Wednesday, September 10, 2008

JACITAD advocates for Open Source award

A non-governmental organization with focus on Information and Communications Technology (ICT), the Joint Action Committee for ICT Awareness and Development (JACITAD) has advocated for the setting up of an Open Source Media Awards to encourage Nigerian media practitioners to develop heightened interest on the Open Source standards.

Open source standard is known to be a development methodology that offers practical ease of access to a product’s source code in terms of goods and knowledge. Typical example is the open source software which is the most prominent example of open source development and often compared to user generated content. This is against the proprietary software like Microsoft where users are made to pay for their software ever before touching same for deployment.

This was part of the groups input at the just concluded second meeting of the Committee on the nation’s draft policy on Information Technology, held at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, last weekend.

JACITAD president, Mr. Sola Fanawapo made this disclosure and said that as the nation through the National IT Development Agency (NITDA) in the proposed policy in clause 7.3.3 (ii) plans to set up quizzes and software development competition on the Open Source platform among students and youths as a way of stimulating interest and encouraging learning in this tool.

“It is also imperative to also introduce a media based Open Source awards to encourage incisive write ups and publicity to Open source,” he suggested.

The group also supported the need to set up a committee to introduce courses in Open Source in IT curricular at different levels of education, but noted that it is out of place for the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) which acts as the umbrella body for the sub-groups of IT professional groups and the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) to be proposed as members when the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN) which is relevant to IT education and as well takes care of the IT education functions of NCS and ISPON , is still there.

JACITAD equally endorsed the reasons expressed in Clause 2.1 for the review of the 2001 IT policy document to make it comprehensive and accommodate new technologies as they evolve dynamically.

It further noted that in clause 5.3, all the goals set to achieve by the objectives of the new IT policy, were proper, “but mass mobilization and sensitization should also be added,” stressing that majority of Nigerians still see IT as elitist and should be sensitized and carried along, more so if the new policy is meant to succeed.

In addition, JACITAD pointed out that in clause 5.3, 6.3, 7.1.2 and all other relevant clauses where committees were suggested to have the Nigerian Computer Society (NCS) and its affiliate bodies like the Information Technology (Industry) Association of Nigeria (ITAN), ISPON and others amount to replication of representation.

“We view it as a replication of representation and would wish that NCS should be made to be the only representative, taking care of the interests of its affiliate bodies,” the group stated in its seven-point agenda presented at the meeting.


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