Nigeria's National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has reported that it has enrolled over 14,000 students in its virtual academy. The NITDA Academy offers 47 different courses about emerging technologies such as cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and others. NITDA has said that its Virtual Academy is a response to equipping young Nigerians with the relevant skills in the wake of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and its socio-economic impact.
The virtual academy was launched by Nigeria's Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, during May 2020. Speaking during an online launch event of the online learning platform, Kashifu Abdullahi, Director General of NITDA, said that the virtual academy was launched to help engage young Nigerians to "spend their time meaningfully and learn new technologies that will help create and shape the post-COVID-19 era."
“Coronavirus has forced us to change our behaviour and adapt to new habits. New trends have emerged, we do everything remotely; working, learning, meeting, workshops, zoom party, e-wedding, and so on”, said Abdullahi.
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Many countries in Africa have looked at the option of online education for their youth. For example, Egypt recently announced a scholarship for 100,000 youth to enroll for free digital technology courses in partnership with Udacity. On the other hand Cameroon's government has launched an online learning platform for secondary school students to catch-up with their school curriculum.
“We are working with the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 and Nigerian Centre of Disease Control (NCDC) to identify some of the ideas they think are relevant for them, so they can be used as a testing ground to help these start-ups develop their ideas into products. The Challenge had over 2000 applicant and 5 start-ups were selected for pitching at the Open Demo and Prize Giving Day; three of them emerged winners and went home with their prizes,"added Abdullahi.
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