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ABU, UNESCO-ICHEI inaugurate digital transformation of education project

The International Centre for Higher Education Innovation under the auspices of UNESCO (UNESCO-ICHEI) and International Institute of Online Education (IIOE) Nigeria National Centre hosted at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria have formally launched a project on digital transformation of education through teaching and learning.

The project launch followed signing of an agreement for “Project on Empowering Institutional Policy Implementation for Digital Teaching and Learning in Nigeria”.

SOLACEBASE reports that UNESCO-ICHEI and Ahmadu Bello University signed the agreement at a virtual ceremony held at the Institution in Zaria today. Prof. LI Ming, Director, UNESCO-ICHEI, signed for UNESCO-ICHEI, while Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Kabiru Bala, stood in for the University and IIOE Nigeria National Centre.

A statement issued by Director, Public Affairs, Auwalu Umar, on Wednesday said the focus of the project, which will be run under the leadership of the Institution’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Prof. Ahmed Doko Ibrahim, will be on the design, development and production of online courses and contents.

Prof. Muhammed Bashir Mu’azu, Head of Department of Computer Engineering, Ahmadu Bello University, will serve as the Project Manager.

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The agreement is on recognition of the importance of digital teaching and learning in realizing quality, equitable and inclusive higher education responsive to the evolving needs of the labour market driven by the widespread use of digital technologies.

Speaking at the project launch meeting held virtually at Department of Computer Engineering, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria today, the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, said that the Federal Government’s unflinching support to the project knew no bound.

The Executive Secretary, represented by the Deputy Executive Secretary, NUC, Dr. Chris Jibreel Maiyaki, described the occasion as an “exciting moment” for the Nigerian education as the global programme would broaden access to higher education in Nigeria.

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Prof. Rasheed, who congratulated UNESCO-ICHEI, IIOE Nigeria National Centre, and Ahmadu Bello University on the successful launch of the project, also described the team handling the project as formidable.

In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Prof. Kabiru Bala, stressed that the digital learning today was the way to go in higher institutions of learning. He said that the ABU IIOE was redesigned as the International Institute of Online Education (IIOE) Nigeria National Centre in April this year.

He also said that as part of its commitment to the project, the University Senate had in January this year approved the new Teaching and Learning Policy which gave approval for the adoption of Online and Blended Teaching and Learning (OBTL) at all levels of teaching and learning in the University.

Prof. Bala expressed the University’s immense gratitude to UNESCO-ICHEI and other global partners for all the capacity building programmes extended to the Institution, particularly the Createview Smart Classroom established at Department of Computer Engineering.

The Director, UNESCO-ICHEI, Prof. LI Ming, who thanked the National Universities Commission (NUC) and Ahmadu Bello University for their commitment to the project, explained that the effort had paid off as the IIOE Nigeria National Centre had now become attractive.

Equally, Prof. M.B. Mu’azu, Head of Department of Computer Engineering, Ahmadu Bello University, and Manager, IIOE Nigeria National Centre Project; and Prof. Paul Prinsloo, Professor of Open and Distance Learning, University of South Africa spoke. They all talked on project implementation plan.

UNESCO-ICHEI’s other global partners and Nigeria’s national stakeholders participated in the meeting to officially launch the project and present the localised implementation plan.

Chief Expert of IIOE, UNESCO-ICHEI, Prof. LIM Cher Ping, Chair Professor and Associate Dean, Faculty of Education and Human Development, Education University of Hong Kong, China, chaired the presentation on IIOE Nigeria National Centre Project.

Dr. FENG Siyuan, Chief of Knowledge Production and Communication Centre, UNESCO-ICHEI, spoke on “Research Contexts and Project Rationale: Empowering Teachers’ Digital Teaching and Learning”, while Mr. LYU Feng, Chief of IIOE Management Centre and Assistant Director, UNESCO-ICHEI, talked on “Framework of IIOE Pilot Project for Empowering Teachers’ Digital Teaching and Learning”.

Others who spoke at the occasion, were Prof. Aliyu Usman El-Nafaty, Vice-Chancellor, Gombe State University; and Dr. Emmanuel Ada Ojoko, ICT Director, Federal University Dutsin-Ma.

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