Written by Godfrey AKON

Lafia varsity deploys bandwidth IT, bans handouts

Federal University, Lafia, Nassarawa State, has fully interconnected its services to the Nigeria Research and Education Network, NgREN, an internet broadband network operated by the National Universities Commission, NUC.

Speaking during the commissioning of the project in Abuja through video conferencing from Lafia, Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Ekanem Braide, said the connectivity was funded by part sums of the regular allocation released to the university by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund.

Ekanem expressed confidence that with the deployment of the technology, the institution is poised to make remarkable improvement in research, teaching and learning, adding that the connectivity has forced a total ban on handouts in the institution.

The VC noted that lectures were uploaded into the bandwidth at the beginning of each semester for students to access them online, anywhere they are.

She said the university was driven by the determination to become a renowned institution of learning and innovation for positive socio economic transformation of the nation, and was convinced that it needed the bandwidth connectivity to effectively carry out its mandate.

According to her, in carrying out its mission of training graduates and equipping them with skills for socio economic development, the university focuses on the core values of integrity, innovation and excellence, which have earned it laurels at various fora.

Earlier, the head of the Nigerian Research and Education Network in NUC, Dr. Joshua Atta, who briefed participants on the immediate benefits of the NgREN, said federal university Lafia was connected to the bandwidth at the reduced cost of $50 per mbps per month.

Atta said the cost had been reduced from $1, 260 to $50 through the elimination of middlemen, economies of scale and purchase of bandwidth at the international market.

He noted that the technology would ensure improvement in ranking and visibility of Nigerian universities internationally as their local content becomes available to the international community.

Atta added that the technology would also help in the expansion of access, bridge the high gap of lecturer to students’ ratio in universities as well as improve the quality of research, among other benefits.

Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof. Julius Okojie disclosed that efforts were being made for the Federal Government to fund the second phase of NgREN to connect more public universities to the network.

Okojie said 28 universities were now connected to the bandwidth since its commissioning on the 8th of July 2014, warning that any university that is unable to participate in NgREN will lose out as government would fund its expansion.

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