22 BUSINESS DAY BDTECH E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tuesday 10 April 2018 Microsoft 4Afrika makes headway in drive for innovation …Charts progress in promotion of digital skills in Nigeria, Africa Stories by JUMOKE AKIYODE-LAWANSON Five years after the launch of its 4Afrika in initiative, Microsoft prides itself in being an innovation enabler across the African continent having been able to successfully develop affordable access to the internet, promote digital skills and create an environment that enables start-up success. To give insight on the progress of the initiative after five years, Amrote Abdella, regional director, 4Afrika and Akin Banuso, country manager, Microsoft Nigeria, hosted a showcase event for the media in Lagos on, April 4, 2018. They shared details around the history and impact of the initiative in the region, as well as broader insights on how Nigeria is progressing in terms of its digital transformation. According to Banuso, the 4Afrika initiative is apt, in response to digital transformation which has accelerated and has created very high opportunities in Nigeria. “Nigeria is an important innovation hub – one which is largely influencing the digital transformation of West Africa,” says Abdella. “As technology becomes a larger part of our lives, businesses and industries, it’s essential to ensure meaningful and inclusive adop- L-R: Yemi Orimolade; Communications Lead, Microsoft Nigeria, Amrote Abdella; Regional Director, Microsoft 4Afrika, and Akin Banuso; Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, at a press briefing to highlight the five year achievement of the 4Afrika initiative. The event was held at the Microsoft office in Victoria Island, Lagos. tion. This can only be achieved by ensuring that youth, entrepreneurs and governments have affordable access to the internet, relevant digital skills and opportunities for innovation. Our three-pronged approach is empowering every person and organisation to take advantage of the technological age.” Investing in start-ups In partnership with the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), 4Afrika is supporting entrepreneurs in the TEF Entrepreneurship Program in Nigeria and across the continent. This support includes providing access to cloud-based software, new markets, technical and business training, and 1:1 mentorship. Start-ups in the program can also apply to receive certified interns, who spend up to six months assisting with day-to-day operations. The initiative has also partnered with local innovation hubs, accelerators and SME enablers – including AfriLabs, DEMO Africa and Seedstars – to offer support and training, and identify high potential start-ups for investment. Some of the Nigerian start-ups 4Afrika has invested in include Gamsole, MyMusic and Space- Pointe. Investing in skills Microsoft 4Afrika says it has launched two AppFactories – or Apprenticeship Factories – in Nigeria, in partnership with local partners Lotus Beta Analytics and Sidmach Technologies Limited. The AppFactory equips ICT graduates with in-demand skills and experience in designing and deploying modern software solutions, turning them into highly sought after software engineers. There are currently 16 AppFactories across the continent – including in Ghana, Egypt, Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa, Malawi, Kenya, Ethiopia and Mauritius – which have secured full-time employment for 85 percent of its graduates. Investing in public-private partnerships The 4Afrika Open4Business program recently launched in Nigeria, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (MITI). MITI is working with Microsoft to digitally transform the delivery of services to Nigeria’s investor community. MITI are vested in reducing the complexity, time and cost of complying with business governance and regulations, creating a more agile and investment-friendly environment and accelerating the pace of job creation. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOW- AS) and the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) have also formed strategic partnerships with 4Afrika, to develop access, innovation and skills in its member states. 4Afrika works closely with these two organisations, empowering them to create policies and regulations that promote ICT growth. “These are the kind of innovations that will let us leapfrog old infrastructure concerns and accelerate digital transformation,” Banuso says. He adds that the initiative is currently working with Andela on its learning community, to train 500 people and is aiming to equip even more people with digital skills. Since 2013, 4Afrika has established 15 TV white spaces connectivity projects in six African countries, reached 1.7 million SMEs, brought 500,000 SMEs online, trained over half a million Africans and supported hundreds of local start-ups, enabling them to secure $5.1 million in reciprocal funding. ISPON charges Nigeria to tap into 4th industrial revolution with local content The institute of software practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) has called on the federal government to invest in human capital and skill in order for Nigeria to participate in the fourth industrial revolution by leapfrogging in digital transformation to meet up with already developed nations. Speaking at the 2018 ISPON president dinner in Lagos as the weekend, James Emadoye, President, ISPON said; “we don’t need Bill gates to tell us that we need to invest in our human capital, we have the people and the skill and we know that we should start helping our people to grow by encouraging local content. “Software is key, as technology is taking over everything and that is why today we are talking about things like Artificial Intelligence, Block chain and cloud computing. We need an act that will allow only citizens to develop software so that Nigeria can benefit from the fourth industrial