By Angela Nkwocha
In a bid to cushion the effects of Covid-19 especially on the country’s educational sector and encourage continuous learning through Virtual Learning Centre, the Federal government through the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, recently commissioned the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Academy Virtual Learning Centre in Abuja.
Pantami said the initiative is in partnership with Microsoft, Oracle, CISCO, Huawei, Harvard University and many other ICT based institution adding that the academy became necessary due to the current effect of the COVID-19 pandemic which has affected over 3.1million people and killed over 217,000 persons globally.
He averred that the Academy will enable the ministry create a pool of trained and skilled youths whose upgraded capacity when integrated would allow for bridging the gap between the academia and the industry in preparation for the Post-COVID-19 economy.
He said the academy training is free to interested and prospective candidates and comes in three categories and is meant to enable public servants to acquire prerequisite skills they may need to fit into the emerging Post-COVID-19 economy.
“It also comes with a pack of various courses that will lead to certification from CISCO, Oracle, Huawei and even Havard among others.
“The commissioning of the Academy being unprecedented, we are working to conduct the Federal Executive Council meetings virtually. Particularly, if there is a critical issues the President will go online and conduct meeting virtually. If that is approved, we will go on to conduct the FEC meetings virtually.
“The ministry, NITDA, Galaxy Backbone and few others are working day in day out to ensure we begin to have our FEC meetings virtually.”
He further disclosed that the ministry had directed NITDA to ensure that they build the capacity of more Nigerians, particularly in the area of emerging technologies in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy Pillar No.2 .
He called on NITDA to rigorously implement the new policy to enable them fit into the emerging digital world and urged citizens to utilise the opportunity to build their capacity and skills.
He similarly charged students in secondary schools and higher institutions of learning to leverage on the platform provided by the NITDA Academy to acquire more skills, insisting that the era when certificate counts over skills is over.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Director General NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa described the occasion as historic being first time a public servant would commission a project virtually in Nigeria.
According to him, the Academy was conceptualised to mitigate against the effects of the lockdown occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic.
Acknowledging the key role played by the partners effort in making the project a reality, Inuwa said they at NITDA are promoting digital literacy strategy for the Post-COVID-19 world in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy of President Mohammadu Buhari.
The country Manager of CISCO, Mr. Olakunle Olatimeyin said the launching of the Academy is an important journey for Nigeria now and in the future.