Science, technology education key to national development — Minister

THE Minister of State for Education Dr Yusuf Sununu has emphasised the need to deepen Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education in the country for national development.

Sununu asserted that the poor economic performance of many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa is linked to the poor application of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) to development.

The minister, who was represented by his Technical Assistant, Mrs Claris Ujam, spoke at the closing ceremony of the maiden edition of the Annual National Science & Technology Innovation Exhibition for Senior Secondary School students held in Abuja.

Sununu commended the leadership of the National Senior Secondary Education Commission (NSSEC) for the initiative at organising the exhibition aimed at popularising science and technology education as well as encouraging and providing youths  an opportunity to showcase their talent, creativity and innovative skills.

He noted that the ability to develop innovative skills is not merely a function of the mind, but of key behaviours that optimise the youth’s brains for discovery.

The minister noted that having gone round all the different exhibition stands, “I am proud to say that Nigeria is on the right track towards technological development. However, this can only be achieved if all the relevant stakeholders encourage and invest in our youth’s creativity and innovations.”

He, therefore, called on stakeholders to assist in developing and commercialising the projects for Nigerian use as this would invariably reduce unemployment and insecurity in our nation.

“This undoubtedly, will serve as a great motivation for our students as well as an inspiration to others who will participate in the subsequent editions,” he added.

According to him, the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu led administration’s Renewed Hope Agenda, places a high premium on education especially in the areas of STEAM & TVET.

In this respect the government is making serious efforts to fund the newly established National Senior Secondary Education Commission (NSSEC) in order to provide the needed infrastructural facilities at the Senior Secondary Education sub-sector.

On the efforts of the executive secretary, NSSEC, Dr Iyela Ajayi, the minister acknowledged his commitment towards the development of Senior Secondary Education in Nigeria, reassuring him that the Federal Government would provide all the necessary support for the achievement of NSSEC mandate.

Executive Secretary of NSSEC, Dr Iyela Ajayi in his welcome address explained that NSSEC has the mandate to promote STEAM and TVET as well as entrepreneurial skills development at the senior secondary education level, hence this exhibition is introduced to showcase the talents of Senior Secondary School learners especially those at the Science and Technical Colleges and to equally encourage linkage between the schools and industries

He said: “I believe that exhibitions of this nature are essential for the development and growth of our learners as regards TVET and STEAM Education, It provides a platform for the learners to demonstrate their creativity, problem-solving skills and innovations.

“We are living in a world where science and technology have become an integral part of the world’s culture and any country that overlooks this significant truism does at its own peril,” he stated.

He maintained that international competitiveness is increasingly being defined in terms of ability to access, learn, adapt, utilize and innovate from available technology. In other words, nations that fail to innovate lose their competitiveness.

The Executive Secretary used the occasion to appeal to all stakeholders for collaboration in working out modalities for promoting the commercialization of students’ inventions and innovations for national development.

Talking about NSSEC achievements, Dr Ajayi said the commission has carried out some projects/programmes aimed at repositioning the senior secondary education which he said include; Development of a National Policy on Senior Secondary Education.

The policy, when approved, would provide a robust education system capable of equipping our students with the right knowledge, skills and values for global competitiveness,

Development of a Minimum Standards for Senior Secondary Education,

Capacity building of English Language and Mathematics Teachers,

Renovation of Science Laboratories of some selected senior secondary schools, Conduct of Monitoring Learning Achievements of Students nationwide amongst others.


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