revelation,” Emadoye said. Charles Uwadia, President/Chairman in Council of the Computer Professionals (Registration Council of Nigeria) (CPN), who also spoke at the event referred to the fact that the implementation of the local content policy is vitally important to the digital enhancement of the country. “If we do not implement the local content policy and ensure that we start patronising our local software developers so that our money is spent to develop our country, then we will continue to have brain drain in the country,” Uwadia said. On growing the software industry, the experts present at the event discussed issues sounding Nigeria’s technology industry, emphasising the need for development by embracing local technology and the importance of data to work with and record keeping. They are of the view that Nigeria may not meet the target to achieve digital transformation even in the next 20 years if there is no data to work with. The experts identified software as the main domain of technology, saying that if the potentials in Nigeria’s software industry are well harnessed, the economy will experience a boost, as the ICT industry will contribute much more than the 12.5 percent it currently contributes to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). “It is like running around in circles if we don’t have data as to how many software developers we produce each year, what existing softwares we already produce in country, and the records of progression. Let us take software seriously because it is James Emadoye, President, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) the only way that Nigeria can be classified as a developed nation,” Ahmed Ojikutu, President, CAPDAN – Computer Village Lagos, said. The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) who was represented by Haru Alhassan, Director new media and information security, NCC, challenged ISPON to showcase Nigeria’s software solutions to the world. He said that although we cannot predict the future, Nigeria must be ready to respond to the global revolution. Delivering his address, Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communication assured that the software industry will be treated with high priority. “There are several local software providers doing well but as a whole the software industry needs to move faster than it is doing at present. Because of the opportunities offered by software, Nigeria will aspire to become a global player in the creative high value end of ICT – the software industry will be treated as national priority,” Shittu promised. On the strides taken towards the actualisation of the Executive order No.s 003 and 005 as well as the advancement of the indigenous software industry, National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) says it intends to review upwards the 40 percent local software vendors to at least 60 percent. “We are in line with the federal government directive that all government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) make use of local content and with this, there will soon be a winding down in patronage of foreign software. NOTAP also intends to create a database for all software, in line with the executive orders,” Dan Azumi Mohammed Ibrahim, Director General, NOTAP, who was represented by Taiwo Ojo, said in his speech. During the Annual ISPON President Dinner 2018, Fellowships were conferred upon captains of the industry including; Liyel Imoke, former Governor of Cross River State, John Obaro, CEO of Systemspecs, Pius Okigbo, immediate past president of ISPON and Chris Uwaje, CEO, Mobile Software Solutions.
Tuesday 10 April 2018 BUSINESS DAY 23 EDUCATION Weekly insight on current and future trends in education Primary/Secondary Higher Human Capital Parents, students to heave sigh of relief as cloud-based e-books platform launches STEPHEN ONYEKWELU ‘ Mummy, I find it difficult to understand what our mathematics teacher teaches in class. She is too fast and I find it difficult to follow, I would really like to learn at my own pace’ 15-year-old Ramat told her Mum. Ramat’s mother has been particularly worried that her daughter’s interest in mathematics might begin to wane because Ramat’s performance has taken a dip and she does not know where to turn to or how to find help her daughter. This is the situation of many parents, who find that it is tough to curate appropriate textbooks or locate tutors who can help improve their children’s performance in school. Technology is changing the way people live, love, learn and work but the educational sector lags behind. With the launch of www.AfricLearn.com, this is about to change. AfricLearn is a cloud based e-book and digital learning management system solution driven by a vibrant and innovative company which applies cutting edge technology to, e-book content distribution, schools and other education settings. AfricLearn is underpinned by a flexible digital technology which enables e-books and contents to be easily aligned with the requirements of individual readers, teaching establishments and various curriculums. It provides access for publishers of Educational and Non Educational (Fiction & Non Fiction) e-books to distribute and sell their books digitally via a secured platform with a piracy protected DRM technology. “Nigeria and Africa stand to benefit a lot from this because it is not just a technology solution but one that is aligned with curriculum. AfricLearn is the first solution that is bringing content that is flexible enough, for students, teachers, and school frameworks. It allows government to know in which areas they need to intervene” Femi Sanusi, Chief Executive Officer of AfricLearn said in an interview. “AfricLearn is cloud-based and this makes it very flexible. It is a bring Bring Your Device Pedagogy (BYDP), it means you don’t have to install any hardware. If you have a mobile phone, a PC, tablet; all you need to do is login and access the