By Olawale Jokotoye
About 200 Nigerian students are undergoing training on robotics in Abeokua.
The U.S. Consular-General, John Bray said this at the opening of the training on Friday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the training was organised by the United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria, in collaboration with RoboRave International, a U.S based robotics academy.
According to Bray, the training is the first in Sub-Saharan Africa, as 60 robots will be donated free of charge to the participating schools.
He expressed the hope that it would become a model for all Africans to follow.
According to Bray, the training seeks to boost technology education in Nigeria by engaging the participating students in hands-on robotics activities to stimulate their interest in academic disciplines in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)
“As robotics touches on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, it can capture the imagination of children and young adults around the world as well as provide a platform for global partnerships and economic development.
“Children who receive STEM education via robotics training will be better prepared to solve real life problems with more creativity, critical thinking and effectiveness.
“These are tools that they will need to compete effectively in the global economy.
“Additionally, many developed countries have based their continued economic growth on STEM.
“Through the RoboRAVE programme, Nigerian children will be inspired to learn more about the importance of STEM, innovation and product development,’’ he said.
He said that the programme would be followed by a visit by the training team to the participating schools between Nov. 2017 and Feb. 2018 to monitor and support integration of robotics education in the classrooms.
The Consular-General explained that more than 100 teachers from public and private schools and Information Technology (IT) entrepreneurs had earlier been trained in Lagos State preparatory to the programme
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo commended the organisers of the programme.
Obasanjo said the training had become necessary for Nigeria to enable the country keep up with global development.
“We are still far behind in what we should be doing and where we should be in general education, so we must embrace this programme.’’
The former president encouraged the students to take the training seriously, adding “the pains of today is the pay of tomorrow’’.
Obasanjo also allayed fears of possible loss of jobs and increased level of unemployment in the nation due to the use of robots.
He explained that other jobs would emanate in the process to compensate for what robotics would take over.
“If we actually plan well, robots will take their place and other jobs will be created for our teaming population and even across Africa,’’ he said. (NAN)