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ICT directors’ forum formed, ngREN gets new life

By Charles Mgbolu
A committee of directors has been formed to organize ICT matters more efficiently in Nigerian universities. It was formed in a World Bank/STEP-B sponsored meeting; hosted by Nigerian University Chancellors for Directors of ICT in Nigerian Universities.

This is in line with the World Bank supported initiative to contribute to the development of the Nigerian Research and Education Network (ngREN).

According to a statistical presentation made by Dr Ahmed Isah Chafe of the Utman Danfodio University, the Directors were told in plain cold words that “Nigerian Universities were not delivering” in terms of IT research infrastructures.

The presentation read “Nigeria is acknowledged to have capacity for innovation ranked 47th out of 133 – thanks to mobile telecommunication companies. Unfortunately, Nigeria is placed 91st in terms of internet access to schools.

97th in quality of maths and science education. 115th in overall quality of scientific research institutions and 117th in broadband internet subscribers.”

The presentation continued “Without basic research infrastructure, the evolution of a knowledge economy will be impossible”

The Directors were told their mandate was to aggressively pursue programmes that would eventually trash out this ugly scenario.

Dr Chafe in his paper said that presently, there was lack of adequate interconnectivity between universities and other institutions which prevents effective communication and resource sharing. He said there was also a lack of adequate internet bandwidth leading to poor access to internet-based learning resources.

The directors were reminded of an agreement reached by the Association of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AVCNU) at a workshop on Strategies for ICT Development and Access to More Affordable Bandwidth for Universities Research and Higher Educational Institutions in Nigeria held in February 2008.

There, it had been agreed that ICT was essential for supporting collaborative research among Nigerian universities, research and higher educational institutions in addition to collaborative research with others, running joint online courses like what is applicable with universities abroad and sharing expertise.


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