OLAOLUWA BALOGUN: THE COMPUTER GEEK

Olaoluwa Balogun, Founder of Alawari Computer Institute (ACI), is a young Computer educator, ardent of ICT and youth empowerment. In this interview with Adeniruju Adedapo Treasure and Adegebo Ayomide of THE REFLECTOR, he speaks on the influence of ICT on Youth, Financial and National Development, among others…

 

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Reflector: Can we meet you?

Olaoluwa: I’m Olaoluwa Balogun. First in the family of four. I’m from Ese-Odo local government of Ondo State. I graduated from Geography department of OAU in February 2013 {2011/2012 session}.

Reflector: When did you start ACI?

 

Olaoluwa: It all started on May 7, 2011, in Block 6, Room 104, Awolowo Hall, OAU, Nigeria.

Reflector: ACI started just two years ago and it’s as big as this. How come?

Olaoluwa: It’s really surprising. I won’t really say it’s a regret, but I wish I had started as early as 2007 when I gained admission, and I’m sure I won’t be on campus by now.

Reflector: What inspired ACI?

Olaoluwa: It started out of my love for fun and passion for teaching and imparting the Nigerian youth. I love teaching. I love fun. Teaching, for me, is fun. Also, I love anything that has to do with technology.

Reflector: What does ACI really do?

Olaoluwa: Alawari Computer Institute, ACI, is a computer institute that focuses on computer education for African youths. We have great minds in Africa, especially in Nigeria. So, ACI trains youth in computing, and we’re really committed to imparting youths in every spheres. In fact, we’re extending this opportunity to secondary and primary schools very soon.

Reflector: What kinds of courses do you intend offering primary and secondary school students?

Olaoluwa: As at primary 6, a child should be around 8-10 years of age and they should, by then, be old enough to learn programming – at least, Python or Java. Actually, that’s the best age to learn it because they have lesser distractions. When introduced, it has tremendous result. An example is that of a 10-year-old JSS1 student who passed the Microsoft Certification Examination last year.

Reflector: Any challenges so far?

Olaoluwa: Yeah! Acceptance and discouragement (from friends and family members) has been my major challenges. Funding was also a major challenge. I started ACI with just #400 and by using my skills in graphics. Though funding is no more a challenge but acceptance is still one. Another challenge is our students’ academics, which tends to hinder the ability of our students to apply what they are being taught.

Reflector: How were you able to combine ACI with your academic endeavours?

Olaoluwa: It has not been challenging. Academics is schooling and schooling is not education. Schooling is just by the way. ACI is my passion and that’s what makes me happy, so I decided to set ACI as my priority.

Reflector: What’s your advice to Nigerian youth?

Olaoluwa: If the system is not helping you, help yourself. From childhood, power supply, bad roads, and corrupt practices have been a challenge in the nation. We are not meant to always grumble about the system. Nigerian youths should go to the driver’s seat of their lives, handle the steering wheel and drive themselves.  Instead of engaging in trivial things like social networking, let’s facilitate ourselves by acquiring necessary skills. We have no excuse for our failures.

Reflector: Despite the global standard of technological development, do you think Nigeria has a future in ICT?

Olaoluwa: Nigerians are really trying now; I am not talking about the government, but private sectors and ICT multinationals. Young programmers are coming up every day. We are at the state of progress and I believe that the future is really great. I can’t wait to get there!

Reflector: We’ll like you to know your relationship status.

Olaoluwa: I’m single, though in love but I’ve never been in a relationship before – and I’m not searching.

Reflector: If you’re privileged to meet a Nigerian Minister, what will be your request?

Olaoluwa: I would love the minister for Education to know that we have great minds in Nigeria, that we can make a lot more from ICT than Oil. If the government can invest those great minds, then the future will be great. I say this because I’ve been teaching different calibre of people that have proven to me that the country is talented with brilliant youths. The major thing that hinders their development is their academics that involves lots of ‘cramming and pouring’ which doesn’t really bring out the best in them.

Reflector: It’s been a very wonderful time with you and we hope you grant us audience when next we beckon.

Olaoluwa: Sure, I will.

Reflector: Thanks so much.

Olaoluwa: You’re welcome!

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A media team that is unrepentantly committed to building young minds with thought-provoking articles containing scents of historical reflections.
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