Key players in Nigeria's technology industry including the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Omatek Computers Ventures Plc, Phase 3 Telecoms and CHAMs Plc are leading the support campaign for the inaugural West Africa e-Learning initiative Conference and Exhibition (WAeLCE).
The event is a technology solution geared towards addressing the shrinking admission spaces in the traditional campus-based learning institutions. The multi-partnerships event to be hosted by the University of Lagos will hold in March with the theme: 'Expanding educational opportunities through ICT.
Organised by Baobab Media, WAeLCE is part of the 'Education for Life Series' of the Pan African media organisation. It is drawing support from multi-levels stakeholders, which include the Accra Institute of Technology (AIT), Ghana; the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); the Federal Ministry of Education, Nigeria; the Ministry of Education, Ghana; United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO); The University of Lagos; and Covenant University.
WAeLCE 2013 is also getting support from major industry players including STBS Group/TrainingSol of Sierra Leone, JKK/ETC, NIGCOMSAT Limited, and Abidjan-based RASCOM.
"WAeLCE is holding inside the University of Lagos to press home the point that technology is needed to re-energise our educational institutions to meet the increasing challenges of education in the 21st century and beyond," the Chairman of Baobab Media, Dr. Sola Afolabi, said.
According to him, part of the mandate at Baobab Media is to raise the level of awareness on what needs to be done to expand the portfolio of growth opportunities in various sectors.
"Education is a critical element of increasing the standard of living on the continent. The increasing gaps in the educational sector where only 28 per cent out of 1.5 million prospective applicants gained admission into Nigerian universities every year can only be closed through deploying technology resource to the education sector," he said.
He explained that WAeLCE 2013 is an all stakeholders event that offers public and private sector players, research and educational institutions, web and other technology providers as well as other stakeholders the opportunity to share and articulate on common future plans.
"We are pleased to be associated with WAeLCE 2013 and glad to provide the hosting venue for the event, convinced that the event offers value to help chart a new and positive direction for the educational sector," said the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Professor Rahman Bello.
Director-General of NITDA, Professor Cleopas Angaye, who expressed support for the event said "NITDA's objectives include increasing opportunities for the citizens across all sectors through IT usage. This event offers a unique opportunity for stakeholders to identify workable means to use technology to address some challenges in our education sector so as to bring learning opportunities to more of our people."
Similarly, CEO of CHAMS, DeMolay Aladekomo, said: "This is an event that showcases a lot of hidden potential to grow an important sector."
In the same vein, Group Managing Director of Omatek Ventures Plc, Mrs. Florence Seriki said the company's support for WAeLCE 2013 is hinged on its existing deliverables as an ICT solution provider.
" Omatek has been promoting eLearning as part of its unique market proposition and sees the event as a veritable platform to further promote its eLearning market theme, WAeLCE 2013 will be drawing participants from across West Africa which forms the thrust of its coverage on its technology to drive Open University theme. "This eLearning event is a very important event and as Africans we need to embrace it. We have to talk about eLearning and see how we can take advantage of it. The aim should be to have as many students from Africa as possible and I think it also reduces the cost on the part of the students to run education giving them the same quality," Seriki said.