Nigeria’s Minister of Communications, Abdur Raheem Adebayo Shittu , while receiving officials of Morgan State University, Baltimore, USA, in his office, in Abuja, said the ICTUN which will attract students from all African countries would soon become a pride to Nigeria.
“The University of ICT we envisage will run on Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, bridge skill gaps, produce entrepreneurs and quality personnel for all sectors of the society”, the Minister said.
Maurice Taylor, vice president, academic outreach and engagement and Bisi Oladipupo, chief information officer of Morgan State University are in Nigeria to explore opportunities for partnership and linkages with the ICTUN.
Recently, the Minister had justified the establishment of ICTUN which is an addition to the over 150 conventional universities in Nigeria. He had stated that the inability of the conventional universities in Nigeria, comprised of public and private institutions, to meet up with the manpower needs in the ICTs industry compelled the Nigerian government to approve the new ICTUN. He flaunted that the School is reported to be the first of its kind in Africa.
He explained that the ICT University is not just another institution because it is a place where hands-on expertise would be delivered to graduates of the school. According to him, the specialised university will not be a burden on the public funds because it is structured as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement with the government just making the infrastructure available.
Presently, Shittu was of the opinion that at least 50 of the conventional universities in Nigeria offer courses in ICTs and Computer related programmes with little contributions for manpower needs in the evolving digital space.
To correct the anomaly in the curriculum of the conventional university system, he said that the ICTUN would run a College System at its inception: Information Technology, Applied Technology and Society as well as Security Technology. He stated that the traditional universities are not structured to cope with the frequent changes evolving from the ICTs ecosphere at the speed of light.
According to him, the proposed Institution would offer variety of programmes aimed at providing professional knowledge and expertise required for specialized careers in the field of Telecommunications, Internet of things, Cyber Security, Robotics, Embedded Systems, Computer Forensics, Digital Media and Entertainment Technology.
And as a result of the low capacity to keep up with the rapidly changing technology in the ICTs space, he said that it is difficult for the conventional universities to have dynamic curriculum to fill the skills gap required in the evolving digital economy. Shittu spoke at the recent Indo-Africa conference in Lagos which was attended by other ICT Ministers from Ghana, Ethiopia, and India High Commissioner to Nigeria, Rwanda Ambassador to Nigeria and top government officials from Kenya.
The multi-campus university with locations in the six geo-political regions of Nigeria is anticipated to kick off academic programmes at the Enugu Campus in the South East region this month. Other locations include Kano (North West), Abuja (North Central), Lagos (South West), Asaba (South South) and Yola (North East).
The proposed Institution has been endorsed by the Nigerian government, global leaders in the ICT industry such as Cisco, Facebook, Huawei, D – links, Lenovo, Samsung, Apple, Siemens, Intel, Motorola, Ericsson, Dell, HP, IBM, MTN and the Globacom he said.
The Minister stressed that the ICTs industry is experiencing a dearth of ready-for-market graduates because most of the graduates would still require to travel to places like India to horn their skills before they could fit into the market need of the constantly changing know how and know way of the technology dynamics of evolving market mix in the evolving digital economy. He said that the human capacity development index would be bolstered if a dedicated ICT University with the capacity to meet modern day skills need of the market is given a chance.
He said that some top ICT brands that have already endorsed the project pledged to provide technical expertise, equipment, training and funding to bear on the specialised citadel of learning.
Shittu said that the initiative has attracted further international recognitions from American and Polish varsities.