I came across This Article [Transformation of Katsina State to Harness Modern Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for Socio-Economic Development] By Aminu Mamman Ibrahim. The Article was written in March 2006. Since then, a lot of things about Katsina changed.
My piece will talk about my Area of Interest, Information and Communications Technology. Since the time the above article was written and presented, the Government and Private Sector played an important role in the development of ICT in Katsina State. The Department of Science and Technology was created by this current Administration and since then have swung into action by Establishing an ICT Institute and Business School, The Youth Craft Village is also run by the Department, Two more craft Centres are being constructed in Daura and Funtua Senatorial Zones respectively.
With the right Infrastructure and Resources in place, Katsina can become the Silicon Valley of Northern Nigeria. Becoming a Start-Up State is the Vision I have for my Dear State and my points of achieving this are as follows.
The Major Institutions of Higher Learning in Katsina Town are either sharing Fences or Opposite each other, Location of these Institution that are close to each other will not only bring students of respective Institutions closer, but collaboration between the schools in Areas of Enterpreneurship, Infrastructure and other Resources that will aid the State towards achieving the Start-Up State status. Along the New Ring Road at Kabukawa Quaters of Katsina, a New State of the Art ICT and Business School is being Built by The State Government.
To Start with, The Secondary Schools under the Science and Technical Education Board, Katsina shall be the focal point whereby Students can be introduced to Core IT Programmes such as Programming in C, C++, Java and Other Object Oriented Programming Languages, Basic Networking, Software Development Practices and Processes, Computer Security e.t.c. If a Solid foundation is laid, then the structure shall be strong. For a Start, a Pilot taste shall be done in Three Schools in the state, One from each Senatorial Zone. Teachers/Instructors with Strong ICT background shall be employed under the State Accelerated ICT Programme under the Science and Technical Education Board. I believe wholeheartedly, if the above is planned and discussed, The vision will be realised.
Graduates from the above Schools shall be admitted in to the ICT Institute and Business School, There, they will be introduced to courses that they have prior knowledge of like Object Oriented Programming Languages, Mobile Application Development on Multiple Mobile Operating Systems (BlackBerry, Android, iOS, Symbian and Java), High End Networking from Cisco Systems, IT Security from EC-Council, System Administration; MCITP from Microsoft and Many More Industry Certificates. At the Institute, Students shall be introduced to Enterpreneurship (Technopreneurship), This will give them insight into how the developing countries makes use of Centres like the Institute to achieve Socio-Economic Development. I also would propose to the Department of Science and Technology or The Institute to create a Business Incubator (like TechStars, Y-Combinator, Co-Creation Hub e.t.c) which will help launch the Next Big Idea in the ICT World. Students upon graduation, will be admitted into the Incubator which will run for between 4-6 Months. At the end of the Session, a Demo day or Road Show should be held which will enable Graduants to showcase their Business Ideas to prospective Investors and Venture Capitals. The Institute could also invest into the Companies which in return get Equity of Between 10-15% stake in the company. The iDEA Project under the Ministry of Communications Technology could be a Great addition into the Institute, Locating the Centre within the Institute or close to the Higher Institutions axis would give birth to Katsina Innovation Corridor (I will write on it later).
I read earlier about the MOU signed between The Informatics Institute of Singapore and The State Government on Getting the support of the Singapore Based Institution to run the ICT Institute and Business School. I totally object this idea because, the same Institute that worked with Jigawa State did not yield any result. My reason is simple; There is no Single Student or Graduate of the Informatics Institute, Kazaure that has developed any Product/Application with National or Global Usage or patronage. To achieve the Start-Up State Status, We have to Change Course!
Achieving the Start-Up State status would be realized there by Developing "The Next Big Thing" from the Home of Heritage and Hospitality; Katsina.