Nigeria might soon realise the the dream of a multi-purpose Smart card that would make for effective administration of its tertiary institutions.
The brain child of Mr. Demola Aladekomo, Managing Director of Chams Nigeria Limited, the students’ smart identity card christened the Supercard is expected to provide the nation with a genuine and common identification for students of various tertiary institutions so as to have an all-purpose welfare package for Nigerian students as an effective solution to the problems of declining standards and values in the country’s tertiary institutions.
The core activity of the Supercard project, according to Mr. Aladekomo, is to generate a secure and credible information database of all students. The database would then be useful as an instrument to create an equally secure, fraud-free and forge-proof identification for students and staff of the institutions. The overall intention is to reduce the problems of impersonation, cultism, theft, lost transcripts and other vices prevalent in higher institutions of learning. Already, the Supercard has been taken to 19 institutions in the country which have signed up for the project under its first Phase. The phase one of the project was introduced after a successful pilot run of the project at the University of Lagos and the Yaba College of Technology where the Supercard is in full use.
Aladekomo says the Supercard project is intended to compliment the federal government’s effort to improve access and the quality of education in the country. The project was put together by a consortium “which came together to design and issue fully graphic and smart cards that can identify and verify students at the touch of a button, to address social vices”.
But beyond the issue of checking crime in tertiary institutions, Aladekomo says the smart card offers tremendous benefit to the nation as it provides demographic database for manpower development and national planning for technological and industrial growth. He contended that it also promotes even technological development nationwide as the institutions are spread across the country. The health component, he said, provides a reliable database for national health statistics and planning projections.
Given the multi-functional nature of the Smart Card, it is run by a consortium which includes Chams Nigeria Ltd., the technical service provider; Valucard Nigeria Plc., provider of payment system/fund management involving 39 banks; Health Maintenance Organisation (HMO), for the provision of healthcare services; School Authorities, management of students; and Students, the ultimate customers. The technical partners are Datacard, Gemplus, Microsoft and Compaq.
The Supercard project has four main components which includes:
Smart Status which involves the provision of advanced electronic smart chip ID cards, and the provision of comprehensive and authentic pictorial demographies of all students in Nigeria.
Cyber Centre for the provision of free 50 – 100 systems per institution in cyberlabs; provision of free 5 – 10 hours PC/Internet access time per student per session; and internet access for students’ registration and result checking.
Financial – The Super Card will provide electronic banking services via electronic purses and debit cards, as well as provide access to discounts in bookshops, restaurants, stores, transporters.
The Super Card will also provide access to good healthcare facilities in the campus through the Health Insurance component of the project. It will also provide access to professional specialist healthcare facilities nationwide while on holidays or on trips.
The Super Card project was conceived by Mr. Aladekomo as the National Students’ Identity Card project in 1994. It was initially conceived to focus on universities and the first formal presentation of the project was made to the then Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission Prof. Idris Abdulkadir and his council members in 1996.
Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media. (allafrica.com)