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FG to develop national leather policy to boost economy- Perm. Sec.



Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology, Mr Bitrus Nabasu said the Federal Government has plans to develop a National Leather Product Policy to boost Gross Domestic Product of the country.

Nabasu said this during the graduation ceremony of IDP trainees from Borno, trained by the Nigerian Institute of Leather and Science Technology (NILEST), Zaria in collaboration with the UNDP.

The Nigeria News Agency reports the IDPs were trained at NILEST, Zaria while their graduation ceremony was held at the FCT Agency for Science and Technology, Abuja.

Nabasu said the leather policy amongst others would establish manufacturing, importation and exportation principles that would checkmate certain operations and regulate stakeholders activities within the industry.

He disclosed that leather and leather products’ transaction were estimated to have increased in excess of N450 billion naira for footwear and N200 billion for other finished leather products.

He said the average exported value on leather and leather products stood between N189 billion and N252 billion respectively.

“The sad truth about the development is that 90 per cent of the benefit goes to foreign countries while the country benefits only 10 per cent.

“Ministry of Science and Technology and NILEST is making frantic efforts to reverse the ugly trend of huge capital flight by putting together, first ever stand alone national leather policy in Nigeria.

“The leather industry forms one of the vibrant sectors in national economic development, contributing enormously to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country,”. Nabasu said.

He noted that the leather industry was viable at all points along the value chains and would be a lucrative business venture for the graduands.

Nabasu urged the graduands to make maximum use of the great opportunities given to them to impact positively on their communities.

The Acting Director General of NILEST, Mrs Eucharia Opara said the training was first of its kind as the trainees were camped for 6 months for effective coaching and mentoring.

She said the training was 80 per cent practical and hands-on, adding that the graduands were well equipped on leather products manufacturing.

“Nigeria can be great through the encouragement of indigenous Technology .This training is a boost to unlocking enormous potentials existing in the leather sector for the benefit of this country.

“Nigerians are generally known to be entrepreneurial, mobile and ambitious and with support from international organisations like EU and UNDP, in no distance time, Nigeria leather brand will compete favourably with Italian brands,” Opara said.

She said the leather sector was the nation’s goldmine and held the key to industrial growth, economic diversification, jobs and wealth creation.

Opara implored the graduands to use the skills and morals learnt and resources given for the benefit of their communities and Nigeria at large.

The UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in charge of Operations, Ms Carine Yengayenge said the graduands should not only practice their new skills but also be role models to vulnerable youths.

” We encourage you to use your skills to help build strong resilient communities and to contribute to sustainable development of Nigeria.

“UNDP is a firm believer in the power of learning and a strong advocate for providing the best capacity building opportunities,” she said.

Yengayenge said UNDP would give grant of N180,000 cash to each of the qualified graduates to help the set up their businesses.

She said eligible candidates would be required to have an attendance record of over 70 per cent, good performance in their their and practical and a robust and well- crafted business plan.

Yengayenge said the UNDP would be in partnership with Centre for Community Development Research Network (CCDRN) to monitor their progress.

The Head of Cooperation, European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Kurt Cornelis called on the graduands to use the life changing opportunity to become self reliance, learn new ways of doing things and improve on themselves.

Cornelius who was represented by Health Adviser of the Organisation, Mr Anthony Ayeke said the EU would continue to partner with Government of Nigeria and other stakeholders in rebuilding lives of conflict-affected persons.

Edited by Chioma Ugboma, Rotimi Ijikanmi

Science & Technology

Coding bootcamp is best alternative to summer coaching – Stakeholders



Some stakeholders on Monday said that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Coding Bootcamp was a better alternative to Summer Coaching.

The stakeholders in separate interviews with the Nigeria News Agency said that the coding boot camp was more fun, exciting, educating and learning in a more relaxed atmosphere.

The Chief Executive Officer, Cvhub, Mr Austin Agbakor, said that coding camp would improve the pupils’ exposure to programming, coding, robotics and also improve their learning.

Agbakor said that most of the pupils that came for the bootcamp coding were familiar with the parts of a computer and their functions.

He said that most of the pupils selected for the training were not familiar with programming and developing games using Scratch, Python, Tynker.

“We are on the developmental stage for the pupils and they are showing very high interest through mobile games developed within two weeks.

“The training will be continuous until they are well-trained and can commercialise their programmes or mobile games developed.

“However, there is much to be done and there is need for the children to continue to be built with the parents’ assistance,’’ he said.

An Instructor, Miss Uchenna Alaguva, said that the training was an opportunity to get the pupils exposed to computer and not to be scared of the Computer Based Test (CBT).

Alaguva said that most students did not excel in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) due to their inability to use the computer for the examination.

According to her, these pupils will do well in CBT examination and any other examination due to their early exposure to computer.

A seven-year old Mitchelle Ajiboye, said that she had developed four different interactive games and animation and hopes to do more.

“The training has helped me to improve on my spellings while developing my interactive games and also conquered my fears of using the computer.

“I prefer the training to school summer coaching because it has been fun learning, ‘’ she said.

Dennis Kadiri, a 15-year old, SS3 student, said that he had developed a mobile game, `Ghost Attack’ within the two weeks of training.

Kadiri said that he was ready and confident of his success at the upcoming CBT.

Ten-year old Mojuba Adesanmi, said that he had developed a game `Ping Pong’ and hopes to do as well as to teach his friends in school.

According to Adesanmi, this training is worth the while than the school lesson and I have learnt so much that will improve my academic performance.

Eleven-year old Yomade Olatunji, said that her games would be introduced to her school mates because they love games.

NAN reports that 31 pupils between five and 15 years of age had enrolled for the free coding at the Cvhub and had developed games such as interactive games, animation and the likes.


