Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu on Wednesday inaugurated a 20 man committee on the establishment of an ICT university. As noble as this gesture is, the move appears to be out of sync with present day realties. Why does the country need an ICT university ?
Proponents of the University some of whom are members of the committee believe that the country needs to train human capacity for the ICT sector and that ICT is the future of the country. If this is the main agenda, why not strengthen the capacity of existing universities, including the universities of technology ? Founders of the global ICT giants such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft did not attend specialized ICT universities. In many cases, they never completed their university education. One needs more than ICT skills to build a global ICT giant tech industry as countries like India and Ukrain has shown.
Even if the government must establish such a university, where is the representation from members of the Nigerian Startup community? At the end of the day, the ICT university will end up like many other tertiary institutions, under funded and operating with an outdated syllabus. How many federal universities in the country have broadband access on campus that is affordable and reliable ?
Teaching ICT should start from the bottom. Many primary and secondary schools in the country do not have functional computers. In some schools, computer science is not even taught. The government should concentrate on creating an enabling environment for the ICT sector to thrive. ICT cant thrive in a country with poor power supply. State and local governments should cut down on taxing telecoms firms and lower fees paid for laying fibre cables.