By 2030, more than half the jobs in the world will be STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics — based. According to research, innovation and employment are strong markers of continuous success in modern economies, and STEM education, leadership, as well as business skills, happen to be the most significant variables.
But how prepared is Africa for this reality? Are students in African schools equipped to take advantage of this opportunity? How can these students compete globally? This brings us to the problem statements of TechGen Africa.
Technologically, companies are springing up and the number of jobs requiring STEM-based skills is on the increase. Sadly, our students are poorly equipped to fill this huge gap of poverty, poor school funding, and waning interest from students, to poorly trained teachers, inadequate learning aids, and incessant strike actions amongst others.
Consequently, traditional education in Africa is failing, with STEM education being the worst hit. Students are largely uninspired to pursue their passion in STEM-related fields thereby leaving them unprepared for the opportunities and challenges of the 21st-century world.
In a quest to change this negative trend, TechGen Africa (techgenafrica.com) in collaboration with the India STEM Alliance (indiastemalliance.com), has launched an initiative conceived and developed to promote STEM education in Africa by providing the right support and reward for students and other stakeholders.
The initiative is poised to support young Africans who are interested in acquiring the problem-solving skills that come with solid STEM education, leadership, and entrepreneurial skills, in order to surmount the challenges facing Africa in various sectors of the economy. This initiative would ultimately position young African professionals to compete favorably with their colleagues globally.
In addition, TechGen Africa has created a platform (stemtutors.org) to make STEM education accessible and affordable to all, by connecting interested parents/guardians to a professional STEM educator irrespective of location. A number of parents are already using these products, even during the lockdown period.
TechGen Africa, in a bid to change the African narrative, has trained over 4000 people and counting, in STEM-related courses. A major milestone attained by TechGen Africa is the successful organization of the first blockchain training for teens in Nigeria in 2018. TechGen also runs a STEM entrepreneurship program—a 10-month accelerator program— which is churning out thought leaders in innovation and business. Here is what a TechGen scholar has to say: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMt9h_MTkiU&t=16s
The project has been awarded a 30Under30 sustainable solution for Africa by ‘WeForGood International’ and has been selected to be among 100 innovative projects in Africa by Pan-Africa youth spark.
Owing to existing competence levels, a large number of jobs in Africa’s employment ecosystem have been outsourced to expatriates. Initiatives like these will in the long run increase competitiveness and improve employability for Africans at home and abroad. And as a matter of cause-and-effect, improved STEM skills at the grassroots will equal greater employment rates, job retention, higher exports, and a direct positive impact on countries’ GDPs.
While STEM education may have been plagued by various challenges in the past, TechGen Africa’s collaborative initiative is one great step towards salvaging the situation which deserves the support and commendation of every stakeholder. It is also hoped that other successful Nigerian tech companies will be inspired by TechGen Africa’s efforts to create similar opportunities for education in Africa and for Africans.
Making Africa More Literate
From research culled from the evaluation of different literacy programs across Africa and the globe, it has been found that effectiveness indicators are due to a mixture of internal and external factors.
A major revision is needed for the definition of literacy itself, which requires to be more inclusive of and responsive to other areas of life, to improve and include a modification to globalization and new challenges. Also:
- Reform of our curriculum and the newer curriculum should be focused more on African culture and values, with social unity taking a bottom-up approach on the basis of the needs, realities, and aspirations of African nations.
- Utilize technologies to leverage rapid globalization and scaling solutions.
- Stimulate innovation, as developing and sharing best practices and successful experiences is an important factor.
- Prioritize “deep learning” in this new vision for literacy, as it emphasizes the vital role that learning plays in ensuring the acquisