NITDA Urges NELFUND to Embrace Digital Skills for Student Loans

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DG NITDA Kashifu Inuwa presenting the NITDA Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan(SRAP 2.0) to the Executive Secretary NELFUND Akintunde Sawyer at the Agency's Headquarters in Abuja.

In a significant paradigm shift towards skill acquisition, Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, former Director General of NITDA, has advocated for NELFUND’s integration of short digital courses to empower Nigerians. Inuwa stressed the importance of equipping citizens with globally sought-after skills to position Nigeria as a hub for talent export.

Inuwa, who made this known in Abuja while receiving a delegation from NELFUND led by the Executive Secretary Mr Akintunde Sawyer, stressed the significance of integrating short digital courses into NELFUND’s student loan initiative.

Further, he emphasized the importance of bridging the gap between education and industry demands to facilitate smoother transitions for graduates into the workforce.

Transitioning from a certificate-centric approach to one focused on skill acquisition is deemed vital in today’s evolving landscape, Inuwa asserted.

DG NITDA Kashifu Inuwa with the Executive Secretary NELFUND Akintunde Sawyer and members of the Management team from both organisations during a visit at the NITDA Headquarters in Abuja

He highlighted the need for collaboration among stakeholders – higher institutions, corporate entities, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and the government – to ensure alignment with industry needs.

“Higher institutions of learning produce the human capital, so they need to be worked with closely because they need to understand the skills in demand,” he stated.

“For Entrepreneurs, they could be students, dropouts, or anybody who has an idea that meets a need.”

Additionally, Inuwa acknowledged the ongoing efforts between NITDA and the Federal Ministry of Education to revamp tertiary curriculums. He emphasized the importance of instilling an entrepreneurial mindset among students, encouraging them to view certificates as tools for job creation.

Highlighting Nigeria’s potential to attract foreign investment, Inuwa urged the encouragement of indigenous venture capitalists.

“70 per cent of that investment comes from the United States while we have Nigerians who have money,” he pointed out.

More so, Inuwa further recommended enhancing the user experience of the NELFUND portal, advocating for mobile accessibility and data protection compliance. He assured NELFUND of NITDA’s unwavering support, aligning with the agency’s strategic vision.

Mr. Sawyer, Executive Secretary of NELFUND, echoed Inuwa’s sentiments, emphasizing the initiative’s goal of expanding access to tertiary education through interest-free loans. “Our mission is to strive to revolutionise higher education accessibility in Nigeria,” he affirmed.

Sawyer expressed the organization’s openness to collaboration and improvement, acknowledging NITDA’s role in challenging them to excel.

The convergence of efforts between NELFUND and NITDA signified a concerted drive towards empowering Nigeria’s educational landscape and fostering national development.

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