This Day (Lagos)

6 December 2012

Nigeria: Adopt Local Content Approach On ICT Education, FG Told

The Federal Government of Nigeria has been called upon to inculcate local content creation into the curriculum of educational institutions in the country to further develop the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector to meet global standard and best practice.

The call was made by stakeholders at a three-day conference on e- Nigeria , organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in Abuja .

According to a communiqué made available to THISDAY, stakeholders who gathered at the event stated that educational institutions including the primary, secondary and tertiary institutions must study IT education as a compulsory course.

They opined that local ICT companies also have to be encouraged to compete internationally through various proactive measures, such as reduction in the importation of software and hardware into the country.

With the theme, 'Local Content in ICT Development in Nigeria ', a call was made for it to be sustained in subsequent editions until 50 per cent local content is achieved in the sector. The stakeholders further recommended that NITDA should focus on intense research towards achieving the vision of local content.

Pointing out that Nigerians were yet to leverage on the country's existing ICT infrastructure to bring about the desired transformation, the forum also urged the government to bridge the wide gap between monitoring and evaluation of ICT projects.

The forum regretted that Nigeria has not done much on the protection of intellectual property, which it said is necessary for the promotion of innovation, noting that the huge potential for ICT local content development must be leveraged upon to grow the Nigerian economy.

They stated that with ICT lies the potential to create jobs for the unemployed youths, boost food security, create export opportunities for the country and enhance national security amongst others.

According to the stakeholders, indigenous hardware and software manufacturers should commence the development of workstations for forensic technology works, even as they recommended that organising the annual software competition for students should be collaboratively handled by ISPON, NITDA, Computer Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN) Nigerian Computer Society (NCS) and the National Mathematical Centre (NMC).

The conferencewas organised to examine and proffer appropriate strategies that would enhance the Nigerian content in IT products and services and developing requisite framework for empowering indigenous IT entrepreneurs in order to contribute to Nigeria 's GDP.

It was meant to develop a framework for providing critical employment through outsourcing and other digital opportunity windows, examining challenges or factors militating against IT local content development in the country, and developing strategies for leveraging on technology transfer.

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