By Juliet Umeh
As COVID-19 pandemic is fast forwarding the fourth industrial revolution globally and for Nigeria not to be left behind, the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi has urged academia to increase the level of preparedness for students and develop their capacity especially in the area of emerging technology.
Abdullahi made the call while receiving Vice Chancellor, Sule Lamido University, Duste, Jigawa State, Prof Lawal Sani Taura, who led the management staff of the Institution to the NITDA Corporate Headquarter to seek for the Agency’s interventions.
He said taking the step would help the country reposition itself for the emerging 4th industrial revolution which most countries of the world are preparing for, which is to be driven by emerging technologies.
The NITDA boss said: “We need to look at the educational sector and focus more on skills and research that can be used to develop the economy. People should not see education as the end but means to the end.
“We need to look for ways to disabuse people’s mind on paper qualification and inculcate in them those skills required for the imminent industrial revolution and also focus more on science and technology,” he added.
While citing a scholarly research from Microsoft, Abdullahi noted that by 2030, 800 million jobs would be lost unless people up-skill and re-skill and 149 million new jobs would be created through Artificial Intelligence and other emerging technologies.
Abdullahi who was fascinated about the progress the school has made to include agriculture, Information and Communication Technology, Innovations and Entrepreneurship in its programmes, said he saw potentials that can facilitate the nation’s drive to digital economy in those courses.
He said: “We are already in partnership with the Jigawa state government on digital transformation and smart initiatives. We can also partner with you to do some research for us on how we can enhance these projects we are doing.”
While noting the place of Jigawa state in its agricultural contribution’s to the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, of the country, he stated that with the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture, NAVSA, the Agency and University will have a lot to do together.
Earlier in his remarks, the Vice Chancellor of Sule Lamido University, Taura, made case for the Agency to support the institutions with some interventions, saying that the introduction of new programmes in the school is imperative now it is planning to commence on 2020/2021.
The VC said: “We are introducing new courses. We need these interventions and any other gesture we can get from the Agency would be appreciated.
While appreciating the DG and the NITDA management staff for the donation of 120 computers to the school, Taura advised the DG to continue in the same direction he started as people outside are saying good of him.