Stakeholders in the educational sector including the government have been tasked to invest heavily in providing the much-needed infrastructure and requisite manpower to boost Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics(STEM) education in Nigeria.
This was the consensus of opinion reached by panelists at the November edition of Ed-tech Monday titled “Getting to the root to strengthen STEM” held recently.
Ed-Tech Monday, an initiative of the Mastercard Foundation in partnership with ccHub Limited featured panelists from the academia and the organized private sector including Dean of Life Sciences, University of Benin, Professor Jerry Orhue, Program Manager, Stemcafe, Elohor Udubrae, and Founder, Vinsight Technologies, Tomisin Kolawole and moderated by social engineering practitioner, Joyce Daniel.
Speaking during the panel session, the Dean of Life Sciences, University of Benin, Prof. Jerry Orhue stressed that there is the need to give priority attention to providing infrastructure and needed manpower to halt the decline in science enrolment in Nigerian institutions, especially in secondary schools.
While admitting that science education was capital intensive,Orhue urged governments at all levels to return to the good old days by ensuring that science education takes the lead in their quest to contribute towards national development.
“I went to secondary school at a time when science was in vogue. As a student, we were inspired because the government placed emphasis on science. It was always a thing of pride to be referred to as a science student back then but somewhere along the line the incentive for science was eroded. If we are serious about revamping science education, we need to go back to the basics. There is a decline in enrolment because the level of commitment on the part of the government in the areas of time and other resources required is dying”, he said.
Also speaking, Ed-tech entrepreneur and Founder, Vinsight Technologies, Tomisin Kolawole noted that there is the need for Nigeria’s educational system to be restructured and reformed to pave way for technological inclusion in the curriculum.
Kolawole noted that it has become imperative for stakeholders in the educational sector to embrace partnership in order to foster the much-needed technological change in Nigeria and world at large.
According to him, more ed-tech entrepreneurs or start-ups need to be encouraged through policymaking to develop solutions that would make STEM education attractive to young Nigerians.
In her remarks, Program Manager, Stemcafe, Elohor Udubrae opined that having the right resources and enabling environment were pivotal to driving the growth of STEM education in Nigeria.
According to Udubrae, the onus lies with stakeholders, particularly ed-tech entrepreneurs, to come up with easy-to-access and customizable services that can promote STEM education.
“Beyond that, the content of those materials must be relatable and specific and relevant to our demography such that kids can compete with 21st-century learning”, she added.