It is often said that, a country is as good as members of its population that are well informed. This is because, knowledge is power. It is these set of people that form the vanguard of the development thrust of the countries human capital and economic development. This is why, today, I am focusing on our citadels of knowledge in Nigeria, to see how they can contribute to the emergence of a more robust tech ecosystem in Nigeria.
Without a doubt, many of our higher institutions offer courses leading to the award of Diplomas and Degrees in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, etc, but, what impact do these graduates have on the society after graduation? How many of them are encouraged to remain in the tech environment after graduation and how many have left it due to non-conducive environment? How many of them have joined the legion of Okada riders in order to put body and soul together? I am concerned because, majority of the Startups I meet and discuss with, never graduated in any Computer-related courses, but in various other disciplines. So where are the majority of the Computer-related graduates and what are they doing to prop up the ecosystem? Many questions, you would say, but, these are germane because, presently, the Nigerian tech ecosystem needs every hand on deck to move it to the next level.
My observation is that, for the tech ecosystem in Nigeria to grow beyond our wildest imagination, every sector of the ecosystem must play its role perfectly well. The truth is that, for the ecosystem to be effectively grounded in Nigeria, both the hardware and software sections of the ecosystem must be well established. There has been some advancement recorded in the software solution aspect of tech in Nigeria with many youths coming up with fantastic solution apps, but not many of these are coming from our Universities and Polytechnics.
I have, however, identified some things that can be done by a combination of efforts by the government, the private sector and the authorities of the higher institutions themselves, to prop up the quality of graduates being churned out of their various institutions, so, they can be more relevant and responsive to preferring solutions to the myriad of problems in the tech ecosystem.
Funding Of Researches
I believe that we will achieve and record more successes in the tech ecosystem in Nigeria if our institutions of higher learning gets more involved by engaging in researches that can throw up solutions to many of our issues in Nigeria.
I know, for a fact, that inadequate funding for carrying out researches is a major issue that adversely affects all our higher institutions in Nigeria and the government must sit up and look into ways of generating and providing funds for researches to be carried out in these institutions. The result of the researches are sure to propel the ecosystem and improve the lives of the populace that patronize the solutions.
Constant review of curriculum
One thing about technology is that, it is so dynamic to the extent that, what is trending today can become obsolete in a Month’s time. It is, therefore, instructive that, for there to be any meaningful impact on the ecosystem, there has to be a constant review of the institutions curriculum. This, however, has to be done in conjunction with the Nigerian Universities Commission, NUC and other regulatory authorities that approves curriculum and accredits courses for higher institutions of learning in the country.
Exchange programs with Institutions abroad
Some countries are already way ahead of us in tech and in order to continue to strife to close the gap, our institutions of higher learning need to start engaging in exchange programs with institutions abroad for our undergraduates in the computer disciplines. They are sure to bring back additional knowledge that will further help our tech ecosystem to grow.
Training and retraining the lecturers
Dovetailing from the second point above, that technology is dynamic, this also suggests that, the lecturers in the Computer departments of our higher institutions need to be constantly trained and retrained on the emerging new technologies so that they will be well informed to enable them impart knowledge that will be relevant to the ecosystem to the students. Funds for such training should be made available by the government as well as support from the private sector.
Government and private sector patronage
In some other climes, they take their higher institutions very seriously by approaching them for finding solutions to problems. This is by both the government and the private sector. Let us replicate this in Nigeria by approaching our institutions of learning to help us solve our problems here too. This will surely boost the tech environment in the country.
I am sure that, with these few steps in boosting out institutions of higher learning, the Nigerian tech ecosystem will be shored up tremendously.