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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Akunyili, Egwu lead stakeholders to ICT-Edu summit

Information and Communications Minister, Prof. (Mrs) Dora Akunyili and her counterpart in Education, Dr. Sam Egwu, are expected to lead the federal government team to a one-day Stakeholders’ Educational Summit on Nigerian Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Lagos.

The event is being organised by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON).

Confirming this development at a press conference, weekend, the first vice president, ATCON, Chief Bayo Banjo, said that Nigerian graduates should be globally competitive technically, and ICT provides a real platform to realise this.

He noted that for ICT sector in Nigeria to remain vibrant and ahead of other developed ICT economies, concentrated efforts must be made to reposition ICT education.

“We believe that if ICT education is given adequate attention as it is given in the developed economies, the negative effect of the global economic crisis can be minimized as our dependence will not entirely be on revenue from oil but also from ICTs,” he said.

Also speaking, ATCON president, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, reiterated the importance of manpower development in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector, decrying the level of unemployable Nigerian university graduates.

According to him, this crisis is not helpful at all for the economy let alone ICT sector, lamenting that the situation had continued to worsen without committed efforts by major stakeholders between ICT and educational sectors as well as the government particularly.

He pointed out that in order to actualize and drive a successful national economy, a critical analysis has to be made and that is the onus of the ICT Education Summit.

He equally said the world is bent on globalization, which is driven by sufficiently developed human capacity, and Nigeria cannot claim to be vital in the scheme of things, especially ICT world without requisite education system in place to produce world-class graduates.

“It must be noted that ICT is the platform which drives other sectors of the national economy. However, in order to ensure sustainability of mass ICT revolution in Nigeria acknowledged worldwide as very vibrant in policy framework, institutional framework, legal framework, regulatory framework, among others, there must be a copious availability of critical mass of manpower to drive the digital revolution,” he said.

The ATCON boss emphasized that all successful economies are human driven, and it would be perilous to ignore critical development of human capital.

“At ATCON, for about a decade, we note with dismay that Nigeria’s ICT industry has continually been largely managed by expatriates. Such critical resources, which require colossal sum of money in foreign exchange to acquire, and this had no doubt resulted in capital flight,” he said.

Ekuwem said every import weakens the Naira and every export strengthen same, and a such employment of expatriates amplifies capital flight.

He said it was important that Nigerians know the full content of very segment of network, software, hardware, structural material and network roll-out in Nigeria, adding that this informed the stakeholders’ educational summit to be convened by the association towards the end of April.

Ekuwem said the summit would bring together stakeholders like the Minister for Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili, among other players like the Nigerian Communications Commission, Ministry of Science and Technology, national Information Technology Development Agency, Galaxy Backbone Plc, MTN Nigeria, among others.This year, with the theme “State of Nigerian Information Communication Technology Education: Challenges and Prospects and is slated to hold at the Fortune Hall, Golden Gate Chinese Restaurants, Ikoyi.

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