The Nigerian government, through the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, has launched a free virtual learning academy as part of efforts to leverage on the digital economy sector.
Launching the academy in a virtual event on Wednesday, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Ibrahim Isa Pantami said the idea was to allow most Nigerians, especially civil servants and others in various sectors to access digital education and skills.
He pointed out that the academy was already enjoying a wide range of enrolment which he placed at over 12,000 enrollees in two weeks.
The Minister said the idea would also bridge the gap between various disadvantaged barriers such as women, girls, the physically challenged and less privileged in the society.
He said the innovation was one of the pillars of enhancing the digital economy sector to further reposition the country and place it on the path to effective ICT development.
Pantani said with the recent outbreak of COVID-19, ICT skills and training had become a necessity, as many services, including governance would be done online.
He said the launching of the academy became necessary because things were already changing across the world as a result of the COVID-19 which has affected 3.1million people and killed 217,000 persons globally and that Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind.
According to him, the Academy will enable the ministry create a pool of trained and skilled youths, encourage continuous learning at home, build, upgrade and integrate our 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 3.1million people having 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 COVID-19 has caused,” he said.
The academy training which is free to interested and prospective candidates 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.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa who described the occasion as historic, said it was the first time a public servant would commission a project virtually in Nigeria.
According to him, the Academy was conceptualised to mitigate the effects of the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The platform is a partnership between NITDA, Microsoft, Oracle, CISCO, Huawei, Harvard University, among others.