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UTME: Group calls for more digital training for students

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The Computer-Based Test Proprietors Association of Nigeria (CPAN) has called for more training in digital skills for students taking Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in the country.

CPAN President, Mr Maxwell Akwuruoha made the call in Lagos on Monday at the 4th National Conference of the association with the theme: `Technology in Education’.

Akwuruoha said that students taking technical examinations should acquire e-testing skills which most of them lacked.

He observed that an average Nigerian student in the junior and senior secondary schools might end his/her education without knowledge of or operating the computer.

“Examination malpractice in the Nigerian education system is of great concern to all education stakeholders.

“The importance of technology in various aspects of human endeavour accounts for ease, cost effectiveness and seamlessness in life and business.

“Technology hardly fails when all expected requirements are put in place and the system devoid of undue manipulation,’’ he said.

Akwuruoha explained that following the overwhelming challenge of the e-testing in the 2019 UTME, the association embarked on a fact finding tour across the country.

He said it was observed that lack of relationship documents and memorandum of understanding aside other factors, was a major challenge facing both JAMB and CBT proprietors.

“CPAN stands in a better position to advocate, through collaboration with government agencies, multinational corporations and other stakeholders for national digital literacy awareness,” he said.

The group, therefore, called for a review of technicalities as it concerned the relationship between JAMB and the CBT centres.

In his remarks, Dr Peter Okolie, Dean, School of Technology, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos said Nigeria was still battling with technological challenges and called for solution.

Okolie also called on the CBT centers to be proactive in order not to go obsolete as well as be in readiness to train prospective candidates on the use of computer free of charge or for a token. (NAN)

SKA/CEO/MNA

Edited by Chidi Opara/Maureen Atuonwu

 

Science & Technology

ASRIC congress: Council wants science and technology sector strengthened

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STI

Abuja, Nov. 20, 2018 Prof. Ratemo Mechieka, Chairman of African Scientific Research and Innovation Council (ASRIC), Abuja has urged participants at its four-day congress to develop frameworks to strengthen the science and technology sector in Africa.

Mechieka gave the advice on Wednesday in Abuja while briefing participants on modalities at ASRIC congress, entitled “ Freeing Africa from poverty, hunger and diseases.’’

He also urged NGOs, government establishments, academia, media stakeholders present at the occasion to interact and come up with ideas that could help achieve the theme of the congress.

“I call on everyone present here-academia, NGOs, private and government establishments and the media to exchange information and ideas that can address the challenges in the science and technology sector, especially in Africa.

“Let us all compliment and interact with each other in this congress, by coming up with frameworks and strategies that can help us in implementing the flagship projects of ASRIC,’’ he said.

He lamented the climate change pollution bedeviling African continent and called for participants contributions on how it could be addressed.

He said ways on funding from civil society, private and government donors are welcome to support the African Union Science and Technology Innovation Fund (ASTIF).

 

“Funding will help achieve the mandate of ASRIC to free the Africa from Poverty, hunger and diseases.’’

Also addressing the participants, Dr Ahmed Hamdy, Executive Director of African Union, Scientific Technical Research Commission (AU-STRC) said the congress was a free zone meeting for exchange for ideas.

He urged participants, mostly scientists in various fields of science, to come up with innovative ways in addressing science and technology challenges confronting Africa.

He expressed pleasure at the presence of government establishments at the congress, adding that the development would help in enacting and effecting policies that would advance the growth of science, technology and technology (STI).

Hamdy stressed the need for the congress to address challenges found at the grassroots where hunger, poverty and diseases were more prevalent.

“ The poor are more affected with effects of climate change, diseases and hunge, so the congress should come up with innovative ways of addressing the issues and make impact on them.

“ We need all the aspects of the scientific committees; from business scientists, environmental scientists, medical scientists, food scientists, energy scientist amongst other scientists in civil societies, private and government establishments.

“They should come together and enhance the development of STI sectors in Africa,’’ he said.

He noted that there was a need for commercialisation of STI by-products in Africa as it would help in addressing poverty through job creation.

