As part of efforts to mitigate the impacts of the deadly Coronavirus, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) on Commissioned NITDA Academy Virtual Learning Centre in Abuja.
Pantami said the launching of the academy became necessary because things were already changing across the world as a result of the advent of the COVID-19 which has affected over 3.1 million people and killed over 217,000 persons globally and as such Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind.
He said the Academy will enable the ministry to create a pool of trained and skilled youths; encourage continuous learning at home, build, upgrade and integrate capacity among Nigerians as well as bridge the gap between the academia and the industry.
“This is commendable, looking at the way the Pandemic has started changing the way things are being done globally.
“With over 3.1 million people have contracted the virus globally and 217,000 dead, it has started changing the world completely.
“For the first time we are commissioning a project in Nigeria virtually, this is what CIVID-19 has caused”, the Minister said.
The free academy training which is free comes in three categories and is meant to enable public servants to acquire prerequisite skills they may need to fit into the emerging Post-COVID-19 economy.
It also comes with a pack of various courses that will lead to certification from CISCO, Oracle, Huawei, Havard among others.
Pantami said the ministry is currently working with NITDA, Galaxy Backbone and other relevant agencies to begin the hosting of future Federal Executive Council meetings virtually through the Academy, pending the approval by the President.
“The commissioning of the Academy being unprecedented, we are working to conduct the Federal Executive Council meetings virtually. Particularly, if there is a critical issue the President will GI online and conduct meeting virtually. If that is approved, we will go on to conduct the FEC meetings virtually.
“The ministry, NITDA and Galaxy a Backbone are working and few others are working day in day out to ensure we begin to have our FEC meetings virtually”, he noted.
He further stated that the ministry had directed NITDA to ensure that they build the capacity of more Nigerians, particularly in the area of emerging technologies in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy Pillar No.2.
The Minister, however, challenged NITDA to do more by rigorously implement the new policy to enable them to fit into the emerging digital world.
Similarly, Pantami charged students in secondary schools and institutions of higher learning to leverage the platform provided by the NITDA Academy to acquire more skills, insisting that the era when certificate counts over skills is over.
“I feel there is no better time to utilize this platform to build peoples’ capacity than now. It has so many benefits. I encourage our students to key into this initiative because today, it is no longer about the skills they acquired but about the skills and capacity”, the Minister said.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Director-General of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa described the occasion as historic as it was the first time a public servant would commission a project virtually in Nigeria.
According to him, the Academy was initiated to mitigate against the effects of the lockdown occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic.
While acknowledging the key role played by the partners’ effort in making the project a reality, Inuwa said they at NITDA are promoting digital literacy strategy for the Post-COVID-19 world in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy of President Muhammadu Buhari.