Nigeria to launch education NIN soon

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The Nigerian government is billed to introduce what it termed the education National Identity Number soon.

This development is borne out of the need to digitise all data relevant to each citizen’s educational sojourn.

The Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Fund (TETFund), Sonny Echono disclosed this on Tuesday while delivering the 26th Convocation Lecture of the Lagos State University, Ojo.

This year’s LASU Convocation Lecture is titled “The Impact of Digitalization on Higher Education in the Digital Age”.

The idea of the eNIN is towards a National Identity and Access Management system in Nigeria’s education sector.

It is not immediately clear if this eNIN would duplicate the already existing NIN issued by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) but Echono alluded to NIN already deployed to check multiple registrations during the conduct of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

Echono had, prior to his appointment at TETFund, served as the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education.

He said that the innovation is among many others on course in recent years to reposition Nigeria’s education sector through digitisation.

“It aims to create a digital identity system that covers teachers, learners, administrators, and other stakeholders in the learning ecosystem,” Echono said.

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Government’s digitalisation efforts

He noted that TETFund had devoted over 27 Billion naira as the ICT Support Intervention from 2016 to date to all its beneficiary institutions. Of this amount, 3.4 Billion was devoted to Digital Literacy and Productivity Skills Capacity Development in the institutions.

TETFund’s beneficiary institutions include about 240 public universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in Nigeria.

Prior to the latest effort towards digitalisation is the certificate verification portal managed by the education ministry. It has made it easy for individuals who schooled in Nigeria to easily get their credentials authenticated wherever that was required.

Ordinarily, the process used to come with a lot of logistical and financial challenges upon students as they have to go to the Federal Ministry of Education headquarters in Abuja and wait long before getting what they required.

This has, in the past four years of its existence, cut down the time it takes waiting to get their certificates verified.

Equally, the education ministry has the Open Education Data portal as a frontier for all information regarding education indices in Nigeria. The OED portal is accessible through the official FME website.

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He added that ICT hubs have been established in each of the 36 states and FCT with equipment to support content production.

In his words, “148 ICT administrators across 36 states and FCT have been trained to support content production and airing of content for radio, TV and digital platforms”.

Mr Echono also disclosed that the country had in May completed a draft of Nigeria’s National Digital Learning Policy has been recently completed. This would better reposition Nigeria in the comity of nations in the digital age.

The LASU example

Earlier, LASU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello disclosed that efforts towards digitisation had encouraged the adoption of hybrid teaching method.

This, she said, would enable students who cannot attend physical classes have an opportunity to join virtual ones irrespective of their locations on the University campuses.

She added that the university had already digitised many of its services such as certificate and transcript processing, school fees payment and other financial transactions for seamless service delivery.

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