By Emmanuel Afonne
Abuja – The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) has began virtual lectures and hands-on-laps training for 600 participants through its Africa Centre of Excellence on Technology Enhanced Learning, (ACETEL).
Mr Ambrose Gowong, Communications Officer, ACETEL, in a statement said the training was a partnership between ACETEL-CISCO Academy and the Directorate of Learning Content Management System (DLCMS) of NOUN.
He said NOUN Deputy Vice-Chancellor Administration, Prof. Justus Sokefun, who declared the training open, said the training was part of ACETEL mandate of running short digital courses designed to identify and bridge the digital need in skill-based courses in the society.
Sokefun declared the training open on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abdalla Adamu.
He said the COVID-19 pandemic has now directed the minds of most people to the all encompassing use of technology which all the while was a primary tool at the NOUN.
“Now things are changing with this pandemic; accordingly we need to start developing things our own way. With this training, it is an eye opener that NOUN can do things our own way.
“I am glad with the leadership the vice chancellor has given to the university. He has given us the latitude to explore and express ourselves in our own way, hence about the synergy between ACETEL and CISCO”.
Also speaking, Prof. Grace Jokthan, Director, ACETEL, said the centre has been mandated to run academic programmes, skill-based courses and also a research centre.
“We have about 14 skilled-based courses that the centre intends to run, but the ones we are commencing with today are; IT Essentials, Internet of things and Get started.
“Bulk data, cyber security, open data and so on are also short courses the centre intends to run in due cause.
“Since the ICT spectrum is dynamic, the centre will not be restricted to only these courses mentioned; we will continue to look out for harvest and run trending courses with specific focus on the needs of the environment and society at large.
“The goal of running all these (academic programmes, short courses and research centre) at ACETEL is to be able to produce a pool of digital experts and skill based graduates in software research and development.
“It also provides safe and secure digital environment for the conduct of virtual activities in the university and provides support to other institutions in West Africa to become world class resource centre for e-learning and virtual learning,” Jokthan said.
She added: “We are glad today to have commenced with the short courses training; hopefully by the middle of the year, we will kick start academic activities in artificial intelligence, cyber security and management information systems at both Masters and Ph.D. levels.”
Representative of CISCO Networking Academy, Mr Imoh Akpan, congratulated ACETEL and NOUN for bringing the partnership and training to fruition.
Akpan was quoted as adding that the academy was established to serve as a corporate social responsibility by CISCO, haven seen that ICT was key in achieving digital economy and transformation.
“For the programme, they will be exposed to the length and breadth of technology with skills to job learning experience. This provides you with the foundation you need to survive in the technology space,” he said.
Akpan added that the idea behind the partnership was to collaborate with government, institutions and academy even employers of labour to explore and ensure opportunities for relevant skills for the job of the future.
He assured that CISCO certification would grant job seekers access to employers of labour which should be an added advantage to students.
Dr Adewale Adeshina, Director, Learning Content Management System, NOUN, was quoted as saying that the ACETEL-CISCO networking academy was a collaborative effort between ACETEL and CISCO.
“The thinking behind this partnership and training is to have digital literacy within the population, in and across the country and even beyond especially in the Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Digital literacy is one of the components of being a digital citizen which grants you the ease of doing a lot in our today digitally driven environment; banking, e-learning, e-commerce and so on.
“So there is need to know how to interact with people around the world hence the need to know how to use technology responsibly which forms the basis for citizens to be digitally literate.
“Digital technology helps family and friends to communicate effectively due to the high constraints of today’s world; it also helps in getting jobs and places an individual on an advantage position in today’s world.
“So the ACETEL-CISCO networking programme is a comprehensive e-learning programme that provides students with internet technology skills essential in today’s economy.
“It delivers web-based content, online assessment, students performance tracking, hands-on-laps, instructor training and support, preparation for industry and even standard certification”.
Prof. Samaila Mande, Dean Postgraduate schools, stated that the programme was supposed to be for between 30 to 50 people for a pilot scheme when we advertised for it but it had been oversubscribed.
“As it is now, this is a bumper harvest programme; this tells you the trust people now have in NOUN,” he said.