Determined to promote computer education in the Nigerian school system, the former Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Dr. Christopher Ekpenyong, has invested massively in ICT sector since 2002.
His computer-based Gastric Information Technology and Management Institute (GITMI) at Ikot Ekpene and Uyo, according to him, accommodated over 10,000 candidates, who participated in the just concluded Computer –Based Test (CBT) entrance examinations into Nigerian tertiary institutions organized by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB).
Speaking in an interview in Uyo, the State capital, Obong Ekpenyong, who doubles as the Proprietor of the institute, commended JAMB for its foresight in approving the school as one of its CBT centers in the State, adding that the two centers polled the most candidates running into over 10,000 in the last test.
Currently, the institute with affiliation to the Federal University of Technology (FUT), Akure, Ondo State, according to the Proprietor, was conceived since he was the Deputy Governor in 1999, when he also supported the establishment of the mega Science Park by the then administration led by Obong Victor Attah.
With over 700 computer systems in both centres at Uyo and Ikot Ekpene, Ekpenyong pointed out that, “With the presence of such facilities and trained ICT experts, JAMB became convinced that the centre could play host to such number of applicants for its test”.
“While the State government owned e-library centre could only accommodate some 6, 030 candidates, our centers in Uyo and Ikot Ekpene were able to take over 10,000 applicants for the test”, he explained, adding that with effective security in place, “we did not record any single case of examination fraud throughout the test period in the centers”.
With the successful organization of the first JAMB examinations at the centers, the former Deputy Governor disclosed that plans were ongoing to upgrade facilities at the centers to accommodate more applicants in subsequent tests.
Towards this end, he said more computers would be acquired and more ICT professionals engaged, adding that his decision to invest in the sector was borne out of the fact that “the world is currently driven by technology”.
“We are planning to upgrade facilities in the two centers and increased the carrying capacity from the current 300 at Ikot Ekpene center to 500. Uyo center will also be raised from 400 to 500”, he assured.