A former president of the African University of Science and Technology (AUST), Professor Wole Soboyejo, has called on the Federal Government to focus on development of science education as panacea to the numerous challenges confronting the nation.
He gave the advice at a four-day Pan African School of Materials conference held at the AUST, Abuja, stressing that Nigeria must look inward in solving her problems.
Soboyejo faulted the lopsidedness in the Nigerian education system where basic education is neglected, especially the teaching and learning of Mathematical sciences at the rudimentary level.
He, however, disclosed that a team from the Pan African Material Institute (PAMI) is currently working in collaboration with the World Bank towards enhancing the teaching of mathematical science at all levels in Nigeria and other African countries.
According to him, the project was intended to take all the materials from the kindergarten to senior high school and make them in digital form so that they could be accessed from schools from all over Africa.
He said: “There is a programme that we have started with the World Bank which focuses on primary education on mathematics and science. It is called the Mathematics and Science for sub-Saharan Africa programme.
“The idea behind that is to take all of the materials from the kindergarten to senior high school and make it in digital form so that it can be accessed from schools from all over Africa,” he said.
He explained that in order to ensure that the project is properly accessed and utilised, there would be intensive training of trainers across African countries who will then train the teachers to use the modules for the pupils in mathematics and science in schools.
“This for me is actually the next frontier and as you can see much of what we have been doing is at the top and now we realsed that we need to come from the base and we are working with people from Singapore, China, and India,” he said.
Prof. Soboyejo, further revealed that the project is expected to be launched before the end of the year.
The current AUST President, Prof. Kingston Nyamapfene, in his remark said the conference was part of series of events organised and coordinated under the auspices of a Pan African Universities in West and Central Africa with collaboration with some American universities.
He said the essence of project was to develop interdisciplinary teams that could develop techniques using different kinds of materials that are found in Africa and within the habitats in the development of technologies that could address African problems.