By Balarabe Oshiafi
The Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE has presented laptops to top ten learners of the cohort 2 NITDA-COURSERA Training Programme who were the first to successfully complete their professional certification.
The DG made the presentation during the November edition of the NITDA-COURSERA familiarisation webinar, this newspaper learnt..
Represented by the Acting Director, Digital Literacy and Capacity Building Department, Dr Amina Sambo- Magaji, the Director-General congratulated the beneficiaries and commended them for surpassing expectations, creatively utilising the knowledge gained during the training and performing excellently.
Inuwa who noted that the promise of giving laptops as prizes to winners was to encourage healthy competition among the trainees for them to think outside the box and perform optimally in their respective areas of interest, especially as the outcome of the first batch of trainees wasn’t quite satisfactory, expressed satisfaction at the innovative ideas birthed by the learners.
“After our first batch, we realised that the competition rate was not very encouraging, so, we looked at different options, brainstormed on possible best option to increase the competition rate and one of them was the concept of giving the laptops which eventually paid off as there were timely and tangible results gotten from learners.”
“Also, we know that having a laptop will support you in actually using it as a tool for job, so, it was more of a double impact”, the DG stated.
The NITDA Boss reiterated the fact that the youthful population of the country remains one of the key competitive advantages over other nations and as such should be explored and exploited to achieve the Federal Government’s quest of making Nigeria the global talent hub.
“For us to be able to harness the potential of that competitive advantage we have in our youthful population, that is why we are undertaking a number of capacity building initiatives to make sure that Nigerians have access to the global on-demand skills”, Inuwa maintained.
According to Inuwa “most of the beneficiaries completed their professional certification in Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, and Digital Marketing”.
While presenting the laptops to the ten outstanding learners who completed their NITDA-Coursera courses, the DG encouraged them not to relent in their efforts to bridge the digital gap and come up with indigenous solutions that have global impact, adding that their expected contributions to the tech ecosystem will trigger the needed growth in the industry, the Nation’s digital economy as well as their general well-being.
Some of the beneficiaries who shared their success stories, thanked NITDA-Coursera for affording them the opportunity to learn on the platform.
They assured the organisers that they will most definitely use the transformative experience to impact on their chosen fields as well as contribute their quota by passing on the knowledge to others.
Earlier, the Assistant Director, Digital Literacy and Capacity Building Department, NITDA, Dr. Ahmad Yusuf Tambuwal while giving an overview of the NITDA-COURSERA Scholarship Programme said Coursera is one of the world’s top online learning platforms hosting thousands of courses from some of the world’s best universities and tech companies.
According to Tambuwal, “In its effort to achieve its One Million Developer and Skills target, NITDA established a 3-year learning partnership with Coursera with effect from 19 October 2022”, stressing that the partnership is designed to be implemented in six (6) Cohorts: (Cohort 1 – Cohort 6).
“Learners in each Cohort will receive full access Coursera licenses for self-learning and professional development over a six (6) months duration and every 6 months, at least 4000 learners are graduated from the programme while a new set of learners are onboarded and invited to join the platform”.
“NITDA organises monthly webinars to give learners direct access to Coursera and NITDA support teams, interaction and networking, Q&A, guest lectures etc.”, Tambuwal noted.
NITDA, he explained further, implements a license management policy to ensure full utilisation of available licenses.
“If a license is not being utilised, several reminder emails are sent to the learner, and if still not being used, it is eventually revoked & re-allocated”.
“So far, the first set of 4000 learners In Cohort 1 have already graduated, and Cohort 2 learners will be graduating at the end of December 2023”, Dr Tambuwal added.
The hybrid event which witnessed over 500 participants joining the webinar also featured a brief on how the NITDA-COURSERA platform works by the Coursera representative and host, Khaled Kokhon.
The NITDA-Cousera partnership is aimed at achieving some key objectives which include: empowering twenty-four thousand (24,000) Nigerians with digital & developer skills in 3 years, empowering Nigerian citizens with job-ready skills and create a large pool of IT talents for the local and global markets, fostering innovation and supporting start-ups with IT knowledge & skills needed to build real-life solutions.
It is worthy to also mention that since the start of Cohort 2 in June 2023, learners have spent over 10,000 hours learning on Coursera every month as July witnessed over 20,000 learning hours.
So far, 12,664 Courses have been completed by the learners since the programme started.