The website of the Federal Ministry of Education, http://www.fme.gov.ng, is down. Although it could not be ascertained how long it has been down, our correspondent, who visited the website on Monday, had stumbled on the message, “This account has been suspended.’’
No information was placed on the site to tell visitors that it has moved to another domain and no link was provided to redirect those in search of information about the educational system to a new one.
Besides, another website attributed to the ministry online, fmegovng.org, is also “ailing’’ as the message on the site read, “This domain name will be on Godaddy Auctions soon.”
Visitors to any of the two portals in search of reports related to the ongoing industrial action by university teachers may be disappointed as the ministry literally has no official website to inform interested members of the public.
A check on some education parastatals in the country shows that some of them are fast taking a cue from the supervisory ministry that is saddled with the responsibility for defining and shaping the structure of the education system in Nigeria.
For instance, a visit to the website of the National Commission for Colleges of Education, http://www.ncceonline.org, showed that the information on the site was far from being rich. The “About Us’’ is the only section that the website has, while the welcome page contains two articles which only informed visitors on how to go about securing loan to study in higher institutions of learning abroad.
No mention was made of its activities, pertaining to the regulation of colleges of education in the country, as well as the issuance of the National Certificate of Education – the minimum certificate that qualifies one to teach in the country.
The National Educational Research and Development Council’s website, http://www.nerdc.gov.ng, which prides itself as the “think-tank of Nigerian education’’ is only a little better than that of the NCCE.
The first information that caught the attention of the correspondent on the welcome page of the website on Monday was the date on it. The date on the site simply read Thursday, September 05, 2013.
A click on the “Achievement’’ section of the site, which was expected to give the track record of the council from 2005 to 2012, showed it was empty. The message on it read, “This page is awaiting update.” A similarly information was posted on the “Press Release” section.
Besides, the website managers did not deem it fit to input the contact person and phone number of the designatedofficial at its area office on 8, Orlu Street, Garki, Abuja as they simply left the spaces meant for it blank.
While NERDC made an appreciable effort to make its digital engagement social with its presence on Facebook, it was observed that its account on the social service was also largely neglected. In the course of this year, the handlers of the Facebook page had only managed to post messages on it four times.
The National Library of Nigeria, created to serve as the nation’s “intellectual store house and databank,” has a rather poor outlook online. It was observed that information pertaining to its services, such as bibliography control, cataloguing in publication, training and skills development, were not available on its website, http://www.nln.gov.ng.
Besides, all the links to all its social media pages, with the exception of its Facebook page were broken and did not connect to the social accounts they were supposed to.
But while it appears that the NCCE and NERDC may have taken after the Federal Ministry of Education in terms of managing its digital presence, some of the parastatals under it are putting in efforts to have functional online tracks.
The National Mathematical Centre has a functional and updated website. The website, nmcabuja.org, does not only appear to fall into the good books of its managers, but it also carry visitors along with its upcoming events. Checks on the website offered information about conferences, workshops and seminars lined up.
However, the NMC may need to take advantage of one or a number of social networks to engage its audience with a view to giving adequate publicity to its activities.
Essentially, the Federal Ministry may need to learn a lesson or two from the Ghanaian Ministry of Education that has a regularly updated and fully functional portal for sundry issues bordering on education in the West African nation.
Apart from being up-to-date, the portal, http://www.moe.gov.gh, contains requisite statistics and other resources that could help local stakeholders, as well as international organisations deliver on key educational indicators in the country’s various educational sectors.