Expert seeks industry-govt. collaboration on STEM education

Mr. David Afolayan, an Information Technology expert, says industry collaboration with the government on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education will help students understand and proffer solutions to the nation’s challenges.

Afolayan stated this in Ibadan on Thursday in an exclusive interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

According to him, Nigeria can leapfrog into technological development by fostering a relationship between industries and academics.

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He noted that most of the developed countries did the same when they reinvented their education sector to be technology and innovation-driven.

“In most developed countries, technology has been fully incorporated into education and it is being deployed by pupils and students to solve real-life challenges.

“Environmental issues are also being addressed through technology by primary and secondary school students because they had mentors from the industry.

“We can adopt this method also; those in the industries can reach out to schools to assist with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.

“Students will learn better under this method and solutions can then come from them to solve our problems, because they don’t just cram to pass in this instance, but understand what is being taught and applying it will be easy.

“Former President Barack Obama of USA, during his administration, did a collaboration between the industry and the academics, which he called ‘ConnectED’ and the collaboration paid off greatly.

“Our students are not just competing with their counterparts here but globally as well; so we need to prepare them adequately to be the best wherever they find themselves.

“I believe having mentors and role models from the industry is the way forward because the government cannot do it all alone,” he said.

Afolayan further said that the quest to contribute his quota in promoting education led to his collaboration with the Association of Nigerian Geographers.

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“The collaboration with the association since 2015 was to empower the teaching of Geography in secondary schools and promote the subject as important in understanding other science subjects.

“Over the years, more than 500 lecturers and volunteers have keyed into this vision of mentoring schools and we have foreign collaborators as well, like the manufacturer of GIS software who gave software grants to schools.

“We started with 200 schools and now, we have resources for all the schools in Nigeria; we have GEO-AWARENESS programmes for secondary school students and GEOHACTHON for their tertiary institution counterparts.

“This has helped them to come up with amazing solutions to the various challenges facing the country, Afolayan said.

He underscored the importance of incorporating technology into education, saying this was the way to go in revamping the sector in Nigeria.


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