Tuesday, 31 January 2017

UNN 46th Convocation Lecture: UNN to Serve as Technological Incubator in ICT Infrastructural Delivery

By Ifeyinwa David

ENUGU-The Nigerian foremost university, the University of Nigeria has been challenged to efficiently and effectively transform the methods of teaching and learning from traditional to ICT-enabled environment as the
university was well positioned to serve as technological incubator in ICT infrastructural delivery.

This was the thrust of the lecture delivered by an erudite scholar, the executive vice-chairman/chief executive officer of the Nigerian communications commission, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, at the 46th convocation lecture of the University of Nigeria, held recently in the den.

Prof Danbatta explained that the choice of the first indigenous university in Nigeria was because it was the cusp of ICT revolution in Nigeria.

Prof Danbatta, who spoke on THE ROLE OF ICT INFRASTRUCTURE IN TERTIARY EDUCATION: NCC INTERVENTIONS, applauded the apex university for exploiting the immeasurable opportunities provided by ICT.

The NCC boss stated that the webometrics ranking that had placed UNN as first in three consecutive years in Nigeria far ahead of other universities in the country should be seen as a clarion call for the university that is built on soft green hills to serve as a technological incubator in ICT infrastructural delivery for tertiary education in Nigeria.

Prof Danbatta stated that the deployment of ICT services was making dynamic changes in our society, tasking universities in Nigeria to explore and exploit its inherent opportunities, and the roles it plays in education.

Such roles as facilitating the acquisition and absorption of knowledge, offering developing countries unprecedented opportunities to enhance educational systems, improve policy formulation and execution, and widen the range of opportunities for business.

“Tertiary institutions leverage on ICTs infrastructure to efficiently and effectively transform their traditional methods of teaching and learning.

“Additionally, it improves the content delivery and capacity development of its staff and students”, he stated.
The erudite scholar further said that the use of ICTs infrastructure reduces the colossal time, energy and funds being expended in accessing materials for  teaching and learning.

He noted that the advent of internet has revolutionalized the ICT industry so much so that over seven billion people representing 95% of the world’s population live in an area covered by mobile-cellular network.

This figure, he said was provided by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
He also quoted ICT facts and figures 2016 showing that mobile-broadband of 3G and above reach 84% of the global population while 4G LTE networks have grown to be available to almost 4 billion people thereby enhancing the quality of internet use.

Prof Danbatta also noted that the merging of computing, information, communication and technology has made ICT an important and essential part of every nation’s social infrastructure.

This development has made it possible for institutions to break the barrier of distance and knowledge gap by accessing information and content delivery from the comfort zones of their offices and homes.

Universities globally deploy ICTs in the day-to-day running of their affairs as well as improve, maintain and sustain, through research and development, its efficacy and potency as an enabler of virtually all undertakings.

With these roles of ICT in tertiary education in mind, NCC, according to its Vice-Chairman has licensed several ICT infrastructure companies to provide broadband infrastructure and opened up other spectrum resources to support broadband deployment for the 3G and 4G networks.

This has made Nigeria’s broadband penetration to stand at 20.95 per cent as at the end of 2016 according to the UNESCO Broadband Commission.

Worthy of note is that NCC had intervened in tertiary institutes and educational services in the areas such as, provision of broadband infrastructure, designing of access programmes aimed at promoting ICTs usage in unserved and underserved  communities, provision of CBT centres in various institutions and locations across the country for ease of JAMB- organized examinations, and others.

To effectively access these benefits inherent in ICTs, the 46th convocation lecturer charged tertiary institutions to drive the ICT in close collaborations with the private and public sector, regretting that Nigeria was far behind other countries in ICT infrastructural development.

He, however, posited that institutions must imbibe ICT as a culture if they could maximize its potentials, stating that “an ICT culture akin to the political culture must be developed and academic institution such as the University of Nigeria is positioned to serve as technological incubator”.

Prof Danbatta, therefore, tasked universities and educational institutions which had already benefitted from NCC intervention to take a clue from America and Europe where ICT has penetrated to all spheres of life, such as, e-medicine, e-commerce, e-banking, e-learning, etc.  


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