9 November 2017

Nigeria: Ezekwesili Advocates Key Reforms for Sector to Aid Global Ranking

A former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, has advised the Federal Government to focus on key reforms that could lift the education sector to make it compete favorably with the rest of the world.

She spoke at an event organised by Mastercard in collaboration with a non-governmental organisation, Youth for Tech tagged "Girls4Tech", an initiative geared towards driving interest and awareness of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) among primary school girls.

The erstwhile minister who is also the leader of the 'Bring Back Our Girls' (BBOG) campaign said the world is moving into a broad chain of technology and Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind.

She noted that the 21st century is in its realm of artificial intelligence and robotics, stressing that it is human capital that would make the difference and the education sector needs to reflect it.

According to her, "Government should ensure that the sector is as revolutionary as possible in its policies in the institution and the regulatory systems in order to affect positively the learning outcomes of our children and make it globally competitive.

"Our children need to be as skilled as any other child of their age in the world. They cannot be behind the curve, therefore education must be for purpose; this means it has to build competitive skills in our pupils to give them the kind of value consciousness.

"In this 4th industrial revolution the machine will do a lot of things for us, however it will take people who has value to be able to adapt to technology in a way that does not destroy the world. Values and skills are cognitive capability that is, the problem solving skills. The world we are in right now is destructive what you knew yesterday will be of no value tomorrow; we have to continuously have a learning mindset.

Mastercard Vice President and area business head, Omokehinde Adebanjo said the initiative was geared towards inspiring and equipping young girls to build the needed skills to become problem solvers and leaders.

Adebanjo explained that the goal of the organisation is to reach 200, 000 girls with the Girl-4-Tech program by 2020 through continuous expansion within communities as well as partnerships.

"We have launched more than 100 events and reached more than 30,000 girls in 17 countries, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Columbia, China, England, Germany and Italy among others.

"Our focus is to increase the number of African young girls and women in tech. Our latest statistics informed us that 80 percent of jobs created in the next decade will require STEM, yet only 30 percent of the science and technology workforce is currently made of women. To provide women with an equal playing field going forward, additional motivation to pursue STEM subjects is required."

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