The Inter Islamic Network on Information Technology (INIT) in collaboration with the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS), and the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology/National Space Research and Development Agency (FMST/NASRDA), Federal Republic of Nigeria convened the 4th 3-Day International Workshop on ‘Applications of ICTs in Education, Healthcare and Agriculture’, in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria, on July 25 – 27, 2017. The venue of the Workshop was National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Workshop was aimed at expanding knowledge and strengthening capabilities of the participating researchers, academics and professionals belonging to participating countries regarding the cutting edge innovative ICT-based technologies and techniques used in Education, Healthcare and Agriculture sectors.
The Workshop was inaugurated by H.E. Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Federal Republic of Nigeria on July 25, 2017. During his keynote address, the Hon’ble Minister stated that the major difference between the developed and the developing countries is the effective utilization of science, technology and innovation. He considered the information and communication technologies (ICTs) an effective tool for creation of wealth, strengthening economies, and achieving sustainable prosperity. The Hon’ble Minister highlighted the recent initiatives of the Nigerian Government for the promotion of science, technology and innovation for achieving economic progress, including Nigerian Economic Recovery Roadmap (2017-2030). He thanked INIT, ISESCO, and COMSATS for selecting Nigeria to host this important event and pledged that the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Science and Technology will continue collaboration with these organizations in future.
Before the keynote address of the honourable Minister, Mrs. Belema Wakama, Permanent Secretary, FMST, Nigeria, warmly welcomed the local and foreign speakers and participants of the Workshop. She emphasized that it would require a collective vision and commitment to transform the socio-economic landscape in the developing countries. She stated that the internet and mobile penetration is constantly increasing in Nigeria as well as other developing countries. In this regard, she recognized the transformative power of ICTs and their potential contribution towards achieving the sustainable development goals.
The message of the President INIT, Prof. Dr. Raheel Qamar, was delivered by Dr. Khalid Latif, Associate Professor, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Pakistan. In his message, Prof. Qamar stated that today’s era is the pinnacle of human evolution, which has witnessed the zenith of technological advancement and modernity. He informed that INIT has always been mindful of all necessities for the achievement of this ambition and the present workshop is a transpiration of a series of efforts by INIT focusing particularly on the needs of Education, Healthcare, and Agriculture sectors.
Mr. Farhan Ansari, Sr. Assistant Director (Programmes), COMSATS Headquarters, conveyed the Message of Dr. S. M. Junaid Zaidi, Executive Director COMSATS wherein he stated that during the last five decades, ICTs have brought a revolution in every sphere of life and applications of ICTs, including e-Government, e-Commerce, e-Education, e-Health and e-Environment, are considered as enablers for socio-economic development providing an efficient channel to deliver a wide range of basic services in remote and rural areas. ICT applications can facilitate in achieving the sustainable development goals. He thanked ISESCO, INIT and NASRDA (FMST) for joining hands with COMSATS to organize the workshop.
The inaugural session was also attended by distinguished guests belonging to universities, R&D organizations and government departments of Nigeria. Mr. Asim Ali Khan, Head of Chancery, High Commission of Pakistan in Abuja, was among the distinguished guests at the ceremony. The session ended with vote of thanks by Mr. Pharm A. Oguntunde, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Over 100 scholars, researchers, subject-experts and academicians from Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine participated in the Workshop. 16 presentations were made in the three thematic sessions of the Workshop spread over three days. The presenters focused on the applications of ICTs in Education, Healthcare and Agriculture. The presentations made during the event, inter alia, related to: Optimizing Computer Based Test at all Levels of Education; Graduation Tracking System; Leveraging ICT for Distance Learning and Capacity Utilization; Evaluation of information usage with reference to the evolution of ICT; Using ICTs in Management of Universities; Actualizing Precision Agriculture in the Developing World; Role of Cognitive Automation in Education and Agriculture Sector; Improving the Use of GPS, GIS as Tools to help Agriculture Production; Integration of Satellite and RFID Solutions for Livestock Production and Management; Emerged Wireless Sensor Technologies and Monitoring Systems in Precision Agriculture Field; Environmental Information and Management systems; ICTs for agricultural development; Role of ICT in Malaria Eradication; and Telemedicine and HealthCare Delivery in the South-South.
The event was concluded on July 27, 2017, on the note of commitment to exploit the full potential of ICTs’ applications for improving the day-to-day life of a common man in the developing world.
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