AfricLearn platform on the go” Sanusi said. AfricLearn’s e-books and educational textbook resources can be accessed by users across the following types of personal devices: iPhone and iPads via IOS reader apps, smartphone and tablets via android reader apps, laptops and Windows PC via browser and web access including reader app for windows PC to enable offline activities. Users no longer need to buy customised tablets in order to access e-books or educational textbooks or contents, they can now use their personal devices to access their purchased books which comes with a bank of assessment exam questions. TESCOM trains 4000 public school teachers in Ogun on ICT RAZAQ AYINLA, Abeokuta Over 4000 Teachers across Ogun state’s Public Secondary Schools have been trained on rudimentary knowledge of computer and its usage, towards preparing them ahead of their Computer- Based Test Promotion Examinations. Speaking at the training workshop, with the theme; “Towards Progressive Evaluation System”, held at the Southwest Resource Centre, Abeokuta, the Chairman, Teaching Service Commission, (TESCOM), Olabosipo Ogunsan, said the training became imperative, in order to integrate the participants into the latest trends in Information Communication Technology (ICT). She noted that the exercise which was taking place simultaneously in Ijebu-Ode, Sagamu, Ilaro and Ifo in batches of morning and afternoon sessions, would equip the teachers for effective service delivery. “The government of Ogun state has indicated its willingness to introduce Computer Base Test (CBT), for promotion exercises throughout the state, for GL 06-10, with effect from the 2016 promotion exercise. The Commission has put this programme together to prepare and integrate the Secondary Schools workforce into the new order of conducting promotion through Computer Base Test’’, she said. The TESCOM boss underscored the essence of the training, which covered; basic techniques of computer, the effective use of computer for communication, use of computer to answer questions during promotion examination and other vital purposes of life, which would enable them move with the global trend. This would ride on Nigeria’s growing internet penetration, which increased to 98,391,456 in 2017; meaning 50.2 percent of Nigeria populations is now online, this is a 49,096 percent increased according to internet world statistics. Nigeria is ranked tops in terms of social media usage with over 17 million users and the 2nd most-active Twitter users on the continent. “The technology itself is not transformative. It’s the school, the pedagogy, the policy, the parents, the buying power, the teachers, the community involvement that is transformative” Elvis Boniface, Chief Education Officer of Edugist, an educational advocacy company said. Responding, Timothy Adebowale, the Full Time Commissioner l of the Commission, who also doubles as the training coordinator, said the exercise was aimed at imparting basic computer knowledge that would equip and update participants for better performance. Appreciating the state government for organising the training, Adesola Ayefele and Kehinde Afuye, on behalf of other participants, said it would enrich and prepare them for the task ahead, they pledged to make judicious use of knowledge acquired for the benefit of their respective schools. UI staff, students to meet today over increase in accommodation fees AKINREMI FEYISIPO, Ibadan The University of Ibadan Institution Senate/Parents Management Consultative forum has scheduled a meeting with staff, students and parents on the rationale behind the slight accommodation adjustment for Tuesday March 10. The Senate of the institution has recommended increment for hostel accommodation fee from N14, 000 to N30,000 for main campus and N40,000 for College Of Medicine commencing from the 2017/2018 session. The Premier Institution said that it currently spends about N100million every year over what is collected in running the hostel accommodation which it says was no longer sustainable. It was gathered that while students currently pay N14,000 per bed-space, the partial economic rate per bedspace as at 2012 survey conducted by the institution was put at N59,650 per session. The Senate also approved slight increment in chargeable fees for laboratory and studio (Arts (N5,000) maintenance fees; fees for professional health training (non-clinical (N75,000) & clinical N100,000); Pharmacy practice experience levy (N5,000), and Science laboratory levy (N7,500); Faculties of Agriculture (N5,000 to N7500), and Renewable Natural Resources upward review of the Practical Year levy (N15,000 to N17,500) for those in practical year while other students are to pay the old levy; ITeMS upward review of access fee for undergraduates (from N2,000 to N2,500) for improve internet access on campus. However, fees payable by students in the Faculties of the Social Sciences, Law, Sciences, and Technology have not been adjusted for the coming session. Idowu Olayinka, the Vice Chancellor, had earlier stated that the Premier University “is at a point where it is difficult to continue to subsidise the running of the Halls of Residence and carry out some academic functions without a slight adjustment in accommodation charges and in some fee items payable by students in some faculties.” In adjusting the fees, the VC urged the public to note that it is only the increase in accommodation fees that cuts across students who desire to stay in the Halls of Residence while adding that that “residency in the Halls of Residence is optional, and only about 30 percent of our students can find accommodation in the Halls of Residence.” “It is also important to note that the Federal Government, many years back, had stopped providing funds for the running of the Halls. As a result, the University spends about 100 Million Naira over what is collected as accommodation fees, for the running of the Halls.