The Federal Government has said that it is championing a paradigm shift that lays emphasis on skills, in preference to merely having degrees without skills as degrees are only meant to validate skills.
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) stated this at the official launch of the Digital Nigeria Portal and Mobile App in Abuja on Monday.
He said that the launch which was towards the implementation of the Digital Literacy and Skills Pillar No. 2 is a follow up to the President Buhari’s flagging off of the Digital Nigeria Programme on the 19th of March 2020 to support Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Training for Nigerians.
The minister said that the Digital Nigeria Programme will provide a national platform for improving the digital literacy of Nigerians as well as enable Nigerians from all walks of life to acquire high-level digital skills.
“It will have a strong emphasis on Skills for Jobs and will include Nigerians in all strata of society, such as youth, women, children, internally displaced persons, people living with disabilities, etc,” Pantami assured.
Pantami, who described this paradigm shift as a growing trend across the globe, made reference to a country like China who recently started the process of turning 600 of the country’s general universities into skill centres.
“Also, the President of the United States of America signed an Executive Order on the 26th of June 2020 directing the federal government lay emphasis on skills rather than degrees when hiring staff,” he said.
The minister noted that the curriculum vitae of today should have two main parts- soft skills and hard skills.
“The digital literacy and skills pillar recognises the fact that citizens are the greatest assets in any economy, including the digital economy. It will support the development of a large pool of digitally literate and digitally skilled citizens.
“We recently provided a platform to support the Digital Nigeria program, enabling Nigerians to receive training in diverse digital skills.
“As part of these efforts, I earlier launched another online academy executed by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). Over 40,000 Nigerians have enrolled across both platforms since the 2nd of April, 2020.
“Today, we are formally launching the www.digitalnigeria.gov.ng portal and the ‘Digital Nigeria’ Mobile App. We are committed to enabling Nigerians to acquire high-level digital skills from the comfort of their homes,” he said.
Pantami said some of the objectives for launching these platforms are:
-To empower innovators and entrepreneurs with skills required to thrive in Nigeria’s emerging digital economy;
-To provide capacity building in a wide range of areas, including Digital Literacy, Productivity Tools, Web Development, Cloud Computing, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Database Administration, Networking, Programming, Internet of Things and Soft Skills;
-To create a platform to support a paradigm shift from degrees to skills and bridge the gap between the academia and industry;
-To promote the development and distribution of instructional materials in electronic format; and
– To create an enabling environment for building the capacity of Innovation Driven Enterprises (IDEs) and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through e-learning channels.
He stated that the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy emphasizes the importance of partnerships as a key requirement for the successful development of the country’s National Digital Economy.
He expressed the country’s delight for partnering with the African Development Bank and Microsoft on this very important initiative.
He said that Nigeria has recorded a number of unprecedented achievements since it began implementing NDEPS, including resolution of the lingering issues of excessive Right of Way charges and vandalism of telecommunication infrastructure; and rapid broadband penetration, with an increase by about 10% in 11 months, instead of the average annual increase of about 1.7%.
Some other achievements recorded since the commencement of implementation of NDEPS also include the development and swift implementation of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP); a significant increase in the contribution of ICT to the GDP based on the Q2 2020 GDP – 17.83% – as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics; and the promotion of digital services in government, including Virtual Federal Executive Council meetings among many others.
DigitalTimesNG understands that the training content covers areas like Digital Skills, Productivity Tools, Web Development, Cloud Computing, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Database Administration, Networking, Programming and Internet of Things.
There is also training on soft skills like entrepreneurship, research, marketing, business and how to create excellent resumes, allowing a wide spectrum of users, from beginners to advanced students, to access appropriate courses.
The minister assured that the platform will regularly be updated to include more courses from time to time as this would enhance the identification of skilled Nigerians for additional capacity-building opportunities and “allow us to easily conduct surveys to identify courses of interest.”
Pantami reiterated the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy’s commitment to developing the capacity of Nigerians to use technology to solve problems.
“We will keep updating the course offerings to reflect global trends. The step by step procedure for using the platforms will be available on our website and social media pages.
“The Digital Nigeria programme will provide a platform to empower Nigerians to develop relevant skills and build innovative solutions to address challenges within our community,” the minister said.