The Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, has argued for the need to close the gender gap in tech training as NITDA AI Developers Training (NAIDT) programme marks a year.
The NAIDT programme, which started as NITDA Developers Group (NDG) training, is a programme was designed to upskill the capacity of young Nigerians in Artificial Intelligence (AI), regarded as one of the most highly sought-after tech talent today.
“Through NAIDT with the support of volunteers from Google Developers Group (GDG), NITDA has empowered many Nigerian youth and set them on the path to starting a journey that will not only transform their lives but will create a positive domino effect that will impact our society,” Abdullahi stressed as he congratulated the beneficiaries.
He assured that the NITDA will facilitate the success of the startups originating from the programme even as he thanked the GDG for their unwavering support in ensuring the success of the programme.
Abdullahi, however, decried the low percentage of female participants, which stood at less than 10% and challenged the GDG to address the gender imbalance by devising innovative ways such as women-specialized trainings on AI and other emerging technologies.
NAIDT is anchored on the NITDA ‘Learn, Teach and Earn’ philosophy, which has led to graduates of the programme becoming instructors, thus, helping to foster a cycle of learning, teaching, and earning.
Former participants are now teaching and mentoring the next generation of tech enthusiasts while augmenting their financial standing through their earnings in the programme.
Through the NAIDT in only one year, tremendous successes have been achieved with not only trained and upskilled Nigerian youths but with participants going ahead to create their innovation-driven startups.
These startups include ElonosiaAI, FundusAI, Gyronics. Other beneficiaries have become ambassadors of tech giants like Microsoft, while some are using their skills to offer services to foreign companies while living in Nigeria.
At only one year, “NAIDT has gone through 12 cohorts, with training for a total of 2,785 Nigerians from all works of life, such as NYSC corps members, graduates, secondary school students and artisans. Participants are trained in machine learning, data analytics and other AI areas such as natural language processing (NLP). The use of AI tools such as ChatGPT to leverage large language models is also taught during the NAIDT trainings.”