In a noteworthy development, the annual international conference at Enugu State University of Science and Technology’s (ESUT) Faculty of Management Sciences has kicked off, focusing on the pivotal role of digital education in driving economic sustainability. The Dean of the Faculty, Prof. Chioma Oleka, in her opening remarks, welcomed all the guests, scholars, as well as the school’s management to the 3-day 2023 Annual International Conference of her faculty with the theme “Digitalization of the educational system through entrepreneurship and business models for a sustainable economy: A practical approach,” saying, “It is an opportunity to learn, grow, and shape the future of education in the digital age.”
She underlined the collaborative spirit uniting scholars and stakeholders, highlighting their shared mission to forge sustainable economic development through the fusion of entrepreneurship and digital education. This convergence of expertise and vision promises to redefine education’s role in nurturing a robust and dynamic workforce.
Adding a special dimension to this year’s conference, the occasion held a dual celebration. It marked Prof. Chioma Oleka’s one-year tenure as the faculty’s first female dean since its establishment in 1980. Her leadership and commitment to innovation have set the stage for a new era in educational excellence.
The conference’s theme, which centers on the practical implementation of digital education, resonated deeply with the attendees and experts present. It explores how digital learning can become a catalyst for economic sustainability through entrepreneurship, offering a timely and pragmatic vision for the future of education. As this event unfolds, it promises to shed light on the transformative potential of digital education in nurturing a prosperous and resilient economy.
The Rector of the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Prof. Austin Nweze, during his lecture, tasked Federal and state governments on free data to help students drive digital explorative learning and digital entrepreneurship.
Nweze, who was presented by his Deputy, Dr. Patrick Ejim, said that providing free data (or wifi services) in strategic places, especially in institutions and public places where youths gather, remained a vital demand in building the nation’s digital pursuit.
“We need to also localize digital learning to get more of our people to access learning on soft skills digitally and create digital hubs in communities and council areas where digital apprenticeship can be possible.
“We must reorganize our digital policy to provide opportunities that can take care of modern necessities in our changing environment,” he said.
A keynote speaker, Mr. Abel Nwobodo, Managing Director of Phenomenal Energy Ltd, said that adopting digital education for entrepreneurship growth had a lot of benefits and would create a world of unending opportunities.
Nwobodo said that educational institutions should remodel the way of learning by driving learning digitally to reach hundreds of thousands of people rather than the few people in a classroom.
“We can also use digital learning or education to spark positive innovation and competition among young minds if well harnessed,” he said.
Speaking, the Vice-Chancellor of ESUT, Prof. Aloysius Okolie, said that the institution was remodeling its idea of education towards practical skills; thus, experts in the town will come, teach, and share their daily experiences with students in the institution.
Okolie also said that the institution was working on full automation of all its engagements, especially putting courses and classrooms online and going full digitalization for people to subscribe and learn.
“As an institution, we want to bring the town (local experts) and gown (institution) together, and we will work out practical ways of creating skills, employment, and self-reliance for our teeming youths,” he said.
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The vice-chancellor also lauded the former Senate President, Chief Ken Nnamani, for fixing the power challenge in the university as well as helping to ensure the institution gets its power supply from a steady power sub-station within Enugu.
The Chairman of the occasion and a paper presenter, Chief Kingsley Eze, urged ESUT management, Enugu State, and Federal Governments to be intentional and practical in moving into the digital world by making necessary investments in the digitalization of learning.
Eze, who is the CEO of the Tenece Group of Companies, urged the institution and the government to take advantage of international digital linkages and collaborations for the betterment of the youths and equipping them for the international labor market.
“We must find a way to get those with digital skills and incorporate them fully into the vision of the institution and state as the world is evolving very fast due to the powerful impact of digital technology,” he noted.
The occasion featured the cutting of the conference cake and many more paper presentations.