In order to revive the declining interest of students, teachers and parents in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, otherwise known as STEM education across the country, Interswitch, an integrated digital payment and commerce company, has launched its SPAK Initiative, conceived and developed to promote STEM education in Nigeria.
The initiative, called Interswitch SPAK, is poised to support Nigerian students in SS 11, who are interested in acquiring technology and science related skills.
Introducing the initiative to the media in Lagos recently, the Chief Marketing Officer at Interswitch, Cherry Eromosele, said the initiative would help to develop STEM education skills among Nigerian students and also help to position young Nigerian workforce in meeting the needs of global and local employers who are currently in search of people that have acquired skills around STEM.
The Registrar and Chief Executive of National Examinations Council (NECO), Prof. Charles Uwakwe, who was at the launch of SPAK Initiative, commended Interswitch for the initiative, and encouraged Nigerian students to take full advantage of the opportunity, which he said would help Nigeria to meet the employment requirements needed by today’s employers in the technology space. He said the initiative would also prepare the students to acquire technology skills that would make them innovative and competitive with their colleagues globally.
Giving details of the Interswitch SPAK Initiative and how students could be part of it, the Marketing Manager, Interswitch, Mr. Olawale Akanbi said the initiative is a national science competition that would begin in April 2018. He said the competition, which is open to all SS 11 students in private and public schools across the county, is school-based, requesting schools to register six of their best STEM students online at www.interswitchspak.com, while considering gender equality during registration.
Registration, which opened February 21, will close April 21, and registered students are expected to sit for a qualifying examination on April 21 at designated centres across the country. Registration is free to all interested students.
According to Akanbi, the best three students would be selected at the final stage, and scholarship awarded to them. The top two students in the competition will be awarded a five-year scholarship, a Mac laptop and gold trophy; and a three-year scholarship, a laptop and a silver trophy respectively, while the third position will receive a two-year scholarship, a laptop, and a bronze trophy.
“This is indeed a laudable initiative which should increase student interest and enrolment in STEM subjects, among other benefits. Owing to existing incompetence levels, a large number of jobs in Nigeriaâ€™s employment ecosystem have been outsourced to expatriates. Initiatives like SPAK will on the long run increase competitiveness and improve employment levels for Nigerians,” Eromosele said.