision to set up a fund for innovation that can promote development in Nigeria.
“We started with smart initiative in agriculture and the initiative was widely accepted by both government and private organizations. Dozens credible organizations including international developmental bodies reached to us on the initiative. And our next area is education. And today’s meetup has opened the conversation and set the ball rolling”, he said.