The federal government has approved the establishment of the National Education Repository and Databank, NERD, system.
Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, SAN, disclosed this at the stakeholders’ engagement and sensitization programme for the project held in Abuja.
Mamman said apart from the approval of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, for the project, it had also approved the national policy for its operation.
He described the unveiling of NERD to the stakeholders as “a pivotal moment in the history of post-secondary and tertiary education in Nigeria and a ground-breaking initiative of the Federal Government.”
The minister said: “In the next five years and beyond, the Federal Ministry of Education, with the support of the NUC, NBTE, NCCE, the National Library of Nigeria, and other key stakeholders, will be leading the NERD project as an unprecedented digitalization and the digitization effort aimed at capturing from as far back as 1932 every single past academic report and publications ever generated in any of our institutions regardless of ownership type, whether public or private, military or civilian.
“This remains the most audacious attempt ever to aggregate all knowledge, past and present, ever produced in our tertiary institutions and post-secondary schools without compromising the autonomy enjoyed by certain cadres of tertiary institutions, especially universities.”
Minister of State for Youth Development, Mr. Ayodele Olawande, who was part of the programme, commended the ministry, stating that the day “was the greatest day of his life” as he was witnessing the Federal Government employing the institution of state to solve a most critical national problem on knowledge preservation.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, David Adejo, disclosed that the ministry began to engage the proponent in 2014 and had worked with the NUC and subject matter experts to develop the comprehensive policy.
Adejo stated that “the NERD project is a holistic effort of the federal government to mainstream the culture of perpetual document and record preservation in electronic formats as a definitive craft, with positive implications for national security and prestige.
“The Ministry of Education is collaborating with the private sector to set up the first ever private-sector-led automated National Education Document Bank in the history of Africa as a commercial enterprise and a bold statement as a principal contributor to the nation’s digital economy.”
Other speakers at the event were the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Affairs, Dr. Tope Fasua, who eulogized the ministry for its focus on knowledge curation for the purpose of economic advancement.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Tope Ajayi, commended the ministry for keying into the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, while Ms Rachel Adams who represented the venture capital funds working with Education Virtual Infrastructure Services, EVIS, provided best practice insights from international case studies.
The project’s lead consultant, Engr Olatunji Ariyomo, and the Director of Special Duties in the Federal Ministry of Education, Zubairu Abdullahi, later anchored the comments, questions and answer sessions where participants from across the education sector as well as student leaders all expressed their strong support for the NERD project.
Contributors at the programme included the National Librarian and CEO of the National Library, Prof. Chinwe Veronica Anunobi, the Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps, represented by Mr Oluwafemi Osugbohun, a director, former Dean of Environmental Studies at the Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti, Dr. Oyedokun Abiodun, and the Senior Legislative Aide to the Senate President on Stakeholders’ Matters who moderated the expert session, Mr Femi Odere.
Others were Mr Isah Abubakar, the Director of ICT in the Federal Ministry of Education, the Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Prof. (Mrs) Adenike Oladiji, Sub-Dean Academics, Federal University Duntsin-Ma, Dr. Haruna Abdullahi who was a contributor to the policy, Dr. Mike Ajie, a post-graduate coordinator at the Delta State University, Abraka who was also a contributor to the policy, the Senate President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Comrade Felix Attah, former President of NANS, Mr. Femi Osabinu, and Mr. Shuaibu Muhammad Umar, Director of ICT at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) who represented the ABU Vice Chancellor among several others.