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Govt to tackle STEM subjects challenge with new approaches


PERMANENT Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja, Dr. MacJohn Nwaobiala, has reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to the effective teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects in the country.

  Speaking to reporters in Lagos recently at the 44th Inter House Sports Competition of Federal Science and Technical College (FSTC) Yaba, Nwaobiala said Education Minister, Mr. Ibrahim Shekarau remains committed to improving the quality of teaching, and ultimately learning outcomes in schools across the country, with emphasis on STEM subjects.

  He said the ministry was aware of the dearth of STEM subject teachers across the country, adding that through its adjustment methods, all the issues would be systematically addressed.

  He said, “Although employment (both National Certificate in Education (NCE) and bachelor’s degree) is done by the Federal Civil Service Commission, we delineate and tell them these are our areas of concentration. STEM is the area we are focusing on now to ensure our children receive quality training in these core subjects. 

  “We cannot give enough as required by the schools. But what we are trying to do is to make some adjustments. For instance, we try to strike a balance between computer science teachers and pure science teachers so that a teacher that teaches computer science as his/her core subject, can also be retrained to teach science, we are trying to make some adjustments, and the challenges are there, but we want to make the best use of what we have. It is a deliberate policy. There is a focus on not art or social sciences, but on these core subjects,” he said.

  Nwaobiala hinted that in addition to adopting new approaches to tackle STEM challenges, the ministry is also working out feasible modalities to improve teachers’ lot and restore their respect, dignity and status in the country.

  He said though, there has not been clear cut policy on the plans to make first degree the minimum teaching qualification, all efforts in the recent past has been to improve the quality of teachers and teaching with emphasis on STEM subjects.

  His words, “The minimum teaching qualification is still the National Certificate in Education (NCE). There is no clear-cut policy on the issue of bachelor’s degree being the minimum qualification for teachers. But one key thing the ministry is focusing on is to improve the quality of our teachers. We want to see how our teachers can be encouraged, we want to see how in terms of incentives, teachers would have the best.

  “Previously, teachers rewards was said to be in heaven. We don’t want it to be in heaven anymore. We want it here. One of the things we have arrived at is that soon, we would hold a national summit on teachers, mind you, not a national teachers’ summit. It will be driven at the highest level. President Goodluck Jonathan has accepted the idea and he will participate fully. By the time we go through that summit and implement the outcome of the summit, you will see a lot of change in our teachers’ that is the vision of the present minister.”

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