By Emeka Aginam
About 474 schoolsÂ spread across the six geopolitical zones of the country, have so far benefitted from complete set of Internet tools and facilities provided by the Universal Service Provision Fund, USPF. USPF is a special fund set up by the Federal Government under the National Communications Act 2003, designed to provide telecommunications and ICT service
s to unserved, underserved and deprived groups and communities in the country.
Minister of State for Information and Communications, Alhaji Aliyu Ikra Bilbis, who commissioned some of the projects in the North Western States of Kaduna and Katsina at the weekend, saidÂ Federal Government is committed to providing information communication technology facilities through the installation of network services in all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria.
Alhaji Bilbis, who was joined at the commissioning events by the Senate Committee chairman on Communications, Senator Sylvester Anyanwu, spoke at the Government Commercial College, Sabongari, Zaria in Kaduna State where he said the Federal Government has approved the establishment of Community Communications Centers, CCC, School Access Programme, and subsidized Base Station Transceivers, as part of the efforts to achieve national and grassroots connectivity.
â€œThis ceremony is a fulfillment of the governmentâ€™s desire to improve the standard of the living of the people at the grassroots through provision of effective communications networkâ€, he said. He commended President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua for his bold and visionary programmes directed at changing the socio-economic fortunes of Nigeria.
Senator, Sylvester Anyanwu while addressing participants at the event said that the 21st century belongs to technology and that any country which fails to invest in techology education in headed for doom.
â€œThe 21st Century is technology driven and any student whether in nursery secondary or tertiary institution without access to computers and Internet, or do not have the skills to use these facilities would consider him or herself illiterate in the next five yearsâ€, he said.
He told the students that time is fast coming when all these exams including WAEC, NECO, JAMB will all be conducted online and that they need to master all these technologies to pass these examsâ€, he said.
He commended the Nigerian Communications, and the USPF for the initiative to ensure that Nigerians, especially the youth have access to this vital tool of education
â€œI want to commend the USPF, and the NCC for this wise thought an indeed the President of this county for the support he has given to the NCC and the USPF to promote ICT and Communications in our schools throughout the federationâ€, he said.Â He enjoined the Commission and the USPF not to relent in supporting this project as the legislators are solidly behind its full implementation across the country.
Earlier in his remark, Secretary of USPF, Mr. Funsho Fayomi, said the Fund has has ten of such facilities for schools inÂ each of the states of the fedreationÂ compriging of one beneficiary school in each of the senatorial zones and one from the State capital.
He said SAP is an ICT project to provide Internet access to schools in which each of the beneficiary schools reviced 100 compouters with full Interent access.
While stating that USPF is the intervention fund that the governemnt has set up to bridge the gap between the information rich and information poor, he said the fund has also completed 76 Base Station trainscievers in which GSM operatos are involved in extedning servies to grassroot locations to ensure coverage.
â€œThese are in support of the Federal Governmentâ€™s 7 Point Agenda in creating the necessary infrastructure, taining the youth to acquire more skill for job placements and providing access at Community Communication Centers for the benefit of the populaceâ€, he said.