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Lagos based Centre for International and Advanced Professional Studies (CIAPS) is possibly set to become Africa’s first paperless institution by October, a statement by Nathan Akehurst, a faculty member of the centre said.

The statement, which described CIAPS as a “a forward-looking research and development facility, at the forefront of innovative practice in the developing world and education” added that the “The organisation aims to share international educational expertise and methods, connecting active citizen, academics and students in a way reflecting the interdependence of the modern world”.

The centre currently runs postgraduate programmes such as the Cambridge International PGCE, Public Policy & Development, Business Management, Media and Communications, Computer & IT as well as fresh research and professional open programmes on subjects and topics covering contemporary political, economic, social and education debates.

The faculty member, who conceded that the idea is not a new concept, noted that “it is an idea that we seem familiar with and yet strangely uncomfortable about”.

He further noted that the paperless institution “is one in which new strategies will be adopted to limit the use of paper wherever possible” stressing that “Signatures can be printed or stamped electronically. Faxes can be processed via computers without the need for printers. Students applications and communication will be via the centre’s website www.ciaps.org.”

He however insisted that “CIAPS’ staff and students are likely to require training on how to manage a paperless institution, and the correct hardware and software will need to be installed”.

The practical advantages of the paperless institution, according to Akehurst, are nonetheless swift even if not always immediate. Space will be saved in a world where urban space is becoming at an increasing premium. Removals will cost far less. Savings can be made on deliveries and printer/photocopier running costs.

CIAPS will be able to interact more with students and staff through visual media in documents. When the inevitability of a wider transition to “paperlessness” is completed assuring that “it is already in progress, for instance laws making the acceptance of e-signed documents mandatory”.

He described the mission of the institution “forward-thinking and progressive, and it is right that its internal practices should reflect that” while advocating “the building of future active citizens and leadership development to provide solutions to an increasingly problematised world”.

“It facilitates and holds an international space for discussion and academia, from its degrees, lectures and short courses to its research and publications”. The statement added

The statement further warned that “Issues of space, technological advancement, artificially-created climate change and resource depletion are to become leading dilemmas for future policymakers” noting that “the steps we take now are important”.

Akehurst insisted that the institution’s “conversion to a paperless system is one way in which we can demonstrate a commitment to continuing innovation and evolution, and collectively transforming our working and living environments”.

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