Five indigenous PC makers, Zinox Technologies, Omatek Computers, Brian Technologies, Beta Computers and Veda Computers, have been selected to power the Students PC Ownership Programme unveiled Thursday by government to put computers in the hands of Nigerian students.
The programme is also seen as a major potential driver of growth in the local PC assembly industry expected to receive a boost from the government’s programme of local content development in the ICT industry.
Hitherto, indigenous PC makers have made inroad into securing government contracts but have largely recorded relatively lower shelf preference by local consumers against their bigger rivals like HP, Dell, Acer, among others.
The new scheme is also a big booster for the five selected Nigerian PC makers including Zinox, makers of the Zinox range of computer products; Omatek Computers, which makes the Omatek range; Brian, which makes Brian Computers; Beta Computers, makers of the Speestar brand and Veda, makers of Veda Computers.
Microsoft and Skye Bank are also partnering to implement the scheme developed out of collaborative efforts among PC assemblers, universities, banks, global technology companies and telecoms operators.
Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communication Technology, launched the Students PC Ownership Programme saying that the government-backed programme was being pursued to promote utilization of ICTs in all sphere of life as well as the education sector that has been accorded priority by her Ministry.
The second strategy is to promote the sustainable development of the ICT industry where government makes a transition from a contracting entity to a facilitator of industry growth through programmes promoted by the Ministry and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the nation’s IT Policy implementer.
Under the plan, government says it is challenging the local PC makers to boost their productive capacities to catalyse into job creation, poverty reduction and increase their globally-competitiveness.
The Communication Technology Minister flagged off the Students PC Ownership Programme scheme on Thursday with the theme “Promoting Increased Access and Utilization of ICTs in Education” at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja in conjunction with NITDA.
She decried the low PC penetration in Nigeria said to rank as the lowest in Africa while noting that affordability and availability of devices and the slow pace of ICT adoption for teaching and learning in secondary and tertiary institutions were partly responsible.
According to her, a whole new world of knowledge and learning is now to be found on the Internet. Hence, effort should be made to ensure that young Nigerian students have unfettered access to this world so they can participate meaningfully in the knowledge society.
This world, she says, is connected to electronic libraries providing access to world-class research materials and networking.