• Sunday, May 26, 2024
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BusinessDay

‘Building globally competitive students is hinged on developing science education’

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What was your time in school like?

It was eventful and multi-dimensional: social, academic, spiritual and educational. It was a mix of everything. I made a personal effort to learn as much as I could both from the school system and other opportunities that were open via the internet and through seminars. My time in school was fun. I had good friends, I met great people. It was good.

How did you hear about the MTNF Science and Tech scheme?

I think a friend of mine told me about the scheme. We had to register online before a particular deadline. And so we registered and after that some of us were shortlisted for an examination. After the exams, those of us who were successful were given scholarships. I have been on the scholarship scheme for three years. It started when I was in 300 Level, so that’s 2009.

What MTN has done with this scholarship is remarkable. Could I have done without it? Yes, but with a lot of struggle; interestingly when I heard about it initially, I told someone that isn’t N200,000 too much? Can’t they spread it; maybe give N100,000 so that others can get too. But I didn’t realise how unwise that statement was until I got that N200,000 and realised that there was so much for me to do.

For example, my final year project expenses went well over N200,000. So if I didn’t have that money, I wonder how I would have done it. I really appreciate MTN; they made learning more effective in the sense that before I got the scholarship, I had been fending for myself. My dad is late and my mom doesn’t earn so much. So I had to teach and do other things to make money for my education, but with the scholarship, I was able to focus on my academics and it really helped. Like I jokingly tell my friends in pidgin, “now, I don’t have to think about what to eat. I can eat well and now focus on my books.”

What was your project on?

My project was on wireless transmission of electricity; that is, transferring power without cables. It is pretty much the same way you make phone calls from one point to another without wires.

Has your participation in this scheme affected your view about making a change in this society?

Personally, I have always valued adding value to people in every way I can. But what MTN has done, they took it on a very large scale. I think that it is one of the largest sums given to university students as scholarship today. For me, particularly during the awards ceremony, there were a couple of things that were said. For example, the inclusion of the blind and physically challenged in the scheme is another fantastic initiative. I realised that the only reason we should seek to be big is to become a blessing to others.

In recent times, we have heard about teachers who take bribes from students, what’s your take?

Well, I am aware that it happens in some schools but I never experienced it. I think that largely in the University of Lagos, if not completely eradicated, it’s almost eradicated. Because there are mechanisms through which students can report such forms of harassment from lecturers. I hope in a few years, it will be completely eradicated from our system.

How would you describe the science and technology education in Nigeria?

Personally, I believe that it’s not what the system can give to us that really matters. It’s what we make out of the system. So even though we are in a situation that isn’t topnotch, what we make out of it matters. The system obviously cannot be compared on the same level with some of those abroad.

Notice I said some, because there are some schools that we are better than. But I think that the system gives us a very solid foundation, that’s why many Nigerians that go abroad tend to do a lot better because the foundation we get here is strong although it might not be up to date but at least it’s strong. So when we come into an environment where we have all the facilities, where we have access – we do different things, we know how to rise to the occasion. So I think it prepares us for further work within and outside Nigeria.

What are your current aspirations?

I am currently authoring a book at the moment, the title of the work is, “The Transcendent Student”. That’s the way I have built myself even right from secondary school; to be a student whose academic learning and personal achievement go beyond the regular and ordinary student life. That’s the concept I am trying to push in the immediate.Beyond that, this year, I will be going to the UK for my master’s for a year and then, I’d be back. I want to be a control systems engineer. It has to do with making things run automatically. That’s where my passion lies. I intend to study Automatic Control and Systems Engineering. The University of Manchester is one of the best in that field.

Before I further my studies, I want to be in Nigeria. I am personally interested in helping Nigeria’s ICT system to grow. We need something to help develop our economy. I am more interested in the area of manufacturing. I want to study systems control engineering. I intend to build an engineering firm in Nigeria that will manufacture products and create jobs, provide employment and our technology level can increase on a general level.