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Will Africa’s first ICT University live up to its aims?

September 05, 2017 · 3 min read
NCC building

The controversial Information Communication and Technology (ICT) University of Nigeria, which will be the first of its kind in Africa, was recently approved by the Federal Executive council. Even though the university is expected to commence activities in September, very little is known about how exactly it will run

From information gathered, especially comments by the Minister of Communication Adebayor Shittu, this is what we should expect from the new university.

It will offer courses in emerging and transformational technologies

The ICT University is on a quest to build professionals by providing specialist knowledge in various fields of ICT. Some of the courses that will be on offer in the institution include; Cloud computing, Big Data, Telecommunications, Internet of Things, Cybersecurity, Robotic embedded systems, Computer forensics and Digital media and Entertainment technology.

It will be supported by some global giants in the tech sector

The ICT university will be driven by a public private partnership. It is reportedly supported by some global leaders in the ICT including Cisco, Facebook, Huawei, MTN, D-Links, Globacom, Lenovo, Samsung, Apple, Siemens-Nortel, Intel, Motorola, Ericsson, Dell, He, ZTE and IBM

“These industry giants have expressed their unequivocal support for this project with pledges in the provision of Faculty, library content, syllabus, logistics, including funds towards the realization of ICT university of Nigeria,”  the  Minister says.

Its major focus will be on postgraduate programmes

According,  to Daily Post, the Minister revealed that the new ICT University will provide only 30% admission opportunities for undergraduates. The majority of the programs such as Post Graduate Diplomas, Masters degrees, and Doctorate degree programs, will focus on training only graduates.

It will promote industry relevant research

The lack of industry tailored research is a major problem in many higher institutions in Nigeria that may be set right in the new ICT University. The linkage between the academia and industry  is expected to drive innovation through joint research and development programs as well as allow for constant improvement of the curriculum.

Why are we worried?

The government clearly has big plans for the ICT University that will surely be beneficial if properly implemented. But many government projects have failed to meet its potential because of poor execution and right now we are not convinced that ICT University will be any different.

In December last year, Shittu announced on the NAN forum that the university is expected to kick off within 3 -6 months. Apparently, this didn’t happen, and it seems unlikely that it will happen in September at this rate. The fact that they can’t seem to get the timeline for the establishment of the University right is an evidence of poor planning.

Since the announcement of the university last year, there has been a seeming rush to get it up and running.  While the ICT University may be a novel idea, are we ready for it? Are the necessary frameworks and policies in place to ensure the aims of the university are met, in place? Or is this simply a race against the clock for the current administration?

Like Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata Jnr  says, “Technology matters are not done in a hurry to curry public favour, win elections and galvanise praises for the boss; but they encompass painstaking processes, thinking outside the box and defying odds.  Because an un-dotted ‘i’ and an un-crossed ‘T’ can demystify your ‘IT’ dream.

 

Feature Image; Nigerian Communication Commission(NCC) Headquarters. 

Onyinye Uche

Onyinye Uche

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Writer. Interested in EdTech and tech careers

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