2023 EdTech Summit: STEM Education Pivotal For Technological Advancement – Education Minister

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Session of panelists at the 2023 EdTech Summit, organized by Afritex.

Abuja, Nigeria – Mediaage NG News – Nigeria’s Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, on Tuesday at the 2023 EdTech Summit in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, said STEM education has been pivotal in shaping the future generations toward technological advancement.

Represented by the Deputy Director, Technology and Science Department in the Ministry, Mrs Gbemisola Olaniyan, he also said getting students equipped with the required skills is the bedrock for technological solutions.

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“STEM education plays a crucial role in preparing students for the challenges of the modern world”, he began.

“It equips them with the requisite knowledge and skills to birth scientific and technological solutions to the world.

“This evolves at an unprecedented pace driven by the advancement in technology and the transformative power of the digital age.

“Every aspect of our lives is undergoing a reshaping through digital revolution, from the way we work to the way we communicate and learn, hence the need to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation.

“The past four editions of the summit have brought together the most dynamic and creative education professionals and enthusiasts from around the country for an intensive, highly collaborative exploration of new education technologies, best practices and pressing issues.

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“Today, we are here to witness the 5th edition of the EdTech Summit and Awards which is aimed at reflecting on successes and challenges in STEM teaching as well as an opportunity to exchange ideas on the best ways to advance STEM education in Nigeria and Africa at large”, the Minister said.

Calling for the use of innovative solutions that would propel the country for greater development, founder of the Africa Information Technology Exhibition and Empowerment Initiative (AFRITEX), an NGO, Mr Oyesola Oworu said education is a pathway to development and must be embedded with technology to overcome unforseen challenges.

Speaking at the event themed “Unlocking Nigeria’s Clean Technology for a Safer, Smarter, Sustainable Future”, Owuru said it imperative to bridge Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education with Cleantech to have sustainable environments.

He also called for private sector involvement, as he revealed that the government cannot provide the needed technology for the country’s advancement alone.

“In a world facing unprecedented challenges, it is imperative that we come together to deliberate on innovative solutions that not only propel our society into the future but, ensure a sustainable and cleaner environment for generations to come, he said.

“The theme, ‘Unlocking Nigeria’s CleanTech potentials’, underscores the pressing need to harness the power of technology and innovation to address environmental issues and promote sustainable development.

“Nigeria, with its vast resources and dynamic population, has the potential to be a leader in clean technology, and this forum provides a platform for us to explore and capitalise on these opportunities.

“Simultaneously, the theme ‘Bridging STEM Education with CleanTech’ recognises the crucial role education plays in shaping the future.

“By integrating STEM education with Cleantech, we aim to nurture generation of forward-thinking individuals equiped with the skills and knowledge needed to drive technology advancement in a sustainable and responsible manner,” Mr. Owuru added.

The Director of ICT, National Universities Commission (NUC), Mr Lawal Faruk, while disclosing that the NUC partners Afritex, through the Ministry of Education, said innovation companies should be more involved in building technological innovations for university students in the country.

While revealing that it would help in developing graduates that will be solution providers to issues hindering the growth of the country, he said universities had been given the opportunity to contribute 30 per cent to the curriculum based on the needs of their environments, to give them more responsibilities. He said this was done in collaboration with the National Economic Summit Group (NESG).

“The National Universities Commission has actually developed a policy for technology in our universities, he said.

“That policy is available on our websites and what it does is to guide the universities and every other player as to what you can do and what you cannot do in terms of using technology in education.

“Also at the NUC, we’ve come to the realisation that our curriculum in Nigeria needs to be changed, so recently the NUC has developed what we call the Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards (CCMAS).

“Prior to that, at the university level, the curriculum was designed by the NUC , approved by the federal government and it’s implemented 100 per cent, the NUC decided that it was time that has to change.

“What we have done now is that the NUC prescribed only 70 per cent of the curriculum while each individual university is allowed to contribute 30 per cent to the curriculum.

“Part of the reasons we did that was to allow the universities look at their local environment, look at the business environment, look at other partners and incorporate their needs into whatever they teach.

“So that when you produce graduates, they are better fit, trained and suitable for whatever industry you are producing”, Mr. Farouk stated.

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