By Adedapo Adesanya
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)-partnered King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the use of ICT in education has opened and is accepting applications.
The theme of the 2020 edition is the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance the continuity and quality of learning.
The recent crisis in the education sector as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has made the focus of this year’s event very important.
Technology innovations fueled by AI have the potential to locate and reach excluded and marginalized groups and provide quality learning programmes for learners in emergency contexts or learners with physical and cognitive disabilities.
AI technologies can also help accurately analyse the difficulties faced by students studying in a language other than their mother tongue. At the same time, they can support teachers with a better diagnosis of learning problems and personally adaptive feedback to improve pedagogical responses.
Two winners will be selected by the Director-General of UNESCO based on the recommendations of an international Jury and each winner will receive a reward of $25,000 and a diploma.
The prize is not a grant scheme aimed at supporting new projects or organisation. It is aimed at recognising already implemented projects and activities.
Who can Apply?
Individuals, institutions, non-governmental organizations or other entities.
The project should be ongoing for at least one year. It should not be affiliated with UNESCO or receive any funding from the global agency.
The technology solutions used by the project should be designed completely for the public good or for charitable purposes, meaning that they should not be the free parts of commercial applications or application packages that only offer limited functions free of charge while requesting users to pay for advanced functions.
Relevance to the thematic focus: The project is in line with the objectives of the prize and is relevant to the specific theme of the year.
Innovation: The project applies innovative technologies and Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enhanced solutions or blends AI and conventional technologies in a new innovative way.
Evidence of Impact: The project should provide evidence of improved learning outcomes of the targeted beneficiaries.
Potential for Replicability and Scalability: The project should show evidence that it can be replicated in other contexts or have the potential to further optimize and scale its impact.
Inclusion and Equity: The project should use AI or innovative technologies to advance inclusion and equity in education while taking into account marginalized groups, leaners in crisis and emergency contexts, and learners with physical or cognitive disabilities.
All projects should be nominated by a National Commission for UNESCO or a NGO in official partnership with UNESCO. Self-nominations will not be accepted.
How to Apply?
The applicants should first request access to the online platform and then fill in an online form.
For the application to be considered, it should be nominated by either the National Commission of the UNESCO Member State or an NGO in official partnership with UNESCO.
All applicants are encouraged to get in touch with the NGO or National Commission ahead of the application process. Self-nominations will not be accepted.
Governments of UNESCO member states, as well as NGOs in official partnership with UNESCO, are invited to elicit and nominate up to three projects, which are in line with the 2020 theme and meet the selection criteria.
The deadline for nominations is December 18, 2020 (midnight, Paris time)
National Library of Nigeria to Embrace Digital Operations
By Adedapo Adesanya
The National Library of Nigeria has disclosed that it would soon embrace digital operations by gradually adopting virtual libraries as an alternative to the traditional library system in the country.
This was made known by the National Librarian, who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the body, Mr Lenrie Olatotunbo Aina.
He said virtual libraries will enhance knowledge or information in every published article, book, and gazettes to be read globally.
Mr Aina made this revelation at a two-day 2021 sensitization workshop on legal deposit compliance and demonstration of the newly developed ‘International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) and International Standard Book Number(ISBN), held in Enugu, from July 22 to Friday, July 23.
In an interview, he lamented the deplorable state of Nigerian libraries with a dearth of books and updated information to poor leadership.
However, he stressed that the organisation was working to join the modern trend of electronic and virtual libraries imploring internet services.
He disclosed that the Nigeria library services have started taking steps in this direction by gazetting the federal governments’ catalogues electronically, just as they are doing for the Lagos state government currently.
He assured that very soon, Nigeria would fully join the league of nations where the system of the virtual library is en vogue.
His words, “With a virtual library, every information you want to know about Nigeria, issues, books, gazettes will be easily accessed on the internet. We are working seriously with other government agencies to achieve this feat for the best interest of the country.”
Commenting on the purpose of the sensitization workshop on legal deposit compliance and demonstration of the newly developed ISSN and International ISBN, Mr Aina said the exercise is in line with the international community’s demand for every book published throughout the globe to have a unique number for identification.
He said the exercise was meant to ensure that two different published books across the globe must not possess the same number.
He emphasised that the exercise will also help to guard against piracy in some countries like Nigeria, where the menace is rampant.
The sensitization which is meant for publishers, authors, researchers, printers, librarians, academia, government Printers, booksellers, among others saw participants from Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu states.
FG Approves Agric Institute in Nasarawa
By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government has approved the establishment of the Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Development Institute in Nasarawa State to boost industrialisation in the Northern state.
This disclosure was made by Governor Abdullahi Sule in Lafia on Saturday at the opening ceremony of the Lafia City Mall, a subsidiary of Wave Mart Group of Companies.
Mr Sule said the agric institute would be located in Lafia as a step forward in terms of industrialising the state, adding that it also indicated the readiness of the state to maximize the diverse opportunities in the agriculture sector especially agriculture mechanization.
