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Transforming Nigerian Education: Over 900 Educators Trained in AI"

Imagine a classroom where Artificial Intelligence drives innovation and enhances learning. This is becoming a reality in Nigeria, where 931 educators have completed a rigorous 13-week AI training programme, supported by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund. They are now equipped to integrate AI tools into teaching, research, and community engagement, promising a transformative impact on education standards and practices.

Nigerian Educators Trained in AI

The landscape of education is transforming, and Nigeria is not staying behind. In a remarkable move, 931 staff members from various Nigerian universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education have successfully completed an intensive 13-week training programme focused on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). This initiative is set to revolutionize the way teaching, research, and community engagement are conducted in higher education institutions across the country.

Supported by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), this training was a collaborative effort orchestrated by the National Universities Commission (NUC), the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), and the West Africa Office of the Association of African Universities (AAU). The initiative was conducted under the guidance of the NUC Strategy Advisory Committee (STRADVCOM).

Professor Emeritus Peter Okebukola, who served as the Director and Facilitator-General of the Virtual Institute for Capacity Building in Higher Education (VICBHE), shared his insights at the graduation ceremony. He highlighted the comprehensive nature of the training, stating, “During the 13 weeks, we covered key concepts in AI and conducted 11 practical sessions.” This hands-on approach not only familiarised participants with AI tools but also enabled them to implement these tools effectively in their professional roles.

The training curriculum was designed to be robust and forward-thinking, covering areas such as machine learning and quality assurance through AI tools. Importantly, ethical considerations in AI usage were also a significant part of the learning, ensuring that participants could navigate both the potentials and challenges of AI technology.

Okebukola expressed particular pride in the end-of-course projects undertaken by the participants, which involved developing AI policies for their respective institutions. He noted, “The quality of the project reports is amazing.” These projects are expected to contribute significantly to drafting AI policies for higher education institutions across Africa, with oversight from the AAU West Africa Office.

A highlight of the training was the session on deepfake technology. Okebukola elaborated on this choice, explaining that it was crucial for the participants to understand both the positive and negative aspects of AI. This knowledge is vital for them to be able to detect and address deepfake videos and images effectively.

The training programme was attended by a diverse group of educational leaders, including Vice-Chancellors, Rectors, Provosts, and other senior management staff. The event also saw accolades from notable figures such as Professor Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i, a former Minister of Education, and Sir John Daniel, a former Vice-Chancellor of the Open University of the UK. Both praised the programme’s foresight and its potential to prepare graduates for a rapidly evolving world where AI plays a crucial role.

In terms of performance, the training saw impressive results: 156 participants earned a distinction plus certificate, and several others received accolades for their exceptional contributions. Among the awardees was Professor Omolara Oluwasola Oluwaniyi of the University of Ilorin, who received multiple awards for her outstanding performance.

The ceremony also marked the formal launch of the Nigeria Association of Artificial Intelligence Practitioners (NAAIP), a milestone that signifies the growing importance of AI in Nigeria’s educational and research landscape.

This initiative not only highlights the proactive steps being taken by Nigerian educational institutions to integrate AI into their curricula but also underscores the critical role that AI will play in shaping future educational standards and practices globally.

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