Stakeholders call for STEM system reform, teaching of African innovations
To ensure that Nigerian students are equipped with the requisite skills that will enable them compete favourably with their peers across the globe in the area of innovation and technology, stakeholders have called for reformation of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in the country.
They made the call at the 2018 Agbami STEM Symposium in Lagos where the Director, Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited (a Chevron company), Richard Kennedy, advised education managers at all levels to brace up in the teaching and learning of STEM, owing to its overwhelming influence in the contemporary world.
The symposium themed, “Teaching STEM in the 21st century: Current trends, international best practices and cross-section action,” was designed to identify issues in Nigeria STEM education and provide strategies to ensure that it is elevated and made a national priority.
Challenging schools and students to commit themselves to improving the study of STEM, Kennedy noted that for the country to advance in this new information-based and technology-driven global society, our youth must develop their capabilities to levels far exceeding what was considered acceptable in the past.
The keynote speaker and Chief Executive Officer, Climate Innovation Centre (a World Bank project in partnership with the Nigerian government), Bankole Oloruntoba, while tasking schools and students on African innovation and technology, said educationists and learners should look inwards and see how they can make the best use of what we have in Africa.
Oloruntoba, who stated that quality education is key to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), urged teachers and students to focus on creativity and the use of African ideas to turn things around them to positive use.
“Using African technology gives students a chance to compete favourably with their peers around the globe. We need to look at our culture and ourselves and make the best of what we think so far. We also have to look at our thoughts and see where we are and where we have been so far and see how we can make the best of ourselves and where we have been so far.”
Academic Director, Lagos Business School (LBS), Olayinka David-West, said the symposium was focused on bringing in teachers and students in secondary schools to talk about improving STEM education, academic discipline in life and society in general.
“LBS is particularly interested in STEM because it has a centre that looks at sustainability in general. One of the challenges we have in Nigeria and Africa is that of local innovations. How can we create these innovations for our secondary schools to work or develop the resources or the tools to help them solve problems?”
At the end, three schools emerged winners at the symposium, which received 41 entries. Childville School emerged overall winner, with a cash prize of N100, 000 for each student and laptops; Corona School came second with a cash prize of N75, 000 for each student and laptops while Apostolic Church Grammar School came third with cash prize of N50, 000 and laptops.