Akin Akande, Abuja
The Federal Government has launched a robust inter-connectivity broadband for Nigerian universities system, which is also expected to facilitate the sharing of research data, pooled bandwidth, video/data communication among all the universities in the country.
The project is also expected to create remote class participation, remote experimentation, symposia, inaugural lectures through international leased lines on submarine cables with other research based institutions, globally.
Federal government, in the first phase of the project tagged “Nigerian Research and Education Network” (NgREN) is envisaging that approximately 500 Nigerian higher institution campuses would be connected to the broadband between the end of 2013 and 2014.
Before the introduction of this initiative, which is being anchored by the Ministries of Education and Communications including prominent network providers in the country, stakeholders in the education sector had consistently lamented the inability of Nigerian academicians to effectively harness the resources provided by science and technology just like many other nations had done.
Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i said at a stakeholders’ conference held in Abuja that the platform would create modern learning environment that would continually drive knowledge and make the frontiers of learning borderless, particularly enabling researchers to showcase their works.
She said, “The broadband will eventually enable all research and education institutions to promote interaction, collaboration, communication and sharing of resources.
“It would enhance high definition video conferencing facility at the network management centre to cover 228 sites in 2014 and more in 2015.”
Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Julius Okojie who serves as the chairman of the interim governing board stressed that Nigeria, despite being richly endowed continued to lag behind in having a functional research and education networks.
“There are over 100 research and education networks in the world today and Nigeria remains the biggest country in the world that is yet to commission one.
“Many countries that are not as endowed as Nigeria or have been grappling with more internal challenges have functional and thriving RENs, they include Sudan, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda and Somalia.”