The Nigerian Education Research Network (NgREN) has been down for the past 11 months due to non-payment of bandwidth fees by the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC).
This was revealed by Austin Okere, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Computer Warehouse Group (CWG Plc) at the official commissioning of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch’s website, held recntly at the Bar Centre at the High Court in Lagos.
The Nigerian Education Research Network (NgREN) was established to provide connectivity infrastructure and service layers for innovation in teaching and research in Nigeria.
Okere says that, “as we speak, about 30,000 Nigerians are schooling in the UK alone. Similarly, the nation loses about $2 billion annually to neighbouring Ghana as school fees of Nigerians schooling in that country. The nation is experiencing this massive financial and intellectual drain because our educational system has not leveraged technology to groom its best.”
According to the CWG CEO, “The Nigerian Education Research Network (NgREN) which was very helpful has been down for the past 11 months due to nonpayment of bandwidth fees. Yet this laudable project was a big step in the right direction towards narrowing the gap with peer universities and empowering our youth in the emerging digital economy.”
He explained that “the NgREN which was conceptualized by the committee of vice chancellors and the Nigerian Universities Commission was built by a consortium of indigenous technology companies including CWG Plc to provide affordable broadband to Nigerian universities and their communities as well as serve as a collaborative network that will allow for knowledge sharing and research collaboration.
He adds that, “the World Bank and the Federal Government had financed the project and it received international acclaim at the 2014 World Economic Forum summit in Tianjin, China. It was to be implemented in stages with the first phase of the project, which was completed and launched in 2013 connecting 27 universities and about 1 million staff members, faculty and students, with the potential to connect over 12 million at full rollout to the over 600 institutions of higher learning in the country.
“Today, Nigerians are not reaping the benefits of the project because the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) has for some reason not paid for its bandwidth renewal. We all should be concerned that this great idea is being allowed to suffer on the account of something as trivial as bandwidth renewal fees,” he said.