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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Zinox, USAID, others lift UNILAG with 362 Pcs

The pride of the nation in computer manufacturing, Zinox Technologies Limited in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), British American Tobacco, Microsoft Nigeria, Ocean Energy Nigeria Limited has lifted the University of Lagos (UNILAG) with 362 computers under University Strengthening for Improved Employability Project partnership.

These PCs deployed in two computer laboratories within the UNILAG at both the faculty of Business Administration and Department of Computer Sciences are meant to reposition the mindset of graduates from these departments for the contemporary business society, thus becoming employable and competitive globally.

Speaking at the occasion, Executive Director, Zinox Technologies, Mrs. Vivian Abii, noted that the failing educational system in the country, especially in the university sector worries her organisation, hence it showed concern through the Computerize Nigeria Project (CNP) on how to remedy the situation.

She described the project as an idea whose time has come and which brings extra value to the school system aimed at identifying and rectifying the incongruence between the educational system and the private sector.

According to her the target is to ultimately develop a curricular that would adequately deliver the manpower needs of the private sector.

The success of this initiative, she said, would put the issue of unemployable graduates from Nigerian universities to rest.

Assuring that the partners have put everything in place from the computer labs to the modern lecture theatres to the technical support from an American University to the hands-on experience as promised.

“This initiative ideally should serve as the springboard to overhaul the educational system in Nigeria,” Mrs. Abii asserted.

In her message, the United States ambassador to Nigeria, Ms Robin R. Sanders represented by the Consul General, Mrs Donna Blair, pointed out that most universities in developing countries face a common challenge in accessing the tremendous resources necessary to provide modern technology to their students.

“But without this technology, students move on to face an even greater problem in finding employment without the skills necessary to perform the jobs for which companies are hiring,” she declared, stressing that US government and her partners in this project recognise this difficulty and the long term consequences of failing to address it.

She also noted that the 362 Zinox Pcs have been installed with Microsoft business and computer science software to prepare today’s students for gainful employment tomorrow.

Ms. Sander explained that under the partnership collaborating organisations would join forces to align key curricular of the university with the skills demanded by the nation’s private sector, foster a sense of obligation in tomorrow’s leaders to play an active role in Nigeria’s development, provide valuable and challenging internships to talented, high performing students and increase employment, incomes as well as productivity of UNILAG graduates through strengthened technological skills.

“The partnership will provide graduates not only with the tools they need to better provide for themselves and their families, but also to contribute to a stronger Nigeria,” she noted.

Affirming the support of the US government to the project, she looks forward to continued cooperation among them.

In his response, Vice Chancellor, UNILAG, Prof. Tolu Odugbemi, expressed happiness over the choice of his school for the take off of this laudable project and assured that the school authorities would ensure maximum usage of the labs.

All the partners in the project were fully represented including the Director USAID, Ms. Latanya Mapp-Frett, Career Specialist for the UNILAG/USAID/Kansas State University Partnership project, Mr. Danesi Jafar, Head, Human Resources, British American Tobacco, Mrs. Mrs. Funmi Ogbue, President, Nigeria Computer Society and Director, Computer Information Technology Systems (CITS), UNILAG, Prof. Charles Uwadia among others.

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