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Nigeria: Country Pushes to Host E-Learning 2009 Conference

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Ahead of the 3rd International Conference on ICT for Development, Education and Training, e-Learning African slated to hold in Ghana, May next year, there has been growing interest by Nigerains for the hosting right in 2009.

At the just concluded Online Education Berlin, Germany, for instance, over 20 Nigerian participants expressed interest for Nigeria’s readiness to host the capacity building event.

This was evident from the full participation of regulatory agencies in the Nigerian Ministry of Education, including Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, (JAMB), West African Examination Council, (WAEC), National Examination Council, ( NECO) and National Business and Technical Examinations Board (NABTEB) at the capacity building event that attracted no fewer than 2,126 experts from 95 countries.

Although there was growing concern among participants from developing countries on the issue of poor IT infrastructure, Nigerian participants with optimism noted that Nigeria as the giant of African continent has the capacity to host e-Learning Africa, 2009 if given the opportunity .

With the desire of government of Nigeria to use IT to achieve the Millenium Development Goals, (MDGs) by the year 2015 as stated by the United Nations Organization, (UNO), Nigerian participants at the event that had up to 500 speakers from 47 countries that featured in a wide range of plenaries, presentations, discussions, workshops and fora, believed that now that democracy has been put in place, the country has all it takes to host e-Learning Africa, 2009 edition.

Although ICWE GmbH, the organizers of the annual event has not yet decided which country in the African continent to take the hosting right in 2009, Nigerian delegates and delegates from other African countries, it was gathered, were already making moves to bring the event to their respective countries.

Majority of the Nigerian delegates who spoke to Vanguard Computers & e-Business during the event that was accompanied by an exhibition, in which 121 e-Learning producers and services providers from 27 countries demonstrated and presented their innovative products and tools, said that there was need for the Nigerian Ministry of Education to make frantic efforts to make sure that the international event is hosted by the Nigerian government in 2009.

In the opinion of Richard Bello, ICWE Project Director in Nigeria, there is nothing wrong in Nigeria hosting the 2009 edition of e-Learning. “We have the capacity. We have the infrastructure. We have everything that it will take to bring the whole world to Nigerian in 2009. It is a matter of interest. It is a matter of will. Ethiopia and Kenya have hosted it. Nigeria too can do it. That is truth of the matter. We are ready for e-Learning 2009” he said.

According to him, the full representation of agencies in the Nigerian Ministry of Education, academia, non-governmental organizations, among others was a clear indication that Nigeria has placed more emphasis in Information Communication Technology as a catalyst for socio-economic development. Similarly, Prof. David Awanbor, the Registrar/Chief Executive of NABTEB noted with optimism Nigeria has the capacity to bring together international community in 2009 for e-Learning Africa.

“Nigeria is the giant of the African economy. The enabling environment is here. More Nigerians are embracing IT education. That is the focus of the whole world. We should not be left behind. This is the time” he said. NABTEB boss who lamented the poor IT education in the Nigerian educational system said that Nigeria must invest in e-Learning as one of the requirements of the 21st century knowledge society.

While agreeing with other Nigerian delegates in relation to hosting the event in Nigeria during the time in question, Julius Olufemi Oke, the Senior Assistant Registrar of WAEC said that 2009 edition should come to Nigeria as a rotatory capacity building event.

“But our government has shown interest in the area of IT. IT policy has just been approved by the present administration. Compulsory IT education has also been launched. We are looking for a time when everything in WAEC will go online. These are laudable objectives that are expected to take Nigeria to the next level. I think we are capable to host e-Learning 2009”, he said.

Doris Anusi, Programme Officer of Women Education and Monitoring Resources Centre, (WEMOREC) while preaching women empowerment through ICT commended the organisers for putting up such a wonderful programme to reach the whole of Africa but insisted that ICWE should consider the interest of Nigeria who has demanded hosting right before now.

In the opinion of Stella Nkem Okonkwo, also of WEMOREC, the expression of interest by Nigerian delegates to host the event in 2009 is an indication that the country is an IT capable country in the information society. “We can host it. We have the capacity. We have the interest. The environment is ripe for the international conference on ICT for Development, Education and Training” she added. For one thing, Online Educa Berlin undisputedly has positioned itself as the world’s international conference on technology-supported learning and training.

The conference agenda focused on Web 2.0, games and simulations in education, as well as on ICT-based learning in the corporate sector, schools and universities. eLearning Africa has established itself as the largest and most comprehensive capacity-development event for technology-enhanced education and training on the Continent.

Initiated in May 2006 in Addis Ababa under the Patronage of the Ethiopian Minister for Capacity Development, H.E. Ato Tefera Waluwa, the pioneer event attracted more than 830 participants and 250 expert speakers. eLearning Africa addresses the whole of Africa.

A rotating event hosted by a different African government every year, it supports and reinforces the growing pan-African eLearning community.

Through its Open Call for Papers, resulting in the engagement of a widely distributed international community of experts, industry partnerships, governments, initiatives on the ground, and the development partner community, a solid capacity-development framework has been established.

The sheer magnitude of the event and its innovative conference features provide an unprecedented opportunity for African professionals and stakeholders to benchmark, learn, share and network, thus strengthening the Continent’s many and varied educational technology initiatives and projects.

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