FG to Inaugurate Committee for ICT Varsity Soon

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Emma Okonji

The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu has said that the much talked about Information and Communications Technology (ICT) University, would fully take off by the fourth quarter of this year.

The minister who gave the assurance during an interview with THISDAY in Lagos, said the committee that would drive the entire process for the commencement of ICT University, would be inaugurated in the next few weeks.  “The implementation committee for the take-off of the country’s ICT University will be inaugurated by me, and the committee will be drawn from all relevant sectors, including the academia and the stakeholders of the ICT industry”, the minister said.

He added: “I can assure Nigerians that the infrastructure is already on ground at the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), which is being run by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) with four campuses in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Enugu. We are transforming the DBI into ICT University to address technical skills gap in engineering in the country.”

According to him, the federal government has opened discussions with global technology companies with presence in Nigeria, to adopt each of the four campuses.

What this implies is that the ICT University will be managed as a public/private partnership venture and investors like Ericsson, Motorola, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Samsung, among others will bring in their equipment and the required finance to establish the faculties at the university. They will also provide technical experts that will do various forms of training at the four campuses. It will be ICT University for not only Nigerians, but also for the entire African countries, who will be trained on modern technology, Shittu said.

Giving further insight about the ICT University, the minister said: “Government is looking at bridging the entire spectrum of technical skills gap, through the ICT University. Already, Nigerian universities are offering technology and engineering courses, but government has come to realise that the syllabus and equipment with which these courses were thought, were far out outdated and the graduates that were turned out every year, do not conform with labour market demand, hence the need for ICT university.”

He added: There is exponential development in the global ICT space and Nigeria must align self with this development because ICT itself has become a disruptive industry that is changing the dynamics of a whole lot of things. Today’s technology is fast evolving and we need Nigerians to be part of it, through the establishment of ICT University to address technical skills gap.”

Speaking at the Beacon of ICT Distinguished Lecture/Awards held in Lagos recently, the Executive Commissioner at NCC, Mr. Sunday Dare said the NCC’s Digital Bridge Institute, which was established in 2004 with campuses in four cities of the country, was modeled after similar ICT Universities and institutions in the world and might be in its way to becoming Nigeria’s first ICT University.

DBI’s ADAPTI programme has substantially improved the Information Technology (IT) skills of many students, public civil servants and members of the private sector and has trained over 6000 people since its establishment.

Dare said Nigeria must make deliberate policies that would accelerate ICT penetration, and that the country’s educational curricular must integrate ICT at all levels of education and our systems and institutions must be brought into compliance by training and re-training our people, he stressed.