By Tony Edike, Enugu
VICE Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, UNN, Nsukka, Professor Bartho Okolo said that the N3.8 billion digital wireless infrastructure project which would be launched by President Goodluck Jonathan during his visit to the university on Thursday (today) would increase economic activities through research and enhance learning environment in the institution.
The project is expected to provide international and local Internet bandwidth; optical fibre network and cabling; data centre and network operating centre as hub for management of the system and an ICT Resource Centre.
Briefing journalists on the programmes lined up for the 50th Anniversary of UNN in Enugu yesterday, Professor Okolo said that the internet project would enable the introduction of a Global Classroom that replaces blackboards with white boards and other Internet-interfaced teaching tools, ensure international diversity from increasing numbers of international faculty and students, and enhance the reputation of the institution through higher numbers of PhDs and higher degrees awarded.
The commissioning of the ICT Infrastructure Programme by the president is a highlight of the 50th anniversary celebration of the university on October 7, the VC said.
According to Professor Okolo, the UNN ICT project would enable the institution further its internationalisation efforts to become a global centre of learning, adding that the project is “special” because “it is the first large-scale implementation in Africa of a university-specific Internet connectivity and ICT infrastructure to enable research and learning.
“It is also the first time that Google Inc, the multinational public cloud computing, Internet search and advertising technologies corporation, is launching forth with its University Access Programme to support and promote e-learning in Africa,” he said.
University of Nigeria is the first full-fledged university in Nigeria, founded in Nigeria’s independence year 1960.
The 50-year old institution runs diverse programmes in arts and sciences featuring 15 faculties, 105 departments, a college of medicine, postgraduate school, and 11 institutes/centres. It has a student body of 40, 000 in four campuses of Nsukka, Enugu, Ituku Ozalla, and Aba.
The main campus in Nsukka houses programmes in agriculture, basic and biological sciences, engineering, arts, and social sciences while the Enugu campus houses professional courses in management, architecture, law, and environmental sciences.
The College of Medicine, with a teaching and referral hospital, is located at Ituku-Ozalla, on the outskirts of the Enugu state capital, while the School of Languages is located at Aba, in Abia State.
Prof. Okoko, who is the 12th Vice Chancellor, said under his leadership, the management of the University had outlined a vision of internationalizing the university by turning it into a world-class institution with the enabling environment of infrastructure, faculty and learning environment, funding and international linkages.
He, however, called for greater collaboration between universities and industry to ensure integrated development of the economy and society.