He said the role and participation of African capitalists could not be overemphasised, adding that they were needed to champion and fund the growth of STI in Africa.

“ ASTIF is functional and science and technology cannot grow without us calling on industrialists, capitalists, financial institutions, government institutions, business communities for funding.

We need them to achieve the Africa we dream of,’’ he said.

NAN reports that not less than 150 scientists across African countries such as South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, Tunisia and Nigeria are attending the congress.

Over 40 papers, addressing various aspects of science such as environment, food, soil, public health, space, business and water will be presented by academics.

 

Edited by Dada Ahmed/Dada Ahmed (NAN)

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DSN unveils AI book, plans to raise 1m experts

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Data Science Nigeria (DSN), an NGO, on Wednesday unveiled the first Artificial Intelligence (AI) book for primary and secondary schools as part of its plan to raise one million AI experts.

The unveiling which was done at a Summit in Lagos was to promote knowledge in AI and related fields for socio-economic development of Nigeria.

In computer science, Artificial Intelligence, sometime called Machine Intelligence, is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans.

The Convener, DSN, Dr Olubayo Adekanmbi. said that as a nation of 200 million people, with median age at 18 years, it was important to prepare the young people for the future by exposing them to the right skills.

Adekambi said that especially when it was known that most of the jobs today would go into extinction in the next five to 10 years.

According to him, the question was what becomes of the country with so much young people who were lacking in the right skills for the ‘future jobs?

”That informed the whole idea of Data Science Nigeria Artificial Intelligence Skill Building. It has become a mandate.

”We have taken up the responsibility to say that children in this country have access to the same knowledge that students in San Francisco, Paris and London have by creating a book that will be distributed free.

”We are not going through the traditional model ‘I buy for my child’ rather ‘you buy for a community or the whole school’.

“The approach is: “make knowledge in a simplified manner,’’ he said.

Adekanmbi said that it was also to build a system that would pass on knowledge and that informed working with various state governments to run a lot of ‘train-the-trainer’ programmes to equip the teachers.

He said that DSN was going to train the teachers in batches on AI as well as giving them a few copies of the book so as to pass on to the children till every part of the country is reached.

The convener said that government could be a part of the process to raise one million inspired young people to change the country’s narrative and make Nigeria the AI destination in future.

He called for integrating AI as part of the national curriculum which would generate more attention by the students toward learning the discipline.

He, however, urged government to support the effective production of the book which was being given out free so that every Nigerian child would be exposed to the possibilities of AI.

”Let them build the right skills and let’s get our nation ready for the opportunities that AI presents; shaping opportunity creation, innovation, invention research, and transformational possibilities,’’ Adekanmbi said.

Also at the Summit, in a keynote presentation titled, ‘Artificial Intelligence for Development’, Prof. Thomas Dietterich, described AI as a catalyst for economic advancement.

Dietterich, Director of Intelligent Systems Research, Oregon State University, said that AI presented opportunities for economic transformation in unique ways.

According to him, although, the developing economies still lack in some areas with regards to AI adoption and applications.

“However, organisations such as DSN had shown clear roadmap capable of putting the country on the right footings and build the national competitiveness, given the right skills, ’’ Dietterich said.

He noted that developing AI enabled weather management solutions that would assist the continent address some challenges faced by farmers, thereby leading to improved food production and sufficiency.

The don said that with the growing community of AI enthusiasts and learners, Nigeria and indeed Africa would witness a major boost in skills needed for research and development.

He said the skills would focus on bringing applied Artificial Intelligence solutions to existing community problems.

While applauding the First AI book for Primary and Junior Secondary School students in Nigeria, Dietterich urged experts and stakeholders to rave-up DSN’s mission of delivering positive impact to the society using Artificial Intelligence.

NAN reports that the highlights of the event were the unveiling of the book as well as the impromptu debate on Artificial Intelligence by students.

The debate was won by Julliard Academy, 422 points; second position was Chrisland School, 412 points; and the third was Atlantic Hall, 399 points.

Edited by Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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British High Commission seeks partnership with NCC on digital access

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The British High Commission (BHC) says it is seeks partnership with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to deepen conversations in execution of Global Digital Access Programme initiated by Her Majesty’s Government.

