By Oluwatobi Opusunju
The Director of ICT, Benue State University (BSU), Mr. Terna Abuul has tasked Nigerian universities to review their ICT curriculum in order to bridge the gap existing between the universities and the industry. Abuul, a tech-expert and an academic believes the gap between gown and town is too wide and for universities to remain relevant, they must rework their curriculum to reflect the dynamics of the industry.
In his presentation at the just held ‘Bayelsa Ignition Week 2018’ in Yenagoa, titled “Understanding What an ICT Ecosystem Looks Like and Associated Processes Involved,” Abuul explained that it was imperative for the Nigeria University Commission (NUC) to review the curriculum, especially as regards computer science studies as students are being taught topics that are no more in tune with the realities of emerging technologies. A worried Abuul said the industry has long left the universities behind and no longer seek the academic arena for experts and workers to move the industry forward.
“We need to review the curriculum in order to bridge the gap between the academics and industry. If you look at what is being taught at these universities as it’s relates to ICT, you will realize that it is very obsolete with what is applicable in the industry.
“If you look at our curriculum in most of these computer science departments, what is being taught is mostly irrelevant with the realities of the industry. If you go out there, you will realize that the dividing line between the academics and industry is very thin but when you come back home, in this country it’s a different ball game as the gap is very wide,” he explained.
He said there was need for government to reposition the academic and research institutions in the country in terms of regulations, funding and infrastructure, so as to be able to impact this knowledge on the students.
He said government as well as other regulatory bodies, financial institutions and infrastructure providers are critical to the development of research and innovation in the universities and as such the government needs to facilitate the provision of ICT infrastructure and facilities for universities as well as fund Research and Development (R&D) to develop the industry. Without all these, the industry would only be winking in the dark and will continue to trail behind other countries in terms of ICT development.
While commending the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and other regulatory bodies for their efforts so far in developing the country’s ICT space, Abuul also called for the establishment of state information technology development agencies to have clear cut policies that will encourage the development of startups. According to him, these startups need an enabling environment to operate efficiently and effectively and may not be achieved their goals if the focus do not shift from just looking at the national level to the grassroots.