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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

NITDA-Phinnx Initiative Positions to Boost Education System in Nigeria

Temitope Oguntade, the CEO/Founder of Phinnx.com recently granted an interview at the GITEX Technology Week in Dubai. He talked of how Phinnx platform would reposition the educational system in Nigeria 

I am the Co-Founder and CEO of Phinnx.com. I am here in Dubai to exhibit Phinnx work and to gain more experience. The Phinnx platform will computerize teaching, learning and academic collaboration in each academic institution and interconnect all subscribing Higher Education Institutions(HEIs) for seamless inter-HEI co-operation.

How has the experience been for you as a young Nigerian?
Well, one one word to qualify the experience is that it has been challenging. It has also been exciting with new opportunities, new ways of solving problems, so I think the ecosystem is growing but the environment is not too enabling, but we are getting there.

NITDA-Phinnx Initiative Positions to Boost Education System in Nigeria 
Investors generally in Nigeria are elusive. They are not the most encouraging aspect of the work. For the Phinnx, I think we have benefited from an angel investor, as a matter of fact. It has been the one driving our work from 2013 and 2014, for us it I think it’s a plus, but they have to do more. In the aspect of knowledge, I don’t believe they have. The majority of them do not have the requisite knowledge to support a project like this. All they understand is the brick and mortar kind of business, not the IT business. I just hope they can know more about what we do and support us better.

How much have you raised so far?
In investment, we have raised about $110, 000. In the grants, prices in competitive and others, we have raised about N4 Million.

Is your platform like a virtual library?
This is not a virtual library; it is a total connected academia. It is connected to everything, for instance, books to people, people to things, people to people.

So if I log on to your website and I want to reach the University of Maiduguri for instance, how do I go about that?
It’s just simple. There are many ways you can do that. We have a search bar on the website, a finder. Just type the name of the school, it will give you the full details and directory of everybody in that such. For instance, if you want to search for an expert in Algorithm, it will make you the complete information. You can also decide to search for all the males students studying economics in a particular school; it gives you the details you need. Another example is, if you log on the site and update your profile and claim that you offer Quantitative Analysis or any course, the system would check and suggest to you students offering that same course.

NITDA-Phinnx Initiative Positions to Boost Education System in Nigeria
I have met a lot of people here, people who want to do business with Nigerians. I think the world here is open minded and people are doing great things here. One of the most major things I have learned here is how the world is trying to integrate the existing systems into what we have been bringing up in Nigeria. For instance, I met with the Wikimedia Foundation people, and they are also looking at integrating Wikipedia too. They too are like Phinnx project. So that any lecturer or student using Phinnx can have access to Wikipedia and write inside Phinnx, that’s going top be a good for Nigerians. For instance, if a professor gives an assignment, we can suggest pages on Wikipedia where students can read to know more about the assignment.

What’s vision after the launch in November in the next five years?
In the short term, out goal is to connect the academic. We are starting with 45 to 50 schools, for now, we have over 400. So our major goal is to develop a software system that would interconnect them, to support these institutions with broadband that would give them the enabling environment to consume this services where ever they are, once we can do this, then they can generate content.

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