COVID-19: NITDA academy admits 14,000 learners


The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has admitted over 14,000 active students into its virtual academy to study 47 courses on emerging technologies.

The Director-General of NITDA, Mr Kashifu Inuwa, disclosed this on Thursday in an online meeting organised by the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON).

The meeting focused on the Socio-Economic and Political Impact of COVID-19 on Telecom and ICT sector in Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the NITDA Virtual Academy was launched in May by Dr Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.

The platform was targeted at helping to engage young citizens to spend their time meaningfully and learn new technologies that will help create and shape the post-COVID era.

Inuwa said inspite the effect of COVID-19 in all sectors, there was hope because the crisis had forced people to change behaviour and adapt to new habits.

“Coronavirus has forced us to change our behaviour and adapt to new habits.

“New trends have emerged, we do everything remotely, working, learning, meeting, workshops, zoom party, e-wedding and so on,” he said.

He also said that NITDA had successfully organised various programmes during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Innovation Challenge.

According to him, the innovation challenge is designed to help with ideas that can contain and cushion the effect of the virus as well as keep the economy up.

“We are working with the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 and Nigerian Centre of Disease Control (NCDC) to identify some of the ideas they think are relevant for them.

“The ideas can be used as a testing ground to help the initiatives by the start-ups develop their ideas into products,” he said.

He added that the challenge had over 2,000 applicants, while five start-ups were selected to pitch at the Open Demo and Prize Giving Day, and three emerged winners.

Abdullahi stressed that it was part of the agency’s initiatives to identify youths with innovative ideas, take them to innovation hubs, incubate and accelerate their ideas into products or services.

He said the agency does that through its Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Support Scheme.

He added that they were working with relevant stakeholders to identify hubs as well as start-ups that can enjoy the initiative.

Commenting on using new technologies in farming, the director-general stated that the Nigerian Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA) would encourage farmers to focus more on digital platforms and precision smart farming.

“To ensure significant improvement in crop yield, quality of farm produce, efficiency and productivity, increased profit margin, we need harvest focus, sales of farm produce and eco-friendly agricultural practice.

“We are working with 150 farmers to start the pilot project, because the agriculture value chain contribute the highest percentage to our Gross Domestic Product.

“With ICT as an enabler, we can help boost its projection,” he added.