Mr Guy Harrison, Head of Prosperity, BHC, made this known during a courtesy visit at the NCC’s Head Office in Abuja on Monday.

Harrison, accompanied by Mr Idongesit Udoh, Digital Access Programme Adviser and Mrs Grace Olomiwe, the Digital, Press and Public Affairs Officer at BHC, informed NCC about components of the Programme.

According to him, the central interest is digital access.

“Peripherally, the programme will also involve security support as well as support to the business ecosystem.

“The implementation of the programme will be expressed in form of technical assistance on policy that focuses on expanding digital access, to enhance job creation and economic development in Nigeria,” he said.

Responding, the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta expressed appreciation to BHC for the initiative.

Danbatta noted that NCC efforts were aimed ensuring connectivity across Nigeria, especially to link identified access gaps with existing connectivity networks.

He said that the assistance came at an auspicious time and promised that the commission would review the proposition and liaise with the appropriate departments of the Nigerian government to institute processes.

Danbatta explained that the processes connected with partnership would help to ensure proper and speedy take-off of the programme.

“The NCC will review the proposition and liaise with appropriate departments of the Nigerian government to institute processes, which will ensure proper and speedy take-off of the programme,’’ he said.

Edited by Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Dada Ahmed

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Commission to train politicians for improved advocacy, advancement in science sector- Hamdy

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Abuja, Nov. 18, 2018 African Union Scientific, Technical Research Commission (AU- STRC), Abuja is working toward building the capacities of politicians across the African for them to improve on their advocacy, through policy-making process, for the advancement of science sector.

The Executive Director of the commission, Dr Ahmed Hamdy, disclosed this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Abuja on Monday.

“Politicians are the policy makers, so we intend to carry them along so we can have people advocating the advancement of the sciences in government to boost good governance.

“This is also to ensure that Nigeria will, in no distant future, be one of the best continents in Africa in terms of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI).

“We are also brainstorming on how best to move from STI concepts to conceptualisation and implementation of these STI concepts,’’ Hamdy said.

The executive director said that the growth of STI in Africa was very vital in achieving sustainable development in the continent.

He said the commission, in a bid to implement its policies, had in the past one year trained over 100 scientists and engineers in various fields of science.

Hamdy urged the government across the continent to continue to support local industries, to accelerate Africa to a knowledge-based and innovation-led economy.

He said the commission had held series of meeting with stakeholders in science sector for them to communicate issues bedeviling the science sector to government to address them.

Hamdy also said the commission was committed to implementing the Science Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024 (STISA 2024) at all levels of the AU member states.

“The STISA-2024 is one of the core functions of the AU-STRC and it is very important to implement the several programmes and projects contained in the policy manual at all levels of the economy, not just the science sector.’’

NAN reports that the STISA 2024 is a policy analysis adopted by  AU in 2014, outlining the key socio-economic priority areas African governments must collectively address through scientific research and development.

It is one of the first of 10-year (2014-2024) incremental phasing strategies that respond to the demand for STI across various socio-economic and development sectors in Africa, embedding STI concepts  into these sectors.

Edited by Dada Ahmed

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ICT firm unveils mobile app to boost e-commerce, telecommunications

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An Information Technology (IT) firm, International Labour Reward (ILR) Group of Companies on Saturday unveiled ILR Biz App, a multi-solution provider business hub app to facilitate and promote e-commerce, telecommunications and agriculture.

Speaking at the launch of the App in Lagos, Mr Michael Oluwafemi, the Group Managing Director of the company, said the firm was poised at deepening financial technology of the country and reward users accordingly.

Oluwafemi said that what differentiated the ILR mobile app from other financial apps was that it ensured that users were rewarded with whatever transactions they used the app for within and outside the country.

According to him, anyone that registers and uses the platform for transactions will get value for using it from whatever that accrues to the firm more than whatever any banking app could offer.

“ILR is a global project. Today, we are launching our new solution product called ILR Biz. It is a mobile application solution that provides solutions to all essential services and needs of the people.

