The Group Executive Vice Chairman, Sifax Group, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi has advocated for what he called “upgraded university information communication technology (ICT) infrastructure” in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions.
He averred that this was one of the veritable avenues to avert slowing down teaching and learning in the universities in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Afolabi who made this call while delivering the keynote address at the just concluded 5th Annual International Conference of the Faculty of Education, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife with the theme “COVID-19 and the Emerging Issues in Education” tasked relevant stakeholders on the need to attain it in schools across the country.
The Group Executive Vice Chairman who was represented by Sifax Group Executive Director, Mr. Bode Ojeniyi said such upgrade would provide unhindered access to quality education to all students, irrespective of their socio-economic status, especially during unforeseen circumstances.
His words: “The COVID-19 has exposed the inadequacies in our educational sector, as teaching and learning were affected during the lockdown and post-COVID 19. There is need for a “state of emergency” to be declared in the education sector in Nigeria, particularly in the public institutions, towards the upgrade of the entire educational infrastructure with particular emphasis on ICT equipment and skills re-tooling in schools that will support virtual teaching and learning.
“The government apart from coming up with enabling policies to support private-sector-led initiatives, must also consider setting aside “special funds” through any or all of its development agencies to be dedicated to the development of the educational sector technology infrastructure upgrade and personnel training/teaching faculties skills upgrade.”
He also called on all stakeholders in the sector, including parents, alumni, alumni associations, wealthy private individuals, philanthropists and corporate organizations to lend a hand in the transition of the educational sector to a 21st century compliant one which is driven largely by technology.
The Vice Chancellor, OAU, Ile-Ife, Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede had earlier commended Afolabi and Sifax Group for its numerous support and interventions in the education sector, adding that its financial support for its Faculty of Education and other faculties in the school is well appreciated.
The Dean, Faculty of Education, Professor Bola Omotesho lauded Afolabi for his support towards the international conference and further solicited more assistance to reposition the faculty for improved teaching and research.