In a bid to improve the quality of the tertiary education in Nigeria, and make possible the effective competition of the students with their contemporaries around the world, a free Wi-Fi facility, Surfwella, is set to be enabled along the length and breathe of Nigerian Universities.
Surfwella, which is a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative of Cyberspace Network Limited – a 4G operator and a veritable platform for social and cognitive computing – is offered free of any charge for the students. According to Mr Olusola Bankole, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Surfwella, “The usage is totally free. No payment, no subscription, no data purchase, and no need for modems. It is free Internet in the most usable form on the Wi-Fi.”
The first beneficiary of the project is the University of Abuja, with the launching slated for yesterday, Wednesday 9 August, 2017. The next institutions lined up to get the package are the Lagos State University (LASU), College of Agriculture, Lafiaji, and the University of Lagos, in that order.
The CSR initiative which, according to Bankole, is “… all about empowering the students to be globally competitive, and access to free Internet is the best way to empower the budding oncoming Generation-Z,” is a welcome and long overdue idea considering the huge amount of information available on the Internet which would help keep the students abreast of what is going on around the world without worrying about data costs.
According to The Punch, Mr Bankole said that the Surfwella would be made available on all university campuses in the country. While this raises the fear of misuse of the freebie by some unserious students, one can’t imagine the great benefits to be gotten by the serious ones. Doing research would be less costly as the researcher would simply need to get the right source of the needed information on the Internet.
This may be a form of giving back to the society by Surfwella, but it might as well be a lifesaver for many students and should help put study materials at the fingertips of the students. We hope this initiative would achieve its aim as revealed by Bankole. “The whole idea of this project is to ensure that future graduates from universities across the country will compete with their contemporaries from other countries of the globe. More so, the surest way to be an entrepreneur is to acquiring Information and Communications Technology Skills,” he explained.
While some schools already offer free Internet, there are usually conditions which include passwords and other restrictions. We certainly hope that this solves some of the problems faced by students, and indeed increase their compatibility with their peers around the world.
There are however questions which need answers, like How much data will be made available each day, or will it be endless? How many universities will be connected at the end of the day? The answers to these questions will determine if the enterprise will be worth it at all.
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