Empowering youth through literacy and digital skills, by Zeenat O. Sambo

With many courses in Nigerian universities becoming less marketable in the world of work and students lacking employable skills when seeking opportunities, acquiring digital skills is the right direction for achieving digital inclusion. For personal growth and access to job opportunities in local and international tech ecosystems, students need to migrate to online study platforms and pursue their educational aspirations.

Recently, the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Mallam Isa Pantami, announced that the federal government had signed partnership agreements with tech giants, Huawei and Cisco, to establish 300 academies in Nigeria and train 30 000 citizens with advanced information and communication technologies (ICT).

This milestone re-emphasized the ministry’s scope to promote the acquisition of digital literacy and skills among young people as a strategy to advance its digital economy agenda through partnerships with various global technology companies.

Speaking at the Cisco Safari 2022 International Conference hosted by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in collaboration with Cisco, the minister unveiled the agency’s partnership with Microsoft to train around five million people with ICT skills, especially in the field of artificial intelligence (AI).

While discussing the theme “Digital Skills in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the Impact on National Development”, Pantami noted that digital skills and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) were highlighted as pillars of the country. National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).

By updating the NDEPS for Digital Nigeria 2020-2030, which was unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 28, 2019, the conference captured the agenda of developing digital skills and literacy and improving society. digital, as being crucial to enable emerging technologies. .

The signing of these agreements comes at a good time as Nigerian students are affected by the prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). As such, Huawei and Cisco’s digital skills programs will provide them with a new path to participate in the global business arena. .

The University Academic Staff Union (ASUU) launched a strike in February, demanding that the government invest in the provision of university infrastructure and pay the salaries of its members through the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) system developed by the Nigerians.

With the strike spanning five months, many students and young people were stranded at home without professional skills and at risk of negative influences with disastrous consequences.

Announcement TEXEM

With many courses in Nigerian universities becoming less marketable in the world of work and students lacking employable skills when seeking opportunities, acquiring digital skills is the right direction for achieving digital inclusion. For personal growth and access to job opportunities in local and international tech ecosystems, students need to migrate to online study platforms and pursue their educational aspirations.

Cisco Systems, Inc., commonly known as Cisco, is an American multinational technology conglomerate founded in 1984. Cisco develops, manufactures and sells networking hardware, software, telecommunications equipment and other high-tech services and products.

Known for its expertise in specific technology markets such as the Internet of Things (IoT), domain security, video conferencing and energy management, Cisco ranks 63rd out of Fortune 100 companies, with a number of $49 billion business and it’s a brand with a global presence. reputation in the field of skills development and training.

Likewise, Huawei is one of the world’s leading ICT infrastructure providers through the organization’s platform and ecosystem development technique, and its new ICT infrastructure highlighting the “Cloud- Pipe-Device”.

With its driving ability advancement system and certification guidelines, Huawei certification includes three categories: ICT infrastructure certification, platform and service certification, and ICT vertical certification.

As part of its goal to develop new ICT experts in the digital age and create a healthy ICT talent ecosystem, Huawei Certification has over time earned a reputation through its digital network “CloudCampus” which has been implemented on campuses around the world to bring scholars and institutions closer to safer and faster network operations that save time, resources and investment.

According to research by Tolly Group, the Huawei platform offers intelligent operations and management (O&M) and provides more AI-enabled services, and ensures optimal service and user experience with automated network management throughout. throughout its life cycle, including planning, deployment, maintenance and optimization.

Courses offered include Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, Grid Energy, Finance, Business Communication and many other digital skills to engage young Nigerians during the ASUU strike .

Others include medicine and health, poverty alleviation and agricultural development, trade promotion, investment promotion, digital innovation, green development, capacity building, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, as well as peace and security.

It will be recalled that at the beginning of the year, the federal government and Huawei had officially started the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide ICT skills to young people. The MoU signed the establishment of two grassroots ICT projects in Nigeria: the Huawei ICT Academy project and the Huawei ICT Talent Cultivation project for the development of the digital economy in Nigeria.

It is estimated that this partnership will lead to the development of over 300 ICT institutes in top universities, polytechnics and colleges in Nigeria. At least 10,000 university students from universities will be trained each year, with a total of 30,000 students in three years. This would include training, competitions and other activities related to the operation of the ICT Academy.

Under the MoU, Huawei, Microsoft and Cisco are expected to make their technology and trainers available to help reduce the unemployment rate in Nigeria by providing students with experience, opportunities, jobs and certifications each year. ICT in order to increase their market flow.

With the MoU targeting 100,000 Nigerians, Microsoft training around five million young people and Cisco training around 30,000 Nigerians, it is believed that digital literacy and skills can soon turn into digital economic growth.

Among other empowering factors, the Federal Government’s initiative will provide an enabling environment for international companies to invest and do business in Nigeria and help multiply the number of innovative technology-driven companies with digital skills to boosting Nigeria’s digital economy.

For the sustainability of these digital academies and the successful development of market-creating and innovation-driven indigenous businesses, NITDA should intensify the engagement of higher education institutions, relevant public organizations and ecosystem players. technology to help integrate students and young creatives into the world of technology. to improve Nigeria’s economic prosperity.

Zeenat O. Sambo writes from Abuja.


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