The director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi recently bestowed laptops upon the top 10 learners of the NITDA-Coursera training programme, Cohort 2, who were the first to successfully complete their professional certification.
During the November edition of the NITDA-Coursera familiarisation webinar, Abdullahi, represented by the acting director of the digital literacy and capacity building department, Dr. Amina Sambo-Magaji commended the beneficiaries for surpassing expectations, creatively utilising the knowledge acquired during the training and delivering outstanding performances.
Abdullahi explained that the promise of awarding laptops to winners aimed to stimulate healthy competition among the trainees, encouraging them to think creatively and perform optimally in their areas of interest. He noted that after assessing the results of the first batch of trainees, which were less satisfactory, they brainstormed various options to increase the competition rate and the concept of awarding laptops proved to be an effective strategy.
The director-general also emphasized the dual impact of providing laptops. Not only would it motivate the learners, but it would also serve as a tool for employment, facilitating the application of their acquired skills in their respective fields.
Abdullahi stressed that Nigeria’s youthful population remains one of the country’s key competitive advantages, and it should be explored to achieve the Federal Government’s goal of making Nigeria a global talent hub. To harness this potential, NITDA is undertaking numerous capacity-building initiatives to provide Nigerians with access to global on-demand skills.
He revealed that most of the beneficiaries had completed their professional certifications in cybersecurity, data analytics and digital marketing.
While presenting laptops to the 10 outstanding learners, the director-general encouraged them to continue bridging the digital gap and developing indigenous solutions with a global impact. He emphasised that their contributions to the tech ecosystem would drive growth in the industry, advance the nation’s digital economy, and improve their general well-being.
Several of the beneficiaries shared their success stories and expressed gratitude to NITDA-Coursera for providing them with the opportunity to learn on the platform. They pledged to use their transformative experiences to make a meaningful impact in their chosen fields and pass on their knowledge to others.
The assistant director of digital literacy and capacity building department at NITDA, Dr. Ahmad Tambuwal provided an overview of the NITDA-Coursera scholarship programme. He explained that Coursera is one of the world’s top online learning platforms, offering thousands of courses from renowned universities and tech companies.
Tambuwal stated that NITDA established a three-year learning partnership with Coursera, effective from October 19, 2022, to achieve its One Million Developer and Skills target. The partnership is structured into six cohorts, with learners in each cohort receiving full access to Coursera licenses for self-learning and professional development over a six-month duration.
He noted that NITDA organises monthly webinars to give learners direct access to Coursera and NITDA support teams, fostering interaction, networking, Q&A sessions and guest lectures. The agency also implements a license management policy to ensure the full utilization of available licenses. Unused licenses are revoked and reallocated.
Tambuwal revealed that the first set of 4000 learners from Cohort 1 had already graduated and Cohort 2 learners were set to graduate at the end of December 2023.
The hybrid event, which saw more than 500 participants joining the webinar, also included a presentation by the Coursera representative and host, Khaled Kokhon on how the NITDA-Coursera platform operates.
The NITDA-Coursera partnership aims to empower 24,000 Nigerians with digital and developer skills in three years, provide job-ready skills to Nigerian citizens, create a large pool of IT talents for local and global markets, promote innovation and support startups in developing IT knowledge and skills required to build real-life solutions.
It’s worth noting that since the start of Cohort 2 in June 2023, learners have spent over 10,000 hours learning on Coursera every month, with July witnessing over 20,000 learning hours. A total of 12,664 courses have been completed by the learners since the program’s inception.