Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has received the Nigerian girls who won the World Technovation Challenge in the Silicon Valley in San Francisco, US, last month.
The victorious girls received at the Presidential Villa on Thursday included Promise Nnalue, Nwabuaku Ossai, Adaeze Onuigbo, Vivian Okoye, Jessica Osita and Miracle Igboke.
The team, mentored by Uchenna Onwuamaegbu, defeated representatives of other countries including the USA, Spain, Turkey, Uzbekistan and China to win the gold medal at the contest.
Their pitch at the contest was FD-Detector Application, which they developed to curb fake drugs.
They were accompanied by Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Nkem Okeke, Commissioner for Education, Professor Kate Omenugha and the Principal of the Regina Pacies Secondary School Onitsha, Anambra State.
Speaking while receiving the girls, Vice President Osinbajo said the Nigerian government would be part of the success story and would be talking to the government of Anambra State about what could be done to support the project.
He said government would also collaborate with the Edufun Technik Stem Centre; whose Managing Director, Uchenna Onwuamaegbu, mentored the girls in developing the application.
He said some of the areas of education that government was looking at are the pre-school and primary school that would take into cognizance technological development.
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 the Nigerian government was developing a system of code “so that from pre-primary school young people can begin to learn the system of code writing. They can also begin to learn the development of applications.”
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 innovation and creative ways.
“The world has changed. The entire system of education has challenge because certainly, we cannot prepare not just for the 21st Century but even the next five years without serious investment in technology.”
Professor Okeke said the Anambra State government has continued to invest in education in view of its critical importance to development.
In her speech, Uchenna Onwuamaegbu said the programme began in January this year and was aimed at bringing STEM education to all parts of Nigeria.
She said Technovation is a world event that introduces girls into coding and entrepreneurship.
She said the girls from the Regina Pacies School, Onitsha, were so hungry for knowledge.
Explaining the working of the FD-Detector App, one of the girls, Promise Nnalue, said it works to 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.