FG approves $9.5B national education data bank

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The Federal Government has given the green light for the establishment of the National Education Repository and Databank (NERD) system. Prof. Tahir Mamman, the Minister of Education, made the announcement during a stakeholders’ engagement and sensitization program in Abuja.

Mamman highlighted that, in addition to securing approval from the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the national policy for NERD’s operation has also been endorsed.

According to Mamman, NERD marks a significant moment in Nigeria’s post-secondary and tertiary education history, representing a groundbreaking initiative by the Federal Government. Over the next five years and beyond, the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with key stakeholders, aims to lead an unprecedented effort to digitize academic reports and publications dating back to 1932 from all types of institutions, ensuring inclusivity without compromising institutional autonomy.

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Minister of State for Youth Development, Mr. Ayodele Olawande, expressed admiration for the government’s proactive approach to addressing a critical national issue of knowledge preservation. The Permanent Secretary, David Adejo, shared that the ministry initiated engagement on the NERD project in 2014, working closely with the National Universities Commission (NUC) and experts to develop a comprehensive policy.

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Adejo emphasized that NERD is part of a holistic government effort to promote perpetual document and record preservation in electronic formats, contributing positively to national security and prestige. He revealed a collaboration with the private sector to establish the first private-sector-led automated National Education Document Bank in Africa, serving as a commercial enterprise and a key player in the nation’s digital economy.

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Speakers at the event, including the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Affairs, Dr. Tope Fasua, and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Tope Ajayi, commended the ministry’s focus on knowledge curation for economic advancement. International case studies were provided by Ms. Rachel Adams, representing venture capital funds associated with Education Virtual Infrastructure Services (EVIS).

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The project’s lead consultant, Engr Olatunji Ariyomo, and Director of Special Duties in the Federal Ministry of Education, Zubairu Abdullahi, facilitated a session where participants from various education sectors and student leaders expressed strong support for the NERD project. Contributors included the National Librarian, Prof. Chinwe Veronica Anunobi, the Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps, and representatives from academic institutions across the country.

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