Increase Investment in STEM to Drive Growth in Technology, Education, Govt Advised
Sunday Okobi and Ugo Aliogo
The Director, Design and Technology Innovation Company, Stanley Agwu, has called on the federal government to increase investment in Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) especially with a focus at entrenching the initiative at the primary school level in the country.
Agwu who disclosed at the weekend in Lagos at the Interactive Presentation and Exclusive Networking Reception with HME Technology, said investment in the technology space would help drive growth, and increase Nigeria’s competitive in technology and manufacturing with the Western World.
He also stated that as a group they are focused at introducing design technology an initiative under STEM in primary schools, stressing that it is the foundational level where the mind of the child is formed and developed.
The technologist explained that the product they have developed is between N9, 500 and N10, 000 per child, adding that it would assist a child for one year period because it is curriculum based; and there are three kits stages (kit stage one, Kit stage two and kit stage three).
Agwu added that one of the kits would serve a child from primary one to two, while the second kit would serve from primary three to four, and the third kit would serve from five to six.
He further stressed that in each of these kits, they also have the teachers’ kits, stating that the teachers’ has their own lesson plan and the children have theirs, therefore he said they work together.
Agwu remarked that China was able to grow her STEM skills through investment in foundational programme such as this; therefore he noted the federal Ministry of Education and stakeholders play a key role in advancing the course of this project especially through support.
In his remarks, the Chairman HME Technology, United Kingdom, Martyn Hale, said after studying the Nigeria market, they decided to launch a product which could be easily accepted at primary levels, and teach children to learn how use their hands in creating things.
He also stated that they understand that in creating, they can add science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which he said is innovative.
According to him, design technology is being not taught in primary schools in Nigeria, adding that in the UK, it is part of the school curriculum and stressed that it is very important to bring back technology subjects in schools in the nation.
Hale explained that initiatives such as this would equip people’s skills set in order to contribute to the manufacturing environment, whether at a technician or graduate grade, it is all about engineering.
He expressed confidence that this would work in the country because the focus would be at ages five-10 in primary school, “I think if we get children involved and they like building things, such as structure it will be great.”
Continuing, Hale said: “We also have more children who want to do mathematics and science because it is fun. We noticed that children don’t like these subjects because it is not fun, therefore we are bringing the fun aspect into it and children can see those things and become better. If we are able to cash into the large population of the country and train them in STEM, we will have strengthened our workforce and provide more jobs. We are building rail tracks in the country and government is contracting the services of the Chinese instead of developing the local workforce through initiatives such as STEM.
“We want to change that narrative and the developed countries will be seeking our services. This initiative will stop brain drain and it will provide income to the economy. In UK, Engineering brought 600 Billion pounds to the economy. This is because they have viable workforces that have invested in Engineering and infrastructure. Each kit has a curriculum designed for the teacher and there is a video where the teacher can learn. These are primary simply things, but the progress and activity will make the teacher wake up. It has been simplified for the teacher to use without going to UK for training.”