He admitted that the projects is capital intensive, hence the need for industry stakeholders to partner with the Institution to train students that will be well grounded in both theory and practical skills before graduation.
On his part, the Director, World Bank Assisted Project, Obafemi Awolowo University, Prof. Adesola Aderounmu, who doubles as the President of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), explained the varsity was selected for the project because of its excellent pursuit for education.
Aderounmu informed that the World Bank called for proposal from all Universities in Nigeria and Central Africa in 2014 and 30 Universities were initially selected from among 59 that applied from Nigeria and 10 was approved by the World Bank after a thorough review of the applications and OAU was eventually selected as the best institution for the project.
“A grant of $8 million was given by World Bank for the ICT Park project, which had since commenced with students already carrying out research projects in the ICT Park, but we needed more industry collaboration on this.
The Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife in Osun State, have called for collaborations with ICT professional bodies to boost the $8 million World Bank assisted ICT project, designed to establish Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Park in the university.
The University made this appeal at a one-day forum organized by the university in Lagos, to drum up support for the project.
Speaking at the forum with the theme: ‘Rethinking Academia-Industry Engagement’, the Pro Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Dr.
Yemi Ogunbiyi, said the essence of the forum was to seek more collaboration from industry stakeholders in the form of industry partnership to boost the project.
The project which commenced in 2014, with structures and facilities already on ground, is 75 percent completion.
However, the university said there was need for more industry collaboration in order to bring it to a desired global standard.
Ogunbiyi noted that the center will provide the platform for new tech companies to grow.
He added that the one day Academia – Industry Interface Conference is the beginning of a series of engagement between OAU and its industry partners.
He reiterated the need for more ICT companies to take advantage of the OAU technology driven park, by building capacity in Park.
“We need to build strong interface between the academia and the industry, and we want industry participation and synergy on this project that will be of immense benefit to the student community, the academia and the industry,” Ogunbiyi said.
He further called on the federal government to assist the university in its campus electrification project to drive the ICT Park project.
“OAU has been listed among 10 institutions by the federal government through the rural electrification agency to boost electricity in tertiary institutions.
We need stable electricity to drive the project, and we are appealing to the federal government to assist us in this.
“The campus electricity project will provide uninterrupted electricity for the ICT Park 24/7 if completed and it will ease academic researches that will be going on in the ICT Park,” he stated.
In his remark, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof.
Eyitope Ogunbodede, said the ICT Park would help to bridge the practical skills gap that exists between the academia and the industry which often complain of unemployable graduates that universities release every year, as many of them lack the practical skills needed for industry jobs.