Owing to the benefits of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in societal advancement, experts have urged both the federal and state governments to increase their funding of STEM across all levels of the education system.
They made the appeal at the closing ceremony of a one-week “Vision 2020 youth empowerment initiative summer camp on STEM,” for select public schools in Lagos.Speakers at the event maintained that the federal government has failed in its responsibility of providing adequate funding for STEM education.
They noted that a huge investment in STEM would drive the country on the path of being one of the 20 largest economies in the world by the year 2020, as well as equip learners with the right skills needed to compete globally.
Principal Consultant, Lonadek Oil and Gas, Ibilola Amao, said the federal government has put little or no resources towards actualising the vision 2020 as it affects STEM education, adding, “If we could take 20 to 30 per cent of the money being spent or shared by politicians into education, Nigeria will not be where it is today.
She called on the managers of the economy to ensure that the 2019 budget will be a total deviation from what it used to be, saying, “There should be a significant increase in programmes and projects geared towards human capital development.”
Noting that the essence of the STEM summer camp was to encourage talents to become game changers and problem solvers for a new Nigeria, Amao said it is also targeted at helping students develop and implement innovative ideas that can make real life impact on the society.
“This will also expose them to career opportunities available in the STEM industries such as energy, infrastructure, manufacturing, engineering, agriculture and technology sectors of the economy,” she added.Public Affairs Manager for SASOL, Toyin Cameron, appealed to government at all levels to look into STEM education, with a view to increasing it’s funding. She charged the participants to embrace the act of personal branding, and begin to create a brand and profile that they would be proud of in future.
She urged them to put to good use the knowledge and experiences garnered from the STEM camp in their own interest and that of the country.Vision 2020 is a youth and national development initiative aimed at developing leadership, entrepreneurial, professional and vocational skills among Nigerian youths, especially in the area of STEM, and also provides them exposure to industry. The programme hosted about 41 students from 16 secondary schools in Lagos state.