In an effort to bridge the gap between the academia and the industry while building digital skills, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) on Wednesday Commissioned NITDA Academy Virtual Learning Centre in Abuja.
Speaking at the virtual meeting which had over 136 participants and stakeholders in the IT sector, Pantami said the academy became necessary because things are already changing across the world as a result of the advent of the COVID-19 which has affected 3.1million people and killed 217,000 persons globally and that Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind.
Pantami has therefore encouraged Nigerians to utilise the lockdown period to develop their digital skills.
According to him, the academy will enable the ministry create a pool of trained and skilled youths; encourage continuous learning at home, build, upgrade and integrate our capacity among Nigerians as well as bridge the gap between the academia and the industry.
For him, the Academy would add value to millions of skilled and unskilled Nigerians to prepare them for the Post-COVID-19 economy.
“This is commendable, looking at the way the Pandemic has stared 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.
Consequent upon the inherent benefits and the implication of the lockdown occasioned by CVID-19, the Minister 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 virtual 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 stated 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 challenged NITDA to do more by rigorously implement the new policy to enable them fit into the emerging digital world.
Pantani then called on all the citizens to utilise the opportunity to build their capacity and skills.
Similarly, he charged students in secondary schools and institutions of higher learning to leverage 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 of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa who described the occasion as historic as it was the first time a public servant would commission a project virtually in Nigeria. Virtual
According to him, the Academy was conceptualized to mitigate against the effects of the lockdown occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic.
While 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 Economics 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 not just now we are faced with COVID-19 but for the future.
He advised the ministry to make sure it carries service providers along and offer them subsidy so as to make their services affordable for more Nigerians.
Other speakers who gave their Goodwill messages include the representatives of Oracle, Huawei, CISCO and heads of agencies under the ministry.
The platform is a partnership between NITDA, Microsoft, Oracle, CISCO, Huawei and Harvard University among others.