Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has tasked the academia to research and come up with solutions to challenges plaguing the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
Danbatta gave this charge in a paper entitled: “The Place of Academia in the Telecoms Ecosystem’’ at the first Stakeholders Consultative Forum with Academia in Abuja.
According to him, the academics should be able to go into research and find a solution to issues such as channel congestion that had been hampering smooth communication by subscribers.
He said that there seemed to be disconnections between the academia and the life on the streets as well as the daily expectations of the ordinary man.
“The academia is not living up to our expectations when its expertise is not wired into the experience of the kind of market we are speaking about.
“The academia should be at the vanguard of translating the technicality of technology to suit the needs of those who use them thereby making life easy for society.
“It is the responsibility of the academia to reclaim its expected role by ensuring that research activities of its members will enhance and re-orient the market needs of the consumers and they will benefit from it.
“The academia must attune itself to the reality on the street and search for solutions that can enhance life and businesses; it must contribute to the real world,’’ Danbatta said.
The NCC boss said that the forum was important because the commission aimed to use it to help the academia to impact life and businesses with their research and scholarships.
“The Nigerian Communications Act 2003, among others encourages the development of communications manufacturing and supply sector within the Nigerian economy.
“It also mandates the promotion of effective research and development efforts by all communications industry partners,’’ he said.
Danbatta, therefore, called on the academia to play a more productive role in the telecommunications industry with their researches having in focus the Buhari administrations change agenda of fighting corruption, providing employment and security.
Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, executive secretary of the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC), called for strategic partnership among all stakeholders.
“We need to work together to develop a list of competences and competences indicators to bridge the job gaps relevant in the telecom sector.
“We need to equip most of our lecturers to be in tune with the global trend in technological advancement, lecturers must be competent in building the capacity of our students.
“We need to enhance teachers’ quality, funding and have the correct focus for the funds.
“There must be a well articulated plan on what funds should be used for and the time-frame when such objectives must be achieved,’’ Rasheed said.
Rasheed said that the role of the commission was to leverage on adequate curriculum development and accreditation that would eventually lead to output management of best ICT products.
Mrs Abigail Sholanke, the Director, Research and Development of NCC said that the academia had its extensive relevance in contributing to growing knowledge to address concerns in the society.
Sholanke represented by Mr Henry Okenwa, said that research was of great importance in the telecommunications industry as the level of competition and products of innovations were rapidly increasing.
“The commission therefore is poised to consolidate its collaboration with the academia and chart new courses for the development of new models or modules of products in the telecommunications sector.
“This will be done in conjunction with technical experts and the academia, the commission will also provide research grants for approved prototypes and research works,’’ he said.
Sholanke said that the academia would be more effective if properly funded and structured, this he added could impact positively on business and society.
“This was why the NCC wanted among other things to create a partnership with the academia,’’ she said.