Edited by Adeleye Ajayi

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Union Bank partners Leading Ladies Africa to train 40 female entrepreneurs



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Science & Technology

NCS to set up Innovation Development Fund to boost ICT



Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) has concluded plans to set up Innovation Development Fund to transform initiatives for sustainable entrepreneurship in ICT.

The newly elected President of the group, Prof. Adesina Sodiya, said this on Friday in an interview with Nigeria News Agency in Abuja.

He said the fund would be used to provide educational scholarships and sponsorship to attend conferences, workshops as well as support for high impact research.

“It will increase IT education and research achievement in the country and provide ability to seize IT education and research opportunities as well as to fulfill potentials to many who are presently excluded.

“Human capital in Information Technology is a top priority for the nation because Nigeria needs people in sufficient numbers with such appropriate expertise to assist the nation to survive and thrive in the knowledge economy.

“Through this fund NCS shows exceptional commitment to the sustainable national development of Nigeria by significantly increasing opportunities for Information Technology education and research attainment nationwide,’’ Sodiya said.

He said in a way of giving back to the society and support educational and research development, NCS gives scholarship and sponsorship fund to young innovators.

Sodiya said scholarships were the best and most effective ways for students to be granted the opportunity to realise their dreams for sustainable education.

“We must continue to get government to do the right thing in IT adoption, usage and development,’’ he said.

NAN reports that NCS was formed in 1978 having transformed from the then Computer Association of Nigeria (COAN) to become the umbrella body of all IT professionals in Nigeria.


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NITDA, TETFUND sign MoU to advance IT in tertiary institutions




The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to deploy emerging technologies and ensure digital inclusion in tertiary institutions across the country.

The MoU, which process started four years ago between the two institutions, was signed on Friday in Abuja.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the MoU focuses on Information Technology (IT) Infrastructure Deployment; Human Capacity Development; Deployment of Emerging Technologies and Digitisation of Services in tertiary schools.

Other areas are Project Management; IT Academy Deployment; ICT Policy Development and Emerging Technologies and Deepening of Research and Development with ICT in tertiary institutions.

The Director-General of NITDA, Dr Isa Pantami, said that the document was strategic as no institution of government could develop in isolation.

“Although most tertiary institutions are already using ICT in their activities, there is a need to upgrade to include emerging technologies to be at par with the global trend.

“So many schools in Nigeria do not have old records of their activities and when past students misplace results or certificates, they only engage in swearing court affidavits.

“However, with Block Chain technology, Artificial Intelligence and other forms of modern day technology, schools can digitise their activities which will save cost, energy and ensure efficiency.

“Our universities are becoming highly populated, but with IT, we can make easier the learning process which will de-congest the classrooms.”

He said that if the two institutions remained committed to the provisions of the MoU, the intervention would go a long way to ensure the consolidation of IT in tertiary schools.

Pantami also encouraged TETFUND to set up a committee in collaboration with NITDA to facilitate the implementation process of the MoU.

Prof, Suleiman Bogoro, the Executive Secretary of TETFUND, on his part, said that quite a number of emerging technology solutions were very creative, innovative and enhanced learning.

According to Bogoro, such emerging technologies are needed for a knowledge-based economy and reduce issues of plagiarism in tertiary school programmes.

He added that the MoU would be for the benefit of the students and lecturers because ICT was required for every process of learning.

The secretary commended NITDA for providing ICT facilities in many tertiary schools across the country.


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Use Artificial Intelligence as second teacher in schools- IT experts



A Convener at Data Science Nigeria, Mr Bayo Adekambi, on Thursday urged schools management to make use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a second teacher.

Adekambi made the plea at the 3rd Biennial Conference on: “Transition from Observation to Knowledge to Intelligence (TOKI)’’ held at the University of Lagos, Akoka.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the conference was backed up by the University of Lagos, University of Ibadan, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) and Data Science Nigeria.

Artificial Intelligence is often used to describe machines (or computers) that mimic “cognitive” functions that humans associate with the human mind, such as “learning” and “problem solving”.

TOKI is the Biennial forum for the presentation of new research results and for the demonstration of new systems and techniques in knowledge management, Competitive Intelligence, Big Data and Semantic Web.

Others are IOT, Resource Management, Web Mining, Natural Language Processing, Interoperable and Adaptive Information Systems as well as Data Science.

Adekambi said that using artificial intelligence camera as a second teacher would help schools to monitor the behaviour patterns of each student in the classroom.

“AI class monitor camera records class sessions in a non-obtrusive manner. The faces of each child is blocked, but each person is recognised with an automatic unique code.

“Students in the class behaviours and facial emotions are placed and profiled with the camera and at the end of the class, the teacher can study and understand each child’s pattern of learning.

“AI camera will help the teacher to make informed decisions about each student in the school and differentiate the ones that prefer personalised learning experience or vice versa, “Adekambi said.

He said that Nigeria was among the four nations with the highest number of overcrowded classrooms in its secondary schools.

Adekambi said that quality learning experience and study of students’ behavioural patterns could not be achieved in an overcrowded classroom.

“It is impossible for one teacher to be able to offer quality education to a large number of students at the same time.

“The AI camera would be able to tell the level of engagement of each student in a classroom, and also predict the academic performance of each one of them,’’ he said.

Adekambi said that the cost of an AI camera was less than the salary of a teacher; urging schools to invest in such technology.

Also, Dr Olufade Onifade, the President, International Society for Knowledge Organisation (ISKO), West Africa, said that the event was organised to sensitise students on the importance of big data, artificial intelligence and data science.

Onifade said that sensitising students with the knowledge of artificial intelligence among others, would keep them abreast of the current technology trends.

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