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Digital Skills: NITDA awards laptops to 10 outstanding beneficiaries of Cohort 2 Coursera programme

Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, Director-General of NITDA, Represented by Dr. Amina Sambo-Magaji, Ag. Director of Digital Literacy and Capacity Development Department (3rd from left), Presenting Laptops to 10 Top Winners of NITDA-Coursera Training Programme, in Abuja, FCT      Photo: NITDA

*The top-of-the-class learners at the National Information Technology Development Agency’s Cohort 2 NITDA-Coursera training programme assure the organisers of digital skills training initiative of applying the transformative experience to impact their chosen fields, and contribute their quota by passing on the knowledge to others

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has presented laptops to 10 top learners of the Cohort 2 NITDA-Coursera training programme as the first to successfully complete their professional certification.

Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, made the presentation during the November Edition of the NITDA-Coursera familiarisation webinar.

Represented at the event by Dr. Amina Sambo-Magaji, Acting Director of Digital Literacy and Capacity Building Department at NITDA, Inuwa congratulated the beneficiaries and commended them for surpassing expectations, creatively utilising the knowledge gained during the training, and performing excellently.

The Director-General of NITDA noted that the promise of giving laptops as prizes to winners was to encourage healthy competition among the trainees for them to think outside the box and perform optimally in their respective areas of interest.

As the outcome of the first batch of trainees was not quite satisfactory, Inuwa expressed satisfaction at the innovative ideas birthed by the learners.

He also stated: “After our first batch, we realised that the competition rate was not very encouraging.

“So, we looked at different options, brainstormed on possible best option to increase the competition rate, and one of them was the concept of giving the laptops which eventually paid off as there were timely and tangible results gotten from learners.

“Also, we know that having a laptop will support you in actually using it as a tool for job, as it was more of a double impact.”

The NITDA Chief Executive further reiterated the fact that the youthful population of the country remains one of the key competitive advantages over other nations, and as such should be explored and exploited to achieve the Federal Government’s quest of making Nigeria the global talent hub.

Inuwa said: “For us to be able to harness the potential of that competitive advantage we have in our youthful population, that is why we are undertaking a number of capacity-building initiatives to make sure that Nigerians have access to the global on-demand skills.”

According to him, most of the beneficiaries completed their professional certification in Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, and Digital Marketing.

Presenting the laptops to the 10 outstanding learners, who completed their NITDA-Coursera courses, the Director-General encouraged them to not relent in their efforts at bridging the digital gap by evolving indigenous solutions that have global impact.

He noted that their expected contributions to the tech ecosystem would trigger the needed growth in the industry, the country’s digital economy as well as their general well-being.

Some of the beneficiaries who shared their success stories, thanked NITDA-Coursera for affording them the opportunity to learn on the platform.

The beneficiaries assured the organisers of the training programme that they would most definitely use the transformative experience to impact their chosen fields, and contribute their quota by passing on the knowledge to others.

Earlier, Dr. Ahmad Yusuf Tambuwal, Assistant Director of Digital Literacy and Capacity Building Department of NITDA,  while giving an overview of the NITDA-Coursera Scholarship Programme said the training programme is one of the world’s top online learning platforms hosting thousands of courses from some of the world’s best universities and tech companies.

Dr. Tambuwal explained: “In its effort to achieve its One Million Developer and Skills target, NITDA established a 3-year learning partnership with Coursera with effect from 19 October 2022.”

The top official of the Information Technology regulatory agency stressed the partnership is designed to be implemented in six (6) Cohorts: (Cohort 1 – Cohort 6).

He stated: “Learners in each Cohort will receive full access Coursera licenses for self-learning and professional development over a six (6) months’ duration and every 6 months, at least 4,000 learners are graduated from the programme while a new set of learners are onboarded and invited to join the platform.

“NITDA organises monthly webinars to give learners direct access to Coursera and NITDA support teams, interaction and networking, Q&A, guest lectures etc.”

Tambuwal also disclosed NITDA implements a license management policy to ensure full utilisation of available licences.

“If a licence is not being utilised, several reminder e-mails are sent to the learner, and if still not being used, it is eventually revoked & re-allocated.

“So far, the first set of 4,000 learners In Cohort 1 have already graduated, and Cohort 2 learners will be graduating at the end of December 2023,” Dr. Tambuwal added.

The agency said that the hybrid event, which witnessed over 500 participants joining the webinar, also featured a brief on how the NITDA-Coursera platform works by the Coursera representative and host, Khaled Kokhon.

Objectives of NITDA-Coursera partnership

The NITDA-Cousera partnership is aimed at achieving some key objectives, which include: empowering twenty-four thousand (24,000) Nigerians with digital and developer skills in 3 years, empowering Nigerian citizens with job-ready skills and create a large pool of IT talents for the local and global markets, fostering innovation and supporting start-ups with IT knowledge and skills needed to build real-life solutions.

“It is worthy to also mention that since the start of Cohort 2 in June 2023, learners have spent over 10,000 hours learning on Coursera every month as July witnessed over 20,000 learning hours.

“So far, 12,664 Courses have been completed by the learners since the programme started,” NITDA stated.

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