At DBI Lagos, our graduates are world class – Ugwoke
Paulinus Ugwoke is the head of the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), Lagos campus. In this interview he shares the values of the institute which is fast becoming the centre of first choice in digital knowledge.
Why DBI Lagos was set up
This institute was set up to bridge the digital gap in the country. There was a need which is why the government thought it wise through the Nigerian Communications Commission to set up DBI; and since 2004, the institute has trained over 50,000 Nigerians in the area of ICT/Telecommunications. The establishment of the Lagos campus in 2008 became necessary to serve the South West/ International axis. Some persons from West African countries (Liberia, Sierra Leone etc.) have come here to take courses. Like you know, the Lagos population and its commercial dynamism make it even the more needed.
Our certificate is recognised; we know that Lagos Campus is not yet known because like you rightly pointed out people still consider this place to be owned by NITEL which is a challenge to us, and this is why we’re carrying out advertising campaigns to this effect for people to realise that this place is now the DBI.
This place has just been renovated but some work is still on-going. The renovation started since 2009, this is to tell you that the government is committed to having a standard institute of repute. We also have the DBI academy, Lagos which is geared towards catching them young at a very tender age; the school is undergoing renovation.
We have reached the South East/South South and training people through the Advanced Training Programme for Tertiary Institutions, ADAPTI, and sometimes we organise booth camps. Once you pass through this institute to do any certificate programme in the area of ICT, of course people will know that you must be good in whatever area you must have been trained. We train both academic and non-academic staff of higher institutions and even where there’s no internet we provide mobile internet to help aid the learning process so that they can know how the internet components work, which is why we have both theory and hands on training (practical). We go by the model: Hear, See, Touch and Do.
We admit secondary school students, non-students as well as those in corporate organisations (public and private). Right now accreditation is on-going for us to run the national innovation diploma programme. A lot of people have done short courses and they need a certificate where after doing a programme here they should be able to use it to advance; which is one of the things we’ve considered and we decided to have courses that will target secondary school leavers. This will help them understand ICT and telecommunications.
We’ve received approval from the Ministry of Education, through the National Board for Technical Education to run a course of National Innovation Diploma in 5 areas of ICT and telecommunications: Computer Software Engineering, Computer Hardware Engineering, Computer Network and System Security, Telecommunications Technologies and Multi-media.
These are the 5 courses we run to target these youngsters and even people in the industry. Someone may graduate from the social or biological sciences and decide to go into IT. Some have even been practising some of these things without formal training, so this is an opportunity for them to come and obtain a diploma or certificate to back up the experiences they’ve gathered.
Most of our courses here are short courses so we graduate students on a daily, weekly and monthly basis because we have 3 and 5 days courses as well as 2 weeks depending on what suits your needs and your schedule so we have to do a lot of advertisement online and offline to get students to enrol for these courses. For now we have just about 20 students on campus for the National Innovation Diploma course. This is because we got accreditation late.
What stands DBI out?
Most of these other institutions specialise in ICT. There are very few institutions that specialise in core telecommunications; like fibre, transmission, broadband ecosystem etc. These are some of the courses that we offer that others do not because these require core engineers/ experts in telecoms to really facilitate the courses, so we do ICT and telecommunications which is more of engineering. DBI is affordable compared to some of those other training institutions in the area of ICT.
Calibre of graduate students
We are satisfied with the calibre of students we’ve graduated. They are world class. We’re currently in partnership with the University of Ibadan to run MBA in telecommunications and Post Graduate Diploma in telecommunications management. Since 2006, we have partnered with a lot of other institutions like the London Metropolitan University and the University of Nigeria Nsukka. Some of those who got their Masters and PGD from DBI have gone to the UK to get their doctorate.
Turning DBI Lagos to a university
We have the needed infrastructure to run as a university campus and I must say that some universities do not have as much facilities like we do. We have a stadium, hostels that can take up to 300 students, arcades, indoor pavilion, gym etc. We also have conducive classrooms; laboratories, network fibres, Tele-presence lab and swimming pools and all these facilities are functioning at optimum capacity.
The management had actually made that move earlier before the coming of the current minister to this effect but our immediate concern is targeting those at the low level to come in and acquire practical knowledge in these areas.
Why turn DBI into a University
Looking at the National Universities Commission (NUC) standard and the Act that established the Commission, any institution that is not a university cannot award a degree but can only collaborate with other institutions, but that does not mean that you cannot produce students that are better off compared to those that are produced in the universities. It’s just a question of degree but I think Nigerians should begin to look beyond degrees and consider the products. Our target however is to produce people that are functioning in the area of telecoms and ICT and not just people that will pile up degrees and certificates.
Culled from THE COMMUNICATOR