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close this bookInformation Technology in Selected Countries (UNU, 1994, 148 pages)
close this folder3: Development of information technology in Nigeria
View the document(introductory text...)
View the document1. Introduction
View the document2. Growth of information technology
View the document3. IT policy
View the document4. The computer service industry
View the document5. Telecommunications
View the document6. Applications of IT
View the document7. Education and training in IT
View the document8. Conclusion
View the documentReferences

7. Education and training in IT

Computer Education in Tertiary Institutions

Computer education in Nigeria has come a long way since the foundation of the IBM African Education Training Centre at the University of Ibadan in 1963 for the training of computer personnel to operate, program, and, to a limited extent, service IBM 1461/1620 machines. Today there are fully fledged computer science departments in Nigerian universities and other tertiary institutions teaching a range of subjects including computer organization; software engineering; programming and programming languages; numerical computations; and systems analysis. Studies at these institutions lead to degrees or diplomas in computer science (see table 3.16).

In addition, electrical and electronic engineering departments of Nigerian universities are teaching courses in microprocessors, digital design, and computer interfacing.27

Computer Education in Secondary Schools

Computer literacy camps have been organized for secondary schools in Lagos State. Lately the government has been showing considerable interest in the need for greater computer awareness and literacy in the country. For example, the Federal Ministry of Education in October 1988 announced a programme to spend a sum of N20 million to equip 45 Federal Unity secondary schools with microcomputers. To turn out teachers for the programme, 40 micros will he installed at the National Teachers' Institute, Kaduna.

It is important, however, to place the government's latest initiative in perspective. Assuming that the programme will purchase up to 500 micros, this works out at slightly over 10 micros per school. The Federal Unity schools have no more than 2 per cent of a total secondary school enrolment of about 2 million (on a population base of some 100 million). This effort may be compared in relative scale with a similar programme in Singapore (total population 2.5 million), which as far back as 1981 flooded all secondary schools in that country with 200 mini and micro computers.28

Training

Computer education and training are also offered by a number of private academies (some with government recognition), vendors, and consultants (see table 3.17). These are usually profit oriented and are limited in scope. In many of the major towns there are now computer bureaus, equipped with one or two micros and which offer short-term courses on operating systems (mainly MS DOS) and commercially available application software, e.g. Dbase, spreadsheets, and word processors, in addition to other services.

Table 3.16. Computer education in tertiary institutions

Institution

State

Course title

Award

Ahmadu Bello University

Kaduna

Math with Computer Science

Degree

Anambra State University

Anambra

Electronics/Computer Science

Degree

Bayero University

Kano

Computer Studies

Degree

Federal University of Technology, Abeokuta

Ogun

Computer Science

Degree

Federal University of Technology, Bauchi

Bauchi

Computer Science & Computer Technology

Degree

Federal University of Technology, Owerri

Imo

Communication Computer Engineering Technology

Degree

Obafemi Awolowo University

Oyo

Computer Science

Degree

Rivers State University of Technology

Rivers

Computer Studies

Degree

University of Benin

Bendel

Computer Science/ Data Processing

Diploma/degree

University of Ibadan

Oyo

Computer Science

Degree

University of Lagos

Lagos

Computer Science/ Electronic Data Processing

Degree/certificate

University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Anambra

Computer Science

Degree

University of Port Harcourt

Rivers

Computer Science

Degree

University of Sokoto

Sokoto

Computer Studies

Certificate

College of Science & Technology, Port Harcourt

Rivers

Computer Science

Certificate

College of Technology, Calabar

Cross River

Computer Science

Diploma

Ibadan Polytechnic

Oyo

Computer Science

Diploma

Institute of Management & Technology

Anambra

Computer Studies

Diploma

Kaduna Polytechnic

Kaduna

Computer Studies

Certificate

Source: Ref. 6, 3rd edn.

There is a general consensus that the quality of training, especially in software, is good.13,24 Nevertheless the broad-based educational programmes offered at the universities and polytechnics concentrate on hardware and software issues. There is only a limited exposure to industrial problem-solving. Despite the difficulties in providing training courses in application areas relevant to the needs of a developing country,29 there is a need for greater efforts in this direction. Without doubt, the products of the existing programmes are adequately trained to man routine DP departments and computer centres; and they will always be needed in limited numbers as the base of computerization in the country widens. However, it is emphasized that the country needs a crop of application-oriented computer experts with a firm background in applied science or engineering, and good training in computing and computer-interfacing, to harness the higher capability of the computer to transform a nation's industrial economy.

Table 3.17. Computer training provided by computer vendors and consultants

Course title

No. offering

Percentage

Commercial programming

21

100

General programming

21

100

Scientific programming

21

100

Systems analysis

19

90

Real time programming

16

76

Computer operations

15

71

Data processing

13

62

Systems programming

13

62

Audit of computer systems

11

52

Key punch operation

11

52

Languages for micros

6

29

Software project

6

29

Source: Ref. 6, 3rd edn.

Other bodies, including the universities and computer consultants, also organize conferences, workshops, and seminars on computing themes. Ogis & Ododo, a computer consultant, has pioneered computer publishing in Nigeria with the Nigerian Computer Users' Directory. Ogis & Ododo also publishes a monthly trade journal called Computing and Computers. Another computer directory, The Nigeria Computer and Telecommunication Buyers' Guide, is also available. A new trade journal, The PC Digest, was launched in March 1989 by a computer vendor.

That avenues for disseminating technical and semi-technical information (through books, and international journals and periodicals) are still limited is a sign of the immaturity of computing in Nigeria.

Professional Activities

The first professional body on computers in Nigeria was the Computer Association of Nigeria (CAN), established in 1980. CAN holds widely publicized annual conferences on computers and computer applications at which papers on relevant topics are presented. Adeniran found that, of the 165 papers presented at conferences from 1965 to 1985, no fewer than 89 were presented at CAN conferences.30 Conference proceedings are not generally available in published form.

In 1975, the Committee of Directors of Nigerian Universities Computing Centres (CDNUCC) was formed as a "forum for the sharing of experiences, exchange of ideas and general cooperation" among Nigerian university computing centres.31 A biennial series of conferences was initiated in 1985 and the proceedings were published; there has been no further publication since.