“We are ready here in Lafia. Lafia is attracting a lot in the area of agriculture industrialization. I am very happy.
“In fact, I woke up this morning extremely happy because last night, I receive the approval from Mr President for the setting up of the Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Development Institute right here in Lafia.
“I want to use this opportunity to extend my greatest appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari. Just a few weeks ago, we realized that there are going to be about three or four institutes that are about to be established.
“I now wrote for the establishment of the institute in the state and just yesterday, Mr President approved it and we are going to establish that institute right here in Lafia,” he said.
Mr Sule added that aside from the institute, the state government had also recently signed an agreement with the Gurku-Kabusu community in the Karu local government area of the state for the commencement of an industrial zone on 13,000 hectares of land in the area.
He explained that the choice of the area was due to its close proximity to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, which thereby offers a huge market potential to the investor in the zone.
He said that it also made the business initiative beneficial to the state, the industrialists and the host community.
“Today, we concluded by signing with the people. Gurku-Kabusu is just five kilometres from Maitama. With that type of opportunity that we have, that will be mutually beneficial to the state, the community and the industrialists, we are ready now for industrialization in that area,” he said.
The governor also revealed that in line with his policy to engage youths in skills acquisition, an institute for skill acquisition has been completed with equipment being procured for the various skill offices in the centre.
He then thanked Wave Mart Group of Companies for setting up the mall, adding that other investors who indicate interest to invest in the state would have no regrets.
“I want to thank you, the CEO of Wave Mart Group for your continuous belief and trust in Nasarawa state and I want to thank you also for giving us the opportunity to prove to the world that Nasarawa state is set for investment.
“Any investor that is interested, that is coming to Nasarawa state, there is no better time to come than now,” he said.
In his address, Mr Emmanuel Umoru, Chairman of Wave Mart Group of Companies, said the Lafia City Mall was not the first but the third investment of the group in the state.
He said given the investments and the years spent investing in the state, he has been able to convince other investors to come for themselves and inspect the security situation with the option of also investing in the state.
Mr Umoru then disclosed that the Lafia City Mall which so far has gulped about N678 million would employ more than a hundred staff with most of the staff been indigenes of the state.
“The reason for establishing this kind of facility is not just for making money but to give employment to our teeming youths.
“This is a state we have invested in for almost about seven years now and to the glory of God, we have no reason to regret. On this note, I make bold to say that we shall come again. We appreciate your drive for investment in the state,” he said.
On his part, the Emir of Lafia, Sidi Bage appreciated the private sector drive of the governor and also lauded the Wave Mart Group of Companies for choosing Lafia to locate their investment.
PMI Begins Free Online Course on Project Execution
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Individuals willing to have knowledge of best practices and tools needed to effectively manage projects from ideation to execution can now register for a free online course introduced by Project Management Institute (PMI).
PMI is the world’s leading association for project professionals and changemakers and through its KICKOFF programme, it hopes to equip participants with the best global practices in the field.
Much of the working world revolves around projects, which have become more complex than ever due to global Megatrends, including COVID-19, climate change, and more.
The need for changemakers, regardless of industry or position level, to be well-versed in the principles of project management in order to help drive results, has never been greater.
KICKOFF is the ideal solution for those who are new to doing project-based work and would benefit from learning project managements skills to help successfully navigate the process from idea to launch and execution.
The course is packed with digestible content, downloadable templates, a glossary of key terms, and thoughtful questions to ask to help anyone kick off any project at any time.
According to PMI’s Pulse of the Profession® report, an estimated 11.4 per cent of all investment into projects currently goes to waste due to poor project performance and an inability to nimbly adapt and execute in our rapidly changing world.
Introducing changemakers to project management strategies and tools enables single learners and entire teams to have the framework in place to adapt quickly and efficiently to help reduce wasted time and investment.
KICKOFF is the free, go-to resource for those looking to quickly learn the basics of effective and strategic project management to complete projects on time and within budget.
“KICKOFF is an easily deployable resource to ensure all employees and team members have the foundational skills to seamlessly collaborate and work smarter,” said George Asamani, the Business Development Lead for Africa at PMI.
“KICKOFF arms everyone from first-time project team members to C-Suite executives with the knowledge to kick start a project at any time to help drive results and deliver value,” he added.
No two projects are the same, so KICKOFF uses a guided questionnaire to tailor the learning experience based on the best project management approach for the needs of the project.
Learners are presented with a series of short modules that can be completed in sequence or in any order. The modules include bite-sized content focused on the fundamentals, and templates to be downloaded or distributed for immediate use.
Accessible to anyone from their laptop, phone, or tablet, KICKOFF can be completed in just 45 minutes, and is available in five languages: English, Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish, and French.
Following completion of the KICKOFF course, learners will receive a badge to share on their professional social media profiles to show their peers and company that they have the foundational skills to successfully lead any project.
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