By Emeka Aginam
The University of Lagos in collaboration with the Software giant, Microsoft is partnering on IT academy in a scheme known as Laptops for All Staff and StudentsÂ scheme.
With this initiative,Â UNILAG would be theÂ first ever tertiary institution in Nigeria to be certified as a Microsoft IT Academy under a Private Public Alliance (PPA) Initiative with Microsoft Corporation
The PPA, initiated by the university under the current early this year wasÂ developed between UNILAG, Microsoft and a number of Microsoftâ€™s hardware partners including Hewlett Packard, Zinox Technologies, Brian Integrated Systems and MSI, to provide the university with affordable laptops â€” loaded with Vista Business and Microsoft Office software.
The PPA consists of three components includingÂ access to hardware, software and connectivity; access to affordable financing and enabling ICT skills acquisition through content and training.
Under the scheme, Microsoft will also fund the skills training and development of lecturers at UNILAG so that a train-the-trainers programme can be instituted ensuring that efficient skills transfer is taking place.
For one thing,Â Â the scheme is a flexible PC acquisition model that allows staff and students to purchase computers and laptops on an instalment payment arrangement.
With optimism, theÂ Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) Professor Tolu Odugbemi, while commending the scheme said that , â€œThe project is a landmark initiative intended to empower staff and students of our university to harness the power of information and communication technology in order to supplement their academic work,â€ said Professor Tolu Odugbemi.
To date, according to him, a shipment of 2000 laptops has already been received by UNILAG. Wireless networks will also be set up on campus â€” including the Idi-Araba and Yaba campuses.
The scheme, he said isÂ particularly important for Nigeria with its large population of close to 150 million people â€”many of whom are students â€” and a rapidly-growing economy.
â€œIt is for this reason that it is our responsibility as the educators of Nigeriaâ€™s future workforce to transfer relevant skills to our students so that they are able to remain up to date in this ever-changing technology landscape,â€ he said.
â€œWe are honoured to be the first tertiary IT Academy in Nigeria,â€ said , adding that by partnering with Microsoft and its partners we are confident that we will be able to make a difference to the lives of our large student body as well as make the jobs of our academic and non-academic staff far more manageable.
ForÂ Â Adefolu Majekodunmi, Microsoft BMO Lead,Â ICT combined with education provides the path that enables individuals, communities and nations to achieve their full potential â€” a well educated and technology-savvy population is vital to ensuring a successful future for Nigeria.
â€œTechnology has the potential to empower teachers, expand curricula, improve the efficiency and effectiveness of an institutionâ€™s governance and, most importantly, give students a broader educational experience,â€ he said.
The Microsoft IT Academy programmeÂ aims to enable educational institutions to offer a world-class curriculum, which will help their students learn about, and utilise, the latest Microsoft technologies so that they may earn Microsoft technology certifications.
The programme also links academic learning to real-world job skills, thus allowing students to graduate with the IT skills required to advance in their future careers.