NBTE Wants Telecomm Companies' Support to Expand ICT Infrastructure in Polytechnics

Officials of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and some heads of polytechnics were at the headquarters of two Nigerian telecommunication giants, Airtel Networks and Globacom Ltd. to solicit for the companies' support towards upgrading and expanding the Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure for campus-wide connectivity in the TVET sector.

At the head of the delegation was the NBTE Director of Physical Planning and Development Department, TPl. Ekpenyong E. Ekpenyong who represented the Executive Secretary of NBTE, Dr. Kazaure.  Others were the Chairman of COHEADS and Rector of Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin, Alh. Mas'ud Elelu; Rectors of Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, and Ede, Dr. (Mrs.) Cele Njoku and Dr. John Adekolawole; Ag. Rector, Yaba College of Technology, Dr. (Mrs.) O. T. Oyinlola; representative of the Rector , Ogun State Institute of Technology, Igbesa and  Principal Technical Officer of the Board, Mr. Aliyu I. Hassan.

TPl. Ekpenyong said the delegation was at the companies to solicit support for the upgrade and expansion of ICT infrastructure with high end equipment, servers and software for campus-wide connectivity with voice, video and data architecture to allow for the increased broadband connectivity in the polytechnics as part of the NBTE/M8 Global Technical Educational and Vocation Education Broadband (TVEB).

Explaining further, the NBTE Director of Centre of Excellence, Dr. (Mrs.) Amina Idris said that the TIER project partnership with M8 Global Know Network is aimed at providing access to formal TVET programmes through the use of emerging and flexible learning technologies. She added that the Board was also partnering with the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), the Open and Distance Flexible Learning (ODFL) and the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) with the aim of bringing flexible skills development to the TVET sector.           

Receiving the delegation, the Managing Director and Chief Executive of Airtel Networks Ltd., Mr. Olusegun Ogunsanya said Airtel has as passion for education and as its Community Social Responsibility(CSR) programme the company has embarked on a project called 'Adopt a school' to teach teachers to use technology in teaching.

NBTE at Airtel HQ
From right: ES Rep and Director Physical Planning Tpl Ekpenyong Ekpenyong, Rector Fed Poly Nekede Dr C.U. Njoku, MD/CEO Airtel Mr. Olusegun Ogunsanya, M8 Head Projects and Partnership, Dr Lovedays Egbedion, Chairman COHEADS and Rector Kwara State Poly Ilorin Alh. Mas’ud Elelu and Director NBTE Centre of Excellence Dr (Mrs) Amina Idris during the visit to Airtel Headquarters 

Mr. Ogunsanya who commended the NBTE for its quest to use technology in the delivery of teaching and learning said Airtel has a data centre which can be used to host the proposed TIER project and has already commissioned some centres across the country. He expressed the commitment of Airtel in the delivery of dedicated internet to the TVEB project with guarantee of no downtime noting that Airtel presently connects one-third of the entire world population being the third largest telecommunication company in the planet with its presence in 20 communities and 1000 carriers.

He further noted that the Airtel has its presence in about 70 higher institutions of learning across the country and provides 1GB data with a 7000km long optic fibre and 170 mpls spots having a redundancy disaster recovery site in Abuja as well as a 24/7 365 days monitoring, adding that Airtel has 3800 3G sites and will soon commission its 4G network.

Also, at the Globacom Headquarters, at Mike Adenuga Towers in Lagos, the company requested to have the list of institutions that will benefit from the free fibre laying so that they can deploy teams for assessment and survey visit.

NBTE at Glo
(Middle front row) Mr Folu Aderibigbe representing Glo Chairman flanked by ES Rep and Director Physical Planning Tpl Ekpenyong Ekpenyong (left) and Dr (Mrs) Amina Idris (right) with rectors, M8 team and other Glo Executives during the visit to Mike Adenuga Towers.

Speaking on behalf of the Chairman of the company, the Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Folu Aderibigbe said the company has mapped out virtually all the polytechnics in Nigeria and has deployed similar service in some universities and will be glad to do same to the polytechnic sector.

Mr. Aderibigbe further informed the delegation that Globacom is wholly indigenous and committed towards contributing to the development of the nation. He highlighted the key strength of Globacom as the sole owner of its submarine cable running from Europe to Nigeria with about 10,000 bts sites and 13000km of fibre across the country.

He noted that Glo has not utilized one-tenth of its infrastructural capacity as such has the capacity to deliver on data. This he said has  enabled the company map out the location of all the polytechnics in Nigeria leveraging on its extensive optic fibre and micro wave network with the aim of providing effective and high speed connectivity to connect all the polytechnics and technical schools to the E-learning platform.

He also added that the Globacom company has a 4G LTE which has the speed of light and will connect the National Board for Technical Education and the Federal Ministry of Education to E-learning platform.