Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday received the female pupils who recently won the World Technological innovation challenge in the United States of America.
The victorious girls – Promise Nnalue, Nwabuaku Ossai, Adaeze Onuigbo, Vivian Okoye, Jessica Osita and Miracle Igboke – won the World Technovation Challenge in the Silicon Valley in San Francisco, US, in August. Their winning innovation was FD-Detector Application, which they developed to curb fake drugs.
The team, which was guided by Uchenna Onwuamaegbu, won the gold medal after defeating representatives of other countries including the USA, Spain, Turkey, Uzbekistan and China.
The team was accompanied to the Presidential Villa in Abuja by the Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Nkem Okeke, Commissioner for Education, Prof. Kate Omenugha, and the Principal of the girls’ school, Regina Pacies Secondary School Onitsha, Anambra State.
Speaking, Osinbajo promised that the Federal Government would collaborate with the government of Anambra State to support the project developed by the girls.
He also said the government would collaborate with the Edufun Technik Stem Centre, whose Managing Director, Uchenna Onwuamaegbu, mentored the girls in developing the application.
He said the government was developing a new curriculum which would be variant of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
According to him, with additional emphasis on Arts, the new curriculum would focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics).
He said, “In our new curriculum, what we are looking at is a variant of STEM. So we are looking at Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths, STEAM. We have already drawn up an indicative curriculum and of course the focus is technology because technology is the leveller and it will bridge not a few divides, not just the gender gap, but practically everything, including the knowledge gap between developing countries and developed countries.” He said young people from pre-primary to primary school must now learn how to use technology in innovative and creative ways.
He also reiterated the need to prepare for the fast-changing developments in education system globally.
He said, “For us, this is existential. We have no choice but to ensure that young people, especially from pre-primary to primary school, are able to use technology in innovative and creative ways.
“The world has changed. The entire system of education has changed, because certainly, we cannot prepare not just for the 21st Century but even the next five years without serious investment in technology.”
The Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Okeke, noted that the state had continued to invest in education, in view of its critical importance to development.
The Managing Director of Edufun Technik Stem Centre, Onwuamaegbu, said the programme began in January this year and was aimed at bringing STEM education to all parts of Nigeria.
According to her, Technovation is a global event that introduces girls into coding and entrepreneurship.
One of the girls, Promise Nnalue, said the FD-Detector App, could detect fake, expired and counterfeit drugs.
“The App also teaches about the six categories of drugs, their examples, the bad ones and the side effects,” she said.