Nigeria’s minister of education, Tahir Mamman, a professor, said recently that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the establishment of the National Databank for the education sector.
The FEC has also approved a national policy for the operation of the National Education Repository and Data Bank (NERD) system, he said.
The minister disclosed this at a stakeholders’ engagement and sensitisation on the establishment of the NERD system and the national policy for its implementation held at the Federal Ministry of Education in Abuja.
The minister was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Andrew Adejo.
How it started
Mr Mamman said the education ministry had since 2014 worked with key stakeholders such as the National Universities Commission (NUC), the Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC), and subject matter experts from the private sector, to craft the best and most holistic national policy to guide the operation of the NERD, focusing on education content preservation, exchange, and commercialisation.
A communique issued at the end of the stakeholders’ engagement, noted that the NERD system would serve as the central electronic platform for the storage of academic publications, data, documents, and records across “tiers of educational structures and library services in Nigeria.”
The communique added that the NYSC and the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) “would handshake the NERD data for the mobilisation of students for National Youth Service scheme and the Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES).”
The communique reads in part: “NERD will be a one-stop shop for educational information across all cadres of post-secondary schools and tertiary institutions regardless of ownership type- whether state, federal, private, public, military or civilian, and that NERD shall enhance the integrity of education records and credentials.
“The NERD scheme will entrench education data preservation and inter-institution collaboration, eliminate opacity in education content management, and protect proprietary works.”
Use of NERD
The communique added that the NERD system will be operated by the private sector on behalf of the government so as to ensure greater efficiency and sustainability.
It stated that the principal servers of the one-stop central national database of the NERD would be domiciled at the National Data Centre of NERD, adding that NERD has been granted the status of a data controller for the education sector in the approved national policy.
“For sustainability and to avoid interference of any kind, the contract between the Federal Government and the private sector partner should entrench legal clauses that would discourage political interference or willful sabotage due to change in government,” it stated.
The communique added that the NERD would extend similar workshops to train regulatory agencies, librarians and ICT operators in all the nation’s higher institutions for the project.
Participants at engagement
The stakeholders present at the engagement, according to the communique, included the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) represented by the Director at the Office of the Executive Secretary, John Mairafi; the National Librarian of the National Library, Chinwe Anunobi, a professor; and the Director General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) who was represented by Oluwafemi Osugbohun, a director.
Others are the Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Economic Affairs, Tope Fasua; the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Public Affairs, Temitope Ajayi; and the Senior Legislative Aide to the Senate President on Stakeholders Matters, Femi Odere; Director ICT, at the education ministry, Isah Abubakar, who represented the Permanent Secretary, Coordinator of the Nigeria Research and Education Network (NgREN), Joshua Atah; Managing Director, Education Virtual Infrastructure Services, Tunji Ariyomo; and Director Special Duties, Zubairu Abdullahi.
Qosim Suleiman is a reporter at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe
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