Since 2006, the Michael and Cecilia Foundation has undertaken a variety of initiatives aimed at improving quality of life for citizens throughout Nigeria. Established and overseen by lifelong philanthropists and education proponents Michael and Cecilia Ibru, the organization focuses on education, elder care, public health, food security, and vocational training. The foundation’s academic and job readiness initiatives include the Train A Child program, which provides scholarships for impoverished Nigerian children.
Aiming to ensure a quality education and bright future for children from underserved communities, the initiative seeks to help children who are academically inclined but limited by their financial situations. The foundation maintains a database of all qualified scholarship recipients and seeks the support of nongovernmental organizations and philanthropists to connect each child with an individual or institutional benefactor.
Additionally, the Train A Child program provides remedial courses for secondary school graduates. Offered free of cost, these classes assist students in preparing for postsecondary education and required entrance exams.
The BETT Awards 2015 ceremony in London showcased some of the most innovative digital technologies in education today. Founded in 1985 as the British Educational Training and Technology Show, BETT has become the United Kingdom’s premier trade show highlighting the use of information technology in the classroom. Its annual exhibition promotes companies that produce the most creative tech-based programs, devices, and curricula, facilitating student learning and teacher effectiveness.
This year, BETT recognized winners in nearly two dozen categories, including Best Whole Course Curriculum Content, ICT Special Educational Needs Solutions, and Early Years Digital Content. Promethean, Frog Education, and Sonocent Ltd were named ICT Company of the Year in their respective categories.
Companies outside of the education and nonprofit fields are eligible for BETT nominations, as well. As part of their corporate social responsibility objectives, many other organizations produce digital materials that qualify for recognition. For example, with the help of CSR facilitator Cambridge-Hitachi, a Formula One racing team, Williams F1, won a BETT Award for its racing-themed software.
The Michael and Cecilia Ibru Foundation recently received an award of excellence in recognition of their significant contributions to the educational field. The couple received the award in December 2014 from the National Association of South-South Students (NASS) in recognition of their efforts to form the Michael and Cecilia University, International School, and College of Education.
The award was presented to the Ibrus by the president of NASS, Comrade Amadi Destiny Obaro, who discussed the power of education to transform the world into a better place and to prepare children to guide Nigeria in the future. He applauded the couple’s dedication to running an educational institution and serving society.
During the event, Cecilia Ibru also spoke. She said that the Michael and Cecilia International School offers a distinctive learning environment with modern facilities where Nigeria’s vibrant culture is recognized and students are taught the Nigerian language. Ibru added that the school began with 20 students and now has over 100. In her remarks, Ibru said that she and her husband would continue to maintain their commitment to educational achievement.
Founded in 2012, the Nigerian Research and Education Network (NgREN) aims to promote innovative research, collaboration, and communication among member universities and other institutions across Africa and worldwide. One part of this mission is achieved through the many practical services the organization offers, such as the creation and maintenance of digital network infrastructure and the provision of network applications like videoconferencing. Another part is fulfilled through NgREN’s facilitation of targeted, online community forums.
NgREN’s Communities of Practice are designed to bring together people with common expertise on a particular topic or theme in the hopes of advancing professional practices and spurring development in specific areas. By fostering links and active collaboration among institutions and other academic and professional groups worldwide, the communities can help participants to centralize and grow their knowledge base and visualize key matters within a broader context.
To launch this element of its mission, NgREN selected a number of strategic communities to serve as the initial group. These encompass areas such as food security, environmental degradation, renewable energy, and vocational training. Interested participants can join any Community of Practice by contacting the topic leader or NgREN directly.
Recently, the Nigerian Research and Education Network (NgREN) hosted VCE, a joint venture of the leading tech firms EMC Corporation and Cisco Systems, for a presentation on Vblock Systems, its cloud storage technology portfolio. VCE visited NgREN’s network monitoring center to discuss data center development, proposing Vblock’s cloud architecture as a possible data organization solution. The company presented the cloud storage technology and its numerous benefits, citing the simplicity and efficiency of data virtualization. VCE also noted that Vblock integrates with popular computing and network technologies by Cisco, EMC, and VMware, offering a comprehensive suite of data management resources.
VCE drew on statistics compiled by the International Data Corporation to support its recommendation. The organization recently concluded that Vblock allows for significantly accelerated data center deployment times and can greatly reduce operational and incidental maintenance costs. In addition to decreasing overall costs by as much as half, Vblock innovation has been known to reduce data center downtime by 96 percent.