Kano Interview Series (3)
By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde
KANO INFORMATICS SCHOOL
On Ahmadu Bello Way is the temporary site of Kano Informatics School. It is started by the present administration to empower youths in e-commerce and other internet related businesses. The Director is Hajiya Zainab Abdulkadir. She conducted me around the premises that included computer laboratories, a large internet café and classrooms. In one of the classes, she granted me a chance to speak to a class of about 100 of her young students about blogging. After that, we sat in her office to record the following short interview:
Me: Hello. Malama Zainab. What is the rationale behind this initiative?
Zainab: This is a program under the youth empowerment initiative of the represent administration. It is intended to turn Kano into a centre of e-commerce in addition to its renowned position as centre of commerce. The governor wants everything to be computerized as the world is now reduced to our palms.
Me: So he wants trade to be transacted online…
Zainab: Exactly. A research has shown that 82% of Nigerians going to China are from Kano. So if people will be taught how to email and transact online, that will help a lot. This is the major reason, in addition, of course to job creation in this area for thousands of youths.
Me: When did the school start?
Zainab: It was started last July. We started with 200 students from various local governments in the state. From each local government, ten candidates were examined, from which we admitted 204. They were our initial intake. Later, we took off. Last December, they sat for an international certificate examination called International Foundation in Computer Studies under a UK-based regulating body. The result is already out.
Me: So it is an internationally recognized program?
Zainab: Informatics is an institute in Singapore. Jigawa State has a master franchise of that institute in Nigeria, while we have a sub-franchise agreement with them. All study guides and examinations are done by the institute in Singapore. You know it is the IT-hub of the world. This is what made the governor choose it as the platform for the program.
Me. That is good. When I came here, I have seen various sections of the school. I have seen laboratories where students learn practical skills of what they are taught in the classroom. Now, if you bring a youth from the village and teach him how to use a computer, don’t you think he may never be able to use one or acquire it after graduation? Are your students leaving this place empty handed?
Zainab: No. As it happened to our first set of students, every graduate of this school is given new laptop by his local government. We have admitted another set of students last month. The first are now undergoing a diploma course. After that they will go for the advanced diploma, then for a degree that will be awarded from a recognized university. It is a B.Sc program. So it is just not training but a real academic work.
Me: Knowing that the world is always advancing and man is never short of wishes, what additional thing would you like the government to do here?
Zainab: Alhamdulillah. As I repeatedly say in the media, we are deeply indebted to the governor for the attention he has so far paid to this centre. Regarding courses, yesterday I was appeared before the state executive council and we are promised an approval to enable us increase the number of courses we offer here. For example, on networking, a group from the United States has just visited us. The governor has asked for the submission to enable him approve it soon.
This is our temporary site. Government has started developing our permanent site in Kura and we hope one day we will relocate to it shortly.
Me. Hajiya Zainab, we are grateful. Thank you.
8 June 2012