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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

NCC takes digital dividends to varsities, others via ADAPTI, DAP

AS part of its deliberate digital inclusion policy to address digital divides across a broad spectrum of the society generally and the school system in particular, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) recently took digital dividends to some institutions of higher learning in the country. 

These schools included Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo, Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, University of Benin, Government Junior Secondary School, Jabi, Abuja, Katsina State College, Katsina, Government Secondary School Dan Musa, Katsina State, among others. 

The NCC acknowledged the gap in ICT services early enough and opted to cushion these needs by taking services, equipment and infrastructure to these centres of learning.

The Commission through the Advanced Digital Awareness Programme for Tertiary Institutions (ADAPTI) has been able to empower several of these higher institutions by donating digital centres, computer laboratories fitted with laptops and internet connectivity, generating sets as part of the digital dividends. 

While secondary schools benefit through the Digital Awareness Programme (DAP). DAP ensures that teachers are empowered first to pass knowledge to the students. DAP promotes hands-on digital empowerment by creating an environment where students have direct knowledge of usage of computers and ICTs in support of their studies.

Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) Dr. Eugene Juwah explains that this is one of the ways we can reach the unreached and serve the unserved and underserved members of the society. Juwah further assured that many more institutions and schools will be covered especially now that the broadband revolution has begun. “Broadband will make a world of difference”. 

Director, Public Affairs, Mr. Tony Ojobo in a statement explained that to continue the distribution of digital knowledge, and awareness in schools and support students in acquiring knowledge of computer in their studies, the Commission donated ICT/Telecommunications books to Ekiti State University, recently.

Juwah specifically said the Commission wants to put smiles on the faces of students and the school system. The EVC who was represented by Ms. Josephine Amuwa (Director, Policy Competition and Economic Analysis), stated in Ekiti that one of the core functions of the NCC is the implementation of programmes and plans that promote the development of the communications industry and in order to achieve this, the NCC has implemented several capacity building initiatives to enhance the knowledge base of the participants in the telecoms industry in Nigeria. 

Some of these initiatives include the establishment of the Digital Bridge Institute in 2004 in order to contribute to the creation of knowledge-based information society in Africa, through human resource capacity building in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector. 

The EVC stated that the Commission in 2005 also established the NCC library for use of researchers and undergraduate students from various tertiary institutions across the country. He further explained that higher institutions in Ekiti State, which fall within South West geo-political zone, have not benefitted from the National Books Donation Initiative of the Commission since inception of the project which is carried out in phases, hence the need to begin from the Ekiti State University.

Eighty Seven ICT/Telecom Engineering books on behalf of the EVC were donated by the Commissioner of NCC, Mrs. Biodun Olujimi and received by the Vice Chancellor of Ekiti State University Prof. Oladipo Aina. The Vice Chancellor thanked the Commission for contributing ICT/ Telecommunications books to the University which will impact and add value to the lives of the students.

The Commission has also taken the ADAPTI project to The Polytechnic, Ibadan Oyo State, where 110 laptops were commissioned. The Advanced Digital Awareness programme for Tertiary Institutions (ADAPTI) is one of the programmes through which the NCC strives to bridge the digital divide through the provision of computers in order to equip lecturers and also to improve the skills of students.  

The EVC who was represented by the NCC zonal coordinator in Ibadan, Mr. Banji Ojo in his speech stated that The Polytechnic, Ibadan was among the 52 beneficiaries of the ADAPTI project of the Commission in 2013, and that more than 222 institutions of higher learning across the country have so far benefitted from ADAPTI since it began in 2008. 

Speaking at the event, Juwah stated that the key objectives of these programmes are to prepare the nation for a digital tomorrow and equip the youth with the necessary skills to tap into the potentials of the digital age and in the case of ADAPTI, it is aimed at improving the resource persons in the process of impacting knowledge. The EVC further explained that the Commission is committed to assisting the nation in the quest for ICT penetration through ADAPTI.

Hon. Oyetunde Ojo, the Chairman of the House Committee on Communications, urged the students to take advantage of the computers, which were commissioned, advising that the laptops are for the use of lecturers to improve their administrative skills. He also advised the students of The Polytechnic to stay away from crimes such as cybercrime and focus on their education in order to contribute to the nation’s wellbeing.

The Digital Awareness Program (DAP) is a special intervention programme by the Commission to address the digital information knowledge gap in the country especially among the teeming youthful population. The strategy in this programme is to expose schools and colleges to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) awareness, usage and application by facilitating access to ICT tools. Under the project, selected institutions of learning spread across the country are equipped with computer laboratories fully installed with internet facilities and their teachers exposed to ICT training in order to equip them to teach their students, Ojobo further explained in the statement. 

By the last count, the DAP Project has supported  229 secondary Schools across the six (6) geopolitical zones of Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory with the provision of twenty one (21) desktop computers, Local Area Network, printers, scanners, VSAT dish and deployment of one year bandwidth subscription for Internet access. These facilities are complemented with standby generators and a special accommodation built for that purpose; thus aggregating everything into a fully kitted Computer Laboratory. The programme also entails human capacity building and managerial training for key personnel in charge of the Centres from the beneficiary institutions.

As part of the Commission’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to facilitate ICT Awareness in secondary schools and support students in acquiring knowledge of computer in their studies, the Commission commissioned two projects in Katsina state recently.

One of the beneficiaries is Government Secondary School, Dan Musa, Katsina State

A newly constructed computer laboratory with 20 Desktop computers with internet access, Generator Set, Air conditioners, NCC branded window blinds, was commissioned at the school. The Executive Governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Ibrahim Shehu Shema was represented by Alhaji Suleiman Nuhu Kuki, Special Adviser (Science and Tech) at the event.

The projects were facilitated by Alhaji Jamilu Mohammed Dan Musa, a former Commissioner of Water Resources in the State. So many stakeholder graced the occasion.

Katsina College, Katsina State also benefitted with a newly constructed Computer Laboratory, 20 Desktop Computers with internet access, Generator Set, Air-conditioners, NCC branded window blinds were commissioned at Katsina College, Katsina, a prestigious institution and an Alma Mata of so many prominent Nigerians.
In Imo State a constructed  computer laboratory, installed generator, air conditioners and branded window blinds at Omuma Secondary Technical School in Oru East LGA was one of the DAP projects while ADAPTI projects with 110 laptops  were supplied and installed at each of the following locations:

   .Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo

     . Skills Acquisition Centre, Orlu (a campus of Imo State Polytechnic)

     .St. Damian School of Nursing, Okporo

.Federal Polytechnic Nekede
These are some of the initiatives by the Commission to spread digital awareness through digital inclusion, Ojobo added. 

*Sonny Aragba-Akpore, Head, Media at NCC contributed this piece from Abuja.
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