BusinessDay

Beneficiaries of Abiru’s STEM education initiative, others graduate

Teachers in secondary schools in the Lagos East Senatorial District who had successfully completed training in modern inquiry-based teaching techniques and secondary school students who had completed training in physical computing as part of their Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum respectively at the Senator Abiru Innovation Lab (SAIL) graduated in Lagos on Friday.

Dignitaries, including the commissioner for Education in Lagos State, Folasade Adefisayo commended the Chairman, Senate Committee on Industries and the Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District, Senator Mukhail Adetokunbo Abiru, on the SAIL project.

In his welcome address, Abiru, who was elated by the impact the SAIL programmes had on participants said he was executing the mandate entrusted to him under three pillars, namely; Legislative Role, Empowerment / Facilitation and Endowment. According to him the SAIL project which is an initiative of his foundation, Tokunbo Abiru Constituency Team (TACT) Foundation is under his endowment pillar.

Senator Abiru Innovation Lab (SAIL), is a first-of-its-kind innovation space in Lagos East Senatorial District, set up in partnership with a renowned technology and Social Enterprise company, The Co-creation Hub (Cc-HUB) in Lagos to train youths in the senatorial district on relevant digital and innovation skills, and build the best entrepreneurs that can compete in the ever-dynamic global economy, Enitan Olukotun, the media aide to Senator Abiru stated.

Abiru said: “I am happy to report that in the last 19 months that I have been given the mandate to represent the people of Lagos East, I have been able to live up to expectations in the roles that I have set up for myself ‘’, adding that ‘the motivation behind this initiative among others is to further fulfil the sacred commitment with the people to deliver dividends and to truly champion programmes, Interventions and services that will improve the socio-economic conditions of our people.”

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Speaking further on graduating participants of the STEM programme, the Senator said: “Today, Secondary school students who are between the ages of 13 and 18 who are graduating have learnt about physical computing using Arduino and coding to develop various solutions to human problems. This is how Asian tigers pulled up and became one of the most technologically developed nations in the world.

In the last 4 months, these kids have been kept busy and creative. The learning process has been most engaging and highly practical. They will be showcasing five (5) unique projects today which they have developed by themselves for the benefits of mankind.”

Abiru, a former Lagos State Commissioner for Finance and retired bank Chief Executive said there is an urgent need to develop the interest of teenagers in production of tech-enabled devices, tools and gadgets that can aid the swift development of our industries in Nigeria.

He said, “What we are doing today is preparing these young ones for the opportunity in the future. The jobs and economic opportunities of tomorrow will largely be defined by digital innovation and technology.

“It is interesting to know that some of their colleagues are already working for major corporations in the world while still in schools here in Nigeria. I interfaced with some of these young tech gurus recently in Gbagada at the GenZ Techies Event where SAIL was the Title Sponsor. Young folks numbering almost 1,000 defied heavy downpour to discuss technology and network within their ecosystem.

‘’I met young CEOs in their teens who already have profitable tech businesses and employ dozens of people in the United States and other parts of the country’’.

Teachers, numbering about 50 who made it to the SAIL physical class, while 350 attended the on-line class, also shared life transforming experiences at SAIL.

The teachers are from both public and private schools (STEM & Non STEM teachers) selected from all over Lagos East, covering Lagos Education District 2 & 3.

Senator Abiru disclosed that the skill sets of the teachers have been greatly upscaled with the Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) which is currently being adopted globally for training students creatively, especially with the use of technology to make their teachings more effective and efficient.

Lagos State Commissioner for Education , Adefisayo who hailed the unique approach of the distinguished Senator to development said technology should be included in the school curriculum. She added that the SAIL Teachers Fellowship will have a great impact on many generations.

Olatunbosun Alake, the Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Innovation and Technology commended Senator Abiru for placing a premium on the human capital development, noting that the value of a trained mind can never be estimated.

He urged other elected public office holders to take a cue from Senator Abiru and champion programmes that will have lasting impacts on the lives of the people. ‘We need to geometrically multiply what Senator Abiru is doing across the nation”, the governor’s aide said.

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