Expert Calls for Synergy between Academia, ICT Sector

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Senator Iroegbu in Abuja

The President of the Information Technology Academy (ITA), Prof. A Obiniyi, has stressed the need to create a synergy between the academic sector and the information technology industry in Nigeria.

Obiniyi made the call in Abuja during a public presentation on the Nigerian IT skills gap survey.

According to him, the provision of necessary IT skills for youths would help in curbing the problem of unemployment, as well as boost the Nigerian economy.

He said in order to develop the local content and capacity of IT professionals, a continuous education programme must be put in place, while also seeking support from regulatory agencies to further strengthen the synergy process so as to reposition the economy of the country.

“It is imperative for the academia and the professionals in the IT industry to leverage on providing an effective method for skills development in the country. You will notice that there is a gap between the practicability of the students and the employability skills. We want to maintain a synergy between the training in tertiary institutions and what the employers need in the market.

“Sometimes the students are not well exposed and in some instance they do not prepare themselves for the challenges that are outside the school environment.”

The professor also described Nigerian students as hardworking, but that they also require a conducive environment to operate optimally.

“We know that for an individual to be an IT expert, there must be regular supply of electricity. The data must be effective and necessary manpower and infrastructure must be put in place.”

He advised youths to be resilient and determined to acquaint themselves with the necessary IT skills to develop the country, adding that the youths should be able to use what they have to get what they want. “They should not give room for any excuse.”

Also speaking, the Director of ICT, University of Jos, Prof. Tanko Ishaya said there is need to review schools’ curriculum to meet up with what is obtainable in the world today.

“We need to remind the academia and the professionals in the IT sector to improve the level of proficiency in the field. We have to constantly maintain high rapport so as to provide new innovations and be able to meet up with best practices.”

He called on top players in the IT industry in Nigeria to fund research by students and academia so as to obtain meaningful result in the country.

The President and founder, Young Innovators of Nigeria (YIN), Mr. Abu Andrew also stated that based on the result of a survey conducted there is a huge gap between people in the rural area and the urban area bringing about a disconnect in the society, as statistics shows a 93 per cent gap.

He said most young people in rural areas do not have access to internet and ICT facilities, which make them not to be conversant with recent developments in the world.

“We need to broaden IT penetration and we should begin to use ICT to support every sector of the economy from business to agriculture and education.”

He also charged all Nigerians to be strong developers of technology and judiciously tap into readily available resources to achieve development.

“We have majored in the area of capacity development for start-ups, and have empowered them to utilise the IT skills irrespective of the environment. We believe that IT is changing the way the world is tilting in every sector of the economy.”