Agency Trains over 800 Young Nigerians on Digital Technology
By Na'ankwat Dariem, Abuja
Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA has trained 859 young people in digital technology through its Science Technology Engineering Mathematics, STEM, Bootcamp for Kids, SB4Kids 2022.
The agency also encouraged Young people to build indigenous Coding languages, programme and games that promote African culture and values.
The bootcamp is design to inspire young Nigerians in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, STEM, programme through its subsidiary the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, NCAIR.
The 10 days bootcamp which was hosted in Abuja, Kano and Lagos states exposed kids to a series of hands-on training on the areas of Extended Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Drone technologies, and Digital Communication.
During the closing and Award of ceremony, in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, the Director General of NITDA ,Mr. Kashifu Inuwa stated that seven out of the ten fastest growing and better paid jobs globally were in the Information Technology, IT sector.
He explained that computers, which included mobile phones were taking over jobs through the languages of coding that were categorised into narrow artificial intelligence, artificial intelligence and super intelligence.
Inuwa said, “we need more people that can code because that is the future of work and it is important that you develop interest and build a career in coding.Very few of the elites around the world control what we see, read and believe and you being part of them can change things.
“This is a golden opportunity to start coding early in life, you need to become an exceptional person by having initiatives that solve problems. We want to see games with African characters, games that uphold our values and cultures; educational games and many more,” Inuwa said.
He advised them saying ,” you can also develop games, play them and make money out of them.
The NITDA Boss explained that with a global population of about 7.7 billion, only a little percentage could code,whereas there were over 14 billion devices, computers,hence positioning computer at the centre of human lives.
Inuwa encouraged the kids to practise more because, “making use of the computer has become a liberal act.”
Global Supplier of Talents
He emphasised that Nigeria is working towards becoming a talent global supplier.
“WE have an ambitious target of making Nigeria a talent global supplier. We have launched some initiatives, like training one million tech developers and the Talent Gab Analysis where we want to get the best line of information about number of talents we have in the country .Then we will come up with a National Talent Strategy Plan how to position Nigeria as a global talent supplier.
“We are currently training intern at the NCAIR to come up with solutions on malaria and diabetics and other health related issues, some of them are learning to apply drone to improve Agriculture and Security,” he said.
He added that “This is to facilitate the execution of the programme and in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) of the Federal Government, and NITDA’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2021-2024) pillar of Emerging Technologies.”
The National Director of NCAIR, Mr Yau Garba commended the children for their resilience towards the passion to learn coding and their parents for commitment to availing their wards.
Mr. Yakubu said the engaged youngsters between the age of 8-16 years were coached and inspired to imbibe a passion in STEM in order to create an early interest in digital technologies which will hopefully shape their future careers in these fields.
He added that the participant can continues to learn through the NITDA Visual Centre and Internship Programme at the NCAIR to peruse their various interest in emerging technologies.
Some of the participants spoke with Voice of Nigeria. First was Mr Aliyu Usman, he commended NITDA for the knowledge they had acquired, saying that he had been inspired to be able to teach other children around him what he learnt.
Also Miss Princess Teniola, was happy she participated in the programme. she said the training had broadened her mind to understand computer more through coding.
The winners of the bootcamp were rewarded with laptops and demo kits, while 859 children were trained.
There was also a demonstration tour of computer programmes designed by the participant.