By Emeka Aginam

WITH the global paradigm  shift from traditional to smart classroom gaining ground, efforts by the Nigerian government to adopt the e-learning model  of learning in  the tertiary institutions across the nation has  started yielding the expected results.

Just last weekend, the Universal Service Provision Fund, (USPF),  of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, commissioned the University Inter-Campus Connectivity (UnICC) project  at the College of Medicine of the University.

Accordingly, the  initiative has shown  government commitment to encourage  smart classroom in the universities, polytechnics and colleges of education.

The UnICC Project is designed to seamlessly connect the networks of the main campuses of selected universities to the networks of their corresponding medical colleges and teaching hospitals through the deployment of fibre optic cable and its associated equipment.
Objectives of the project

The objectives of the project  are to facilitate seamless connection between the Universities and their Medical Colleges to achieve bi-directional communication for the purpose of sharing and accessing information, provide a platform for sharing bandwidth resources and creating a reverse path for backup in the event of downtime and provide the requisite link for voice, data, video and other multimedia services including conference facilities. With optimism,  the Minister of Communications Technology while commissioning the project  said that  the project  would encourage smart classroom in the universities.
Unique model of collaboration

The project which was implemented  by Teledom Nigeria Limited through subsidiaries provided by the USPF, according to Johnson exemplified a unique model collaboration among government agencies as a means of optimizing scare resources.

The Minister  said that  UniCC project would enhance e-learning  in the Nigerian tertairy institutions   across the country in the nearest future.

She said that in the first  phase of the project  USPF would  deploy over 300 kilometers of 48 core single mode optic fiber cables, (OFC) between the main campus of 17 Universities  and their corresponding annexes.

She further disclosed that the  project is creating and equipping 17 smart classrooms at the medical colleges with an interactive smart board, overhead  projector, audio visual support systems with lecture recording and playback capabilities and 50 wireless enabled touch screen PCs” she explained.

What  USPF is set to do
According to the Minister, “What the USPF is set to do is to provide the underlying infrastructure for the adaptation of various technologies including immerse video conferencing, smart classroom, VoIP telephony, among others. The project will also ensure the extension of the 10GB fiber optic NgREN network to all the 40 Federal universities, 28 satellite campuses and 12 Medical Colleges as well as accommodating the other   tertiary institutions such as Satte Universities, Polytechnic as well as Colleges of Education in the nearest future”.

She further disclosed that the project would also enhance the 43 data centers located in these universities by providing thirty four 10kVA power inverters and associated batteries in addition to providing biometric access controls and CCTVs at each location to enhance the physical security of the data centers.
Facilities to enhance research

These facilities, the Minister added are expected to enhance teaching, research and even daily workings of the universities and eventually facilitate the creatuion of the larger NgREN network that would link all universities, polytechnics, colleges of educations and other tertiary institutions.

For the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Rahamon Bello,  the commissioning of UniCC  portends the beginning of of the realization of a solid ICT base necessary for the attainment of the nation’s contemporary education objectives.

Connecting all campuses of an institution, according to the UNILAG VC would improve both academic utility of the Nigerian Research and Education Network, NgREN.

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