Prof. Ibrahim Garba, the Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, says the institution had secured over N53 million from UNESCO-ICHEI for the establishment of Smart Classroom.
Garba disclosed this at the 2nd International Conference of Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (IEEE) at the main campus of university in Samaru, Zaria, in Kaduna.
Newsmen report that the two-day conference was organised by IEEE Nigeria, Computer chapter, in collaboration with the Department of Computer Engineering of the institution.
The theme of the conference is: The Role of Computing in the Evolution and Development of Emergent and Alternative Technologies.
Garba was represented by the Head, Department (HOD), Computer Engineering, Prof. Mohammed Mu’azu.
According to him, it is understandable that the emergence of some of the disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications can be developed to facilitate blended or online teaching and learning.
“We look forward to such outcomes from this conference.
“The university is committed to this kind of initiative and has recently secured over N53 million intervention fund from UNESCO-ICHEI for the setting-up of Smart Classroom in the university,” he said.
This, according to him, holds very important infrastructure for the development of online content, adding that the university will also sign partnership with the International Institute of Online Education (IIOE).
He said it was an initiative of the UNESCO-ICHEL and the Centre for Higher Education Research (CHER) of the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), Shenzhen, China.
While appreciating the decision of the institution’s Computer Engineering department to host the conference, the vice chancellor also said it was a welcome development and a boost to the department.
Garba observed that the theme of the conference was very apt as the university was keen on exploring the full potentials of ICT in enhancing teaching and learning experience.
Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), said the commission was collaborating with Nigerian universities on funding telecommunication industry-focused research and innovation.
Danbata, who was represented by Alhaji Abubakar Maina, office of the Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC, said the NCC through its Department of Research and Development, which is a creation of the present CEO, is extensively collaborating with the academia.
“This collaboration is in the area of development of emergence and alternative technology by promoting and funding telecommunication industry-focused research and innovation.
“This year alone, the commission received a total of 63 research proposals from the academia all over the nation and these proposals are currently being evaluated by a competent committee for possible funding,” he said.
Danbatta assured the academic community that the commission would gladly welcome more telecommunication industry-focused innovation and research proposals in the area of emerging and alternative technology.
Dr Tunde Salihu, the Chairman, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (IEEE) Nigeria, Computer Chapter, said the choice of the theme was conceived to reflect relevant modern trend and technology in the practice of computer engineering.
He also said it was also relevant to Computer Science and Information Technology toward national development.
He debunked the saying that IEEE had not been active in the North, noting that the maiden edition of the institute’s international conference was held in Ilorin, Kwara, in Nov. 2016.
Salihu lauded members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and others who contributed to the success of the occasion.
The chairman said IEEE is the largest professional body worldwide with about 430,000 members, adding that the institute controlled over one-third of all the information in relation to electrotech in the world.
“Here I am talking about standard, I am talking about proceedings, I am talking about any information in electrical engineering.
“And some-how, we have not been collaborating enough with ABU; however, I stand here as one of the two active IEEE heads in Nigeria that we are going to be working with ABU more than what we have done in the past.
“One of the easiest ways to be working with you is to have more of your members joining IEEE. I invite both students and lecturers to come and join us,” he said.
Earlier, the HOD, Computer Engineering, Mu’azu commended the IEEE, the ABU management and NCC for the support and confidence reposed on the department to host the conference.
He pledged the department’s commitment to offer students and the entire community the benefits of its knowledge and skills to ensure that they became competitive in the 21st century workplace.
“This is reflected in the content of our programmes and the support system in place to encourage students with innovative ideas.
“We produced two of the three students that were in the team that came 3rd in the Huawei local ICT Skills Competition finals that took place in Shenzhen, China in May.
“We also produced one of the 10 students that represented Nigeria at the `Seeds for Future’ training tour of China last year orgnised by Huawei,” he said.
Newsmen report that the conference also featured exhibition where recent research findings in computer engineering were displayed.