The Nigerian government has introduced an initiative to connect 27 universities in the country with the fibre-optic internet service.
The country’s minister of communications technology Omobola Johnson said that this initiative will be part of setting up of a Fibre-optic Research and Education Network which is planned to begin next month.
The programme, she added, intends to make internet access at tertiary institutions a priority in the development of ICT in the country as there was a low rate of adoption of ICTs by the citizens.
The minister alleged that 0.9 percent of homes in Nigeria owned a PC, 3.6 percent had access to a PC and 3.1 percent accessed the internet.
This initiative is expected to connect 12 medical collages, 28 off-campus sites and nine federal universities in the country by September this year.
The project is brought about by partnership amongst Nigeria’s ministry of education, the National Universities Commission, Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) and the World Bank.
The minister further said that more tertiary institutions are scheduled to be connected to the network by 2014 and 2015.
The Fibre-optic Research and Education Network has other sub-programs that will go hand in hand to make the growth of ICT in tertiary institutions possible. One of them is the Tertiary Institutions Access Project (TIAP).
The TIAP initiative will provide desktop computers, printers, and wireless network facilities and the like are expected to be delivered to tertiary institutions.
School Access Project (SAP), yet another program, will provide computers, solar power solutions, e-learning content and accessories, high speed internet connectivity and wireless network placement to the Nigerian government schools.
The state universities have also signed up for a scheme that allows students to buy a laptop. The Student Computer Ownership Scheme will use low interest facilities, for the interested students, with low monthly repayment plans of between N 3,500 and N 5,800.