By Abdullateef Jos
The Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) says the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) will benefit from its education grants for tertiary institutions in the country.
Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC gave the assurance in Abuja on Thursday when a delegation from NOUN visited him in his office to explore ways of collaborating with the commission.
Mr Ephraim Nwokenneya, Director, Research and Development, NCC, who represented the Executive Vice Chairman, said the grants were part of the commission’s strategy to encourage Nigerian students in their studies.
He said about 11 universities from various parts of the country would benefit from the education research grants.
“Even though there are researchers in those universities who are conducting the research, the grants are given to the universities so that they can be able to moderate what happens.
“It underscores the current focus of NCC which is setting up framework to collaborate with the academia and seeing how we can deepen growth in the industry.
“NOUN is going to tap from the rich knowledge resource the commission has on ICT, they will also get possible research grants on some issues that will be of mutual benefit to NCC and NOUN as well as the Nigerian public.
“This is because the commission recognises the need that we can deepen growth, facilitate innovations in the industry through research and because there are a lot of resources that abound in tertiary institutions in the country.
“So, what we have done is to facilitate research with the academia. We have received a lot of proposals from the universities; we have evaluated and selected for grants those that are of paramount interest to our current focus.
“Each of those research proposals has got a prototype from which we can work to commercialise them for the benefit of the industry,” Danbatta said.
NOUN Vice Chancellor, Prof. Abdalla Adamu, who was represented by Prof. Nebath Tanglang, said the university was working to enhance learning through Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
This, the VC said, would be achieved through the World Bank funded African Centre of Excellence and Technology Enhanced Learning (ACETEL).
He also said that plans have been concluded to ensure women participated in the programme.
“This is a World Bank sponsored project and World Bank is always interested in issue of gender particularly in this programme, and one of the things we try to do is to ensure that each of the programme we run whether on research or other programmes, there must be space for women.
“We realised that what they do at NCC is almost what we do at NOUN and the purpose of our coming is to collaborate with them.
“At the African Centre of Excellence and Technology Enhanced Learning, we are going to run post graduate programmes on artificial intelligence, cloud computing as well as research.
“We are glad that even at NCC, there are component of research and we are going to leverage on that especially in the area of telecom research.
“We are glad that they are willing to collaborate with us and by the time we finish the arrangement of the collaboration, I know that the programme will take off in full,” Prof. Adamu said.
Prof. Grace Jokthan, Director ACETEL, explained that NOUN cannot make programme in using technology to deliver education without working with NCC.
She noted that ACETEL was deploying education using multimedia format and conferencing, to ensure students have access to things that otherwise they would not be able to do.
“We want to use the ICT sector to be able to engage in the education service delivery,” she added.