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COVID-19: FG Partners Harvard, Microsoft, Others On Virtual Learning

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COVID-19: FG Partners Harvard, Microsoft, Others On Virtual Learning

Ali Pantami

Aminat Isah, Abuja

The federal government says it is partnering Microsoft, Oracle, CISCO, Huawei, Harvard University and many other ICT based institution, to cushion the effects of Covid-19 on education and encourage continuous learning through Virtual Learning Centre.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami gave the hint on Wednesday at the Commissioning of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Academy Virtual Learning Centre in Abuja.

Pantami said the academy became necessary due to the current state of things across the world in which Nigeria cannot be left behind as a result of the damaging effect of the pandemic which has affected 3.1million people and killed 217,000 persons globally.

According to him, the Academy will enable the ministry create a pool of trained and skilled youths whose upgraded capacity when integrated would allow for bridging the gap between the academia and the industry in preparation for the Post-COVID-19 economy.

“This is commendable, looking at the way the Pandemic has started changing the way things are being done globally.

“With over 3.1million people haven contracted the virus globally and 217,000 dead, it has started changing the world completely.

“For the first time we are commissioning a project in Nigeria virtually, this is what CIVID-19 has caused.

“The academy training which is free to interested and prospective candidates comes in three categories and is meant to enable public servants to acquire prerequisite skills they may need to fit into the emerging Post-COVID-19 economy.

“It also comes with a pack of various courses that will lead to certification from CISCO, Oracle, Huawei and even Havard among others,”

The Minister also said the ministry is currently working with NITDA, Galaxy Backbone and other relevant agencies to begin the hosting of future Federal Executive Council meetings virtually through the Academy, pending the approval by the President.

“The commissioning of the Academy being unprecedented, we are working to conduct the Federal Executive Council meetings virtually. Particularly, if there is a critical issues the President will GI online and conduct meeting virtually. If that is approved, we will go on to to conduct the FEC meetings virtually.

“The ministry, NITDA and Galaxy a Backbone are working and few others are working day in day out to ensure we begin to have our FEC meetings virtually.”

He further disclosed that the ministry had directed NITDA to ensure that they build the capacity of more Nigerians, particularly in the area of emerging technologies in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy Pillar No.2 .

He called on NITDA to regorously implement the new policy to enable them fit into the emerging digital world and urged citizens to utilise the opportunity to build their capacity and skills.

He similarly charged students in secondary schools and higher institutions of learning to leverage on the platform provided by the NITDA Academy to acquire more skills, insisting that the era when certificate counts over skills is over.

“I feel there is no better time to utilize this platform to build peoples’ capacity than now.
“It has so many benefits. I encourage our students to key into this initiative because today, it is no longer about the skills they acquired but about the skills and capacity.”

Earlier in his welcome address, the Director General NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa described the occasion as historic being first time a public servant would commission a project virtually in Nigeria.

According to him, the Academy was conceptualised to mitigate against the effects of the lockdown occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic.

Acknowledging the key role played by the partners effort in making the project a reality, Inuwa said they at NITDA are promoting digital literacy strategy for the Post-COVID-19 world in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy of President Mohammadu Buhari.

The country Manager of CISCO, Mr. Olakunle Olatimeyin said the launching of the Academy is an important journey for Nigeria now and in the future.

He advised the ministry to ensure it provide an avenue for service providers are carried along and offered subsidy for the purpose of services affordability for more Nigerians.

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