COVID-19: SIFAX Boss Calls for Upgraded University ICT infrastructure

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By Jerry Aguigbo

With the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic onslaughts that slowed down teaching and learning in the
country’s educational institutions, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, Group Executive Vice
Chairman, SIFAX Group, has tasked relevant stakeholders in the education
ecosystem on the need to upgrade information communication technology (ICT)
infrastructure in schools across the country.
Afolabi made this call while delivering the keynote address at the just 5th Annual
International Conference of the Faculty of Education, Obafemi Awolowo
University, Ile-Ife with the theme “COVID-19 and the Emerging Issues in
Education”.
Afolabi, who was represented by Mr. Bode Ojeniyi, Group Executive Director, who said this would provide unhindered access to quality education to all
students at all levels, irrespective of their socio-economic status, especially during unforeseen
circumstances.
He noted that, “the COVID-19 has exposed the inadequacies in our educational sector,
as teaching and learning were affected during the lockdown and post-COVID 19.
There is need for a “state of emergency” to be declared in the education sector in
Nigeria, particularly in the public institutions, towards the upgrade of the entire
educational infrastructure with particular emphasis on ICT equipment and skills
re-tooling in schools that will support virtual teaching and learning.
“The government apart from coming up with enabling policies to support private-
sector-led initiatives, must also consider setting aside “special funds” through any
or all of its development agencies to be dedicated to the development of the
educational sector technology infrastructure upgrade and personnel
training/teaching faculties skills upgrade.”

The SIFAX boss also called on all stakeholders in the sector, including parents, alumni,
alumni associations, wealthy private individuals, philanthropists and corporate
organizations to lend a hand in the transition of the educational sector to a 21st
century compliant one which is driven largely by technology.

Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, the institution’s Vice Chancellor, speaking earlier commended
Dr. Taiwo Afolabi and SIFAX Group for its numerous support and interventions in
the education sector, adding that its financial support for its Faculty of Education
and other faculties in the school is well appreciated.
Prof Bola Omotesho, Dean, Faculty of Education, appropriated Dr. Taiwo Afolabi for his efforts and
support towards the international conference and further asked for more support to reposition the faculty for improved teaching and research.

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