Nigeria’s youth-friendly telecommunications company, 9mobile, has yet again affirmed its commitment to the promotion of quality graduate education with new initiatives aimed at increasing the coverage and impact of its first-in-kind 9mobile Telecommunications Engineering Postgraduate Programme (9TEPP) situated in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in Kaduna State.
9TEPP is a taught master’s programme that is implemented in partnership with Plymouth University, UK. Through it, 9mobile is innovatively developing local expertise with regards to telecommunications engineering skills. 9TEPP was launched in 2013 with the initial five-year period ending in 2018 but it was extended for a further period. So far, the programme has produced 33 master’s and three PhD graduates.
Both 9mobile, led by the Acting Managing Director, Stephane Beuvelet, and the ABU, led by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Ibrahim Garba, in a commitment to ensuring more Nigerians benefit from the programme, recently carried out a comprehensive review of 9TEPP and charted ways to make it more impactful especially in response to emerging industry trends.
Speaking about the initiatives, Beuvelet said they included the migration of 9TEPP to an online platform thereby offering opportunity for as many interested Nigerians as possible to study online while another initiative is the widening of the curriculum which now includes study of e-commerce and tele-medicine amongst others.
To ensure sustainability and continuity, he said 9mobile will also build a Digital Academy that will be dedicated to the training of more Nigerians in Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
Beuvelet stated further that the telco and authorities of Ahmadu Bello University will also seek partnership with the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) and the National Universities Commission (NUC) as part of proactive steps to expand 9TEPP’s scope and impact.
“The educational and industry needs when 9TEPP was established in 2013 have changed. Nigeria’s telecoms industry has witnessed phenomenal growth and has become more diversified. The telecoms industry needs more specialists and focusing on Telecommunications Engineering alone won’t be very beneficial for both postgraduate education and the industry. We decided to revamp the programme after a comprehensive review meeting with a team from ABU led by the VC to meet current realities,” Beuvelet added.
He further explained that 9mobile would also provide support to the 33 master’s graduates by way of enabling them to take the research findings they have developed to the market while the telco wouldnalso purchase equipment and software for the upgrade of the 9TEPP telecommunication laboratory in ABU.