“It is an all-inclusive reward system for all transactions done on the app. It is not networking or multi-level marketing but a reward system.

“All we want to do is to make life better for people and ensure users get better value for all they do.

“You get rewarded for making use of the platform and if you convince another person to join in using the app, you also get rewarded.

“ILR is a registered organisation with group of companies, the firm focuses on production, processing and distribution.

“The organisation currently operates in these major sectors: Agriculture, real estate, printing press, super markets, engineering services, telecommunications, recharge services, cooperatives society.

“All we need to do is to download ILR app on Google play Store on mobile phone to get started, register for free but activate with N3,000 which covers a debit card valid for three years,” Oluwafemi said.

According to him, the app is an all in one business platform that provides users with efficient value added services which include e-commerce, agro mart, recharge services, sending money, real estate among others.

The director said that the firm’s objective was to create a global community with the mission to provide the needs of its community and also feed them through agricultural programmes.

He said that the firm also aimed at providing jobs for the teaming youths of the country and also contributed to the national development of the country.

He said that the firm was not a pyramid scheme or networking or multi-level marketing but only provided a platform to reward anybody in the community with a token which could be moved into a wallet system for cashing or investment purposes.

“You can create money for yourself on this platform and send money from the wallet to anyone anywhere at just N50 per transaction,” he said.

He added that the firm also had POS services with several POS agents.

Contributing, Mr Hakeem Abdulkareem, the ILR Director of ICT and Cyber Security said that the app was changing the situation where winners take it all in other apps used for financial transactions by ensuring users get rewarded.

According to Abdulkareem, as ILR gets profit, people using the platform are also rewarded, saying every token given to users as reward can be moved into wallet system and virtual account for transactions, investment, cashing or transfer to people.

Edited by Maureen Atuonwu

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NACCIMA president charges FG, states to patronise Innoson motors

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Hajiya Saratu Iya-Aliyu, the National President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), has called on the federal and state governments to massively patronise Innoson motors.

Iya-Aliyu made the call on Thursday while inaugurating a newly installed automated bus manufacturing plant at Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing (IVM) plant, Nnewi in Anambra.

She said: “I want to advise Nigerians, including state and federal governments, to massively patronise Innoson vehicles.

“The kind of vehicles manufactured here can march any vehicle produced anywhere in the world and I am elated to be part of this history-making venture.”

Iya-Aliyu opined that supporting indigenous businesses, such as IVM, had the potential to create jobs and reduce unemployment

She said that the growth of indigenous businesses could also improve the nation’s Gross Domestic Product and fast-track industrialization.

According to her, the nation’s quest to develop the private sector can only be realised, if Nigerians support made-in-Nigeria products.

She further called on government at all levels to provide conducive environment for indigenous businesses to flourish.

The NACCIMA boss announced at the event that Chief Innocent Chukwuma, the Chairman of IVM, had been named the chairman of the chamber’s automobile committee.

She said that with the new assignment, Chukwuma and his new committee, “are now in-charge of certifying vehicles imported into Nigeria.”

She expressed the confidence that the new plant would boost the company’s production capacity.

In a speech, Chukwuma said the plant had the capacity to produce up to 15 vehicles daily and more than 5,450 annually.

He said, “A major benefit of this new plant is that it will reduce production cost, especially for buses in the country.”

He said that his firm planned to replicate the success of the bus production on SUV, MPV and Sedans production lines.

“Our target is to ensure that an average Nigerian can afford a brand new car,” Chukwuma said.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the event was attended by national and state officials of NACCIMA.

NAN further reports that the IVM Nnewi, which was inaugurated on Oct. 15, 2010 by former President Goodluck Jonathan, now has three automated plants at Umudim and Nnewi, both in Anambra.

(Edited by Sam Oditah)


Pic shows NACCIMA President, Hajiya Saratu Iya-Aliyu (4th l-r), flanked by Chief Innocent Chukwuma, the Chairman, Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing Plant (3rd l-r), and other NACCIMA officials, during the inauguration of a new Innoson automobile plant at Nnewi, on Thursday. Pic by NAN Awka.

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