Partnership, collaboration and bold steps are vital to bridging the tech skills gap in Nigeria and Africa, Director of the Entrepreneurship and Skills Development Centre (ESDC), Dr Sunday Adebisi, has said.
He spoke during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Coderina, an EdTech not-for-profit organisation that leverages technology as an enabler for social, economic, and gender inclusion and the University of Lagos (UNILAG).
Dr Adebisi, welcomed the University of Lagos’s relationship with CODERINA through the AI-Robotic Lab and ESDC as a development that will enable the students build rare and competitive skills of the future for decent jobs.
He said given that this generation will have to change careers more than 10 times in their lifetime, as a result of many jobs that will go into extinction and other ones that will be birth, there is no better time than now that this quality relationship that supports students to build AI skills should be consummated.
He said: “I am optimistic that our students with the present training arrangement will become globally competitive in employability opportunities, job creation, and entrepreneurship development.”
Coderina lowers the barriers to entry for Africa’s youth to acquire skills and prepare them adequately for the future of work and entrepreneurship.
This partnership model promises to be successful in many areas than robotics. AI, ML Programmes such as COUCH (Coderina University Challenge) will help students hone their creativity and entrepreneurial skills.
Also, the Coderina Project Fair will ensure that students and researchers approached their university dissertations and work to provide solutions to social and economic problems.
Workforce readiness and skills mismatch are issues of great national and societal importance. These need to be tackled headlong. Through this partnership, Coderina plans to democratise access to practical, experiential skills while also helping students gain competencies and lifelong skills
In signing the MoU, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, reaffirmed his confidence in this relationship as what could build enduring skills in our young adult in preparation for the future of work.
He extolled the quality of work that Coderina is doing in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Education, introducing coding and robotics to all 104 Federal Unity Colleges.
The VC stated: “Addressing Africa’s skills gap in the age of technology would require bold steps to be taken in the area of capacity building.”
Ogundipe stressed further quoting the World Economic Forum, “The root of unemployment is not only a lack of jobs; a key underlying issue is also the inadequately educated workforce. And this challenge is likely to be amplified in the coming years due to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, characterized by fast-paced technological progress combined with other socio-economic and demographic changes, which will further transform labor markets. Hence the time to start to address skills shortages is now.”
Speaking at the event, the Lead/Coordinator of the University of Lagos AI & Robotics Lab (AiRoL), Dr. Chika Yinka-Banjo, said the collaboration held transformative potential.
She stated that the benefits of the relationship are already far-reaching. Coderina has donated some robotics kits to the lab, provided training, and has already prepared young learners for the FIRST Lego League Championship, a World Robotics Challenge, and now put together a UNILAG team for FIRST Tech Challenge. This partnership will not only benefit the university, but it will also help create an outreach programme for youth in the neighboring underserved communities.”
According to the Founder of Coderina, Mr. Ajayi, “This partnership brings a unique dimension to academia-third sector collaboration where both organisations mutually benefit through research, knowledge-sharing and practical execution on research findings in the field of robotics, drones technology, AI, entrepreneurship, solve practical problems and unlock vast potential for impact at scale.”