The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) says it will partner a non-governmental organization, Aid for Rural Education and Access Initiative (AREAI) in making digital innovation available to rural community dwellers.
The NITDA director-general, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi made this known when he received the AREAI chief executive director, Prince Gideon Olarewaju, who led a delegation of the top management of the organization on a courtesy call on the agency, saying the agency’s recently unveiled Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2021-2024) was designed as a template or map to assist the agency achieve the targeted plans through the execution of the strategic pillars.
“SRAP is anchored on 7 strategic pillars, namely, Developmental Regulations, Digital Literacy and Skills, Digital Transformation, Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Cyber Security, Emerging Technologies, and the seventh pillar is the promotion of indigenous content.
“With the mandate and expertise from the Aid for Rural Education and Access Initiative, there is an opportunity for Nigerian youths to position themselves as leaders in terms of ICT and digital economy and digital literacy with skills and innovation,” he said.
The DG explained that NITDA was particularly passionate about four mentioned areas of collaboration, which according to him, are digital literacy and skills, where there was a target of 95 per cent digital literacy in the country by 2030. He said during the lockdown of COVID-19 pandemic, NITDA came up with virtual academy with an enrolment of over sixty thousand online students and beneficiaries.
The agency is now working to upgrade it to a standard mass open online courses platform like Coursera and Edx and is hoping that other related institutions will key into this and start providing skills and certificate courses for our citizenry and even beyond the shores of our country, he stated.
On digital innovation and entrepreneurship, Abdullahi said NITDA was already coming up with something new that would impact knowledge to the rural communities, adding on the local content development, the National Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics had been set up as one of the intervention centers to develop local content and upgrade the skills of Nigerians.
He encouraged the AREAI to take advantage of the facility to identify talents and develop ideas in their areas of interest that would impact on the girl child education’s digital literacy and skills, saying it is a platform that the agency had adopted to change the Nigerian trajectory through training and skill empowerment.
Abdullahi expressed strong conviction that the collaboration of the two agencies would uplift the actualisation of their similar mandates such as indigenous investors and innovation programs among others. He later advised on the constitution of forum for discussions between NITDA and AREAI to come up with working tools to develop the idea into practicable reality.
Earlier, Olarewaju commended the NITDA for the opportunity to showcase their talent most especially in Digi-learn which is one of the smartest ways of impacting knowledge to the rural communities. He expressed hope that the collaboration with NITDA would be a huge advantage to AREAI in harnessing potentials and expertise in bringing more innovation to the rural communities in digital ways.