By Emeka Aginam (04 March 2009)
Originally posted here.
A batch A 2008 National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Mr. Oluwakorede Asuni has successfully launched the first public high school web portal in Niger State – www.GovernmentSecondarySchoolMX.org.
The system, which was created for the Government Secondary School Minna Niger State, where Mr. Asuni is completing his primary community service assignment, will serve a number of purposes for not only the staff and students of the school, but also the general public and a broader worldwide audience.
These purposes include:
• An online billboard – making the school accessible to a worldwide audience;
• A means of internal communications (for staff and students) – allowing teachers to leave home work for their students, for example;
• A central source of information for internal and external use _ divided into two major sections: public or general area and member area which requires registration;
• And a custom email system.
At the launch event on Thursday 19th February 2009, the school management, led by the Rev. Fr. J. D. O’Connell (MFR) was positive about the project, which he described as something long in the making.
He thanked Mr. Asuni for taking time out to design, implement and train teachers and students to manage the system, which will be in place well after he has completed his one year community service as a part of the NYSC.
Jummai Umar_Ajijola, Citizenship Manager for Microsoft Nigeria who was represented at the event by Nana Mintah Adjooh, citizenship co_ordinator, said that the strides that Mr. Asuni has taken regarding the empowerment of the state’s youth to participate in the emerging knowledge economy serves as an example of the positive change that locally_relevant and meaningful technology can bring about.
“There is a clear need for multi_stakeholder partnerships to ensure the entrenchment and continued utilisation of technology in Nigeria’s Education system,” Hajia Umar_Ajijola said.
“Microsoft Nigeria has many partnerships with Government and other stakeholders involved with education – all of which aim to empower teachers and students in Nigeria to take advantage of the vast resource base that comprises Microsoft for Education.”
The school’s old boys association’s delegation _ some of whom had travelled down from their bases outside the country have pledged to take over all financial responsibilities for the school’s web portal _ to cater for any upgrades that may have to be undertaken after the first two years that have been funded by Mr. Asuni.
Mr. Abubakar Salisu, director of the Department of ICT in the ministry of Science and Technology for Niger State, speaking on behalf of the ministry’s commissioner, has lauded the project, which he described as a positive pre_emption of the state government’s plan to create a central school web_portal for all schools in Niger State.
“The ministry pledges continued support from the government for such initiatives, which aim to improve the way that teachers and students interact with each other and the inter_connected world outside of the school’s boundaries.
“Mr. Asuni is very driven, energetic and a positive optimist who other young people should emulate for the general betterment of Nigeria as one of Africa’s most technologically_progressive countries,” he said.
The portal, which is built on Microsoft technology, can be supported from virtually anywhere in the world, which makes Mr. Asuni’s commitment to the school even greater.
As part of his commitment, Mr. Asuni, who is also an Anti_Cyber Crime ambassador for Microsoft, will also spend a few days annually in the school helping out with other engagements that can help the school develop its students’ technology capabilities and prepare them adequately for the challenges they may face in a world of evolving technology.
”I am beginning work to create similar systems for other educational institutions in Nigeria, utilising a social enterprise business model, which entails cost_effectively delivering important services not necessarily for financial returns,” Mr Asuni said.
”These efforts are in line with my commitments to engaging young people positively in the use of technology and creating alternative channels away from the menace of cyber_crime, which plagues our country’s youth and tarnishes the country’s image everywhere,” he added.
“It is critically important that in today’s modern society, we promote access to technology for Nigeria’s youth. It is very necessary to help them prepare for a place of relevance in the emerging knowledge economy, and the earlier we do this in their education, the more experience they will gain when the time comes to enter the working world,” Mr. Asuni concluded.