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National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA has graduated 200 kids from its Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Boot Camp for Kids (SB4KIDS) 2021 edition to further ensure that Nigeria becomes a digitally proficient economy.

Speaking during the presenting the awards, the Director-General of the agency, mallam Inuwa Kashifu said the STEM Bootcamp for Kids (SB4Kids) is part of NITDA’s effort towards implementing the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), particularly the NDEPS’s pillar – Digital Literacy and Skills.

Kashifu said NITDA had through its National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR) embarked on a two weeks training for kids on STEM Education, which is a yearly initiative, normally conducted during the summer school holidays.

Acccording to him, “This year, the programme was conducted between 23rd August and 2nd September, in two batches of 96 junior kids and 82 senior kids, who were trained in the intellectual and intensive exercise.

The first batch engaged youngsters between the ages of 8 and 11 years, while the second batch was for youngsters between the ages of 12 to 16 years.

They were immersed in various activities, thereby learning various technologies and skills ranging from Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, Drones, Coding, Virtual Reality (VR), 3D printing, and digital communication, where participants were trained on how to tell their stories digitally using video and audio, including adding digital effects to their creations to make them more interesting and impacting.

During the entire program, skilled NCAIR members took them through various technologies, on a journey requiring critical thinking and a high sense of curiosity in the world of science and digital technologies.

According to him, a rigorous process was put in place to select twenty (20) winners, that is ten (10) from each batch out of the 200 trained.

‘‘The quality of education, especially Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, is deteriorating in our country, as evident from the recent performance of students in major national examinations. As we match towards the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), there is a need for a new strategy and innovative approaches to STEM education, such as the introduction of Artificial intelligence (AI), Robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), and other emerging technologies into our educational system.

‘‘We at NITDA believe that the early involvement of youngsters in technology and innovation will accelerate the development of the technology sector and create future technology leaders who will transform the Nigerian technology space and boost the Nigerian Digital Economy.

‘‘We are all aware that the Nigerian government is committed to transforming the education system to improve the quality of our graduates to provide a secure future for all our citizens. The government’s vision places education at the heart of the development of the citizenry and future economic success.

‘‘The kids were kept in an intensive engagements over the last two weeks in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program organized by the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR), with the arm to drive R&D and Innovation in the emerging technologies areas,’’ said the DG.

He charged all the recipients of the award to continue with the journey towards becoming technology leaders who will steer our country towards prosperity.

He also used the opportunity to invite them to the NITDA ACADEMY, where they can continue with their digital-learning journey within the comfort of their home and through the virtual platforms.

‘‘I have already instructed the National Director of the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics to liaise with the IT Infrastructure Solutions (ITIS) department to facilitate the registration of the SB4KIDS participants into the NITDA ACADEMY,’’ he said.

At the event, best participant, received awards and appreciation from NITDA.

The first three (3) from each batch will receive a laptop, while all the twenty (20) selected winners will receive a STEM kit that will help them with their STEM education journeys.

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