Vice Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 elections, Mr Peter Obi, has called for more financial and intellectual investments in STEM education in the country with an appeal to the youths to take STEM learning and opportunities more seriously.
Speaking in a message to commemorate World Science Day for Peace and Development, themed “Science for and with Society” celebrated on November 10, Obi stated that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education in Nigeria lacked the required funding needed to drive scientific growth and development in the country.
Obi opined that economic progress largely depends on innovation, invention, development, and profusion of new technologies, which are borne out of scientific research. He argued, therefore, that STEM plays a direct role in driving economic progress, little wonder more STEM-oriented economies perform strongly on a wide range of economic indicators.
“I agree with Vannevar Bush when he said ‘There must be a stream of new scientific knowledge to turn the wheels of private and public enterprises. There must be plenty of men and women trained in science and technology, for upon them depend both the creation of new knowledge and its application to practical purposes’. Science and Technology are the main drivers of innovation and development which propels economic growth,” Obi said.
He however lamented that Nigeria lags behind in the area of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics resulting from poverty, poor school funding, waning interest in STEM education from youths, poorly trained teachers and inadequate learning aids, among others. Obi said that ‘some Nigerian youths are largely uninspired to pursue their passion in STEM related fields, thereby leaving them unprepared for the opportunities and challenges of the 21st century world’.
Obi called on the Federal Government to take necessary steps to reanimate STEM education in Nigeria, by way of better funding, provision of conducive environment for scientific research and development and employment of well-trained teachers in such areas. He said by so doing, Nigeria would be well positioned to scientific and technological advancements and drive the economy forward.