The Acting Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Ashiru Sani Daura, has stated that the award of scholarship to 240 young Nigerian graduates to further their studies in Information Technology (IT) related fields at both the Masters and Doctorate levels, was to help transform the country into a knowledge based economy. The DG made the disclosure in Abuja at a send forth ceremony for 80 of its 2013 batch who will be departing for their various schools abroad. According to him, the sponsorship, which amounted to about N1.2 billion in the last three years, was also aimed at boosting human capacity in the area of IT.
Daura said the money expended on the scholars was raised from the National IT Development Fund, which is a 1 per cent tax from all IT related companies and also support from some finance companies. “Every year we budget around N300 to N400 million for all the scholars and these have been on going in the last three years. If you have 80 scholars a maximum of N400 million per session and this has been going on for the last three years,” he said.
He said an important component of transformation is education, as according to him, there cannot be transformation without the people who are the agents of transformation. For any transformation, he added that IT is paramount for success.
According to him, the vision of NITDA was to transform the country into an IT enabled economy, adding that no nation can develop its economy without human capacity development. He said: “So that is why we are sponsoring these young bright Nigerians so that they can acquire the necessary skills and education to come and develop the IT sector develop capacity towards the actualization of the Vision 2020 agenda of government.”
Daura admitted that most of the scholars who benefitted in the first batch have returned. “For those who returned we are monitoring them but some of them are yet to be employed, some are in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), some have fund jobs in other places, we are in the process of trying to monitor what they are doing and the exact impact to the economy. “In the next few weeks we shall established NITDA college of scholars, we shall establish an online and physical forum where these scholars will be interacting with themselves and with that we shall be challenging them with the various problems that should solve from the knowledge they acquire and some other thing that will be for the benefit of our country.
On how the students are selected, he said: “We normally advertise on national dailies, the applicants would apply online, thereafter they would sit for an aptitude test and two best with the highest scores are selected from each state irrespective of who they are. The prerequisite is that they would have studied IT related courses and would be pursuing IT programmes at Masters and Ph.D. levels. He congratulated the scholars on the awards adding, “Whatever you get is what you deserve, I congratulate you for getting this award. You were selected out of more than 4000 applicants who applied for this scholarship. You got the scholarship not because you know anybody. For the last three years of this award it is done purely on merit.
“I therefore urge you to imbibe this culture of hard work, selfless and diligence throughout your study abroad and thereafter. I will also commend NITDA staff for their transparency in the process.
One of the important foundations for any transformation anywhere is the knowledge in education, if you educate the people then you can easily transform the society and use them as agent of transformation. If the people are not adequately educated you cannot have adequate capacity, any transformation now has to have IT as its backbone. IT is really important and essential for any transformation so if you train in IT the transformation agenda of government will be easier.
The NITDA Boss said he would work towards leaving a workforce that is will motivated, agile dynamic that can take NITDA to it achieving its mandate which is to regulate and develop IT in Nigeria so that Nigeria joins the nations that is knowledge economy nations by that so we can achieve the Vision 2020 agenda.
Source: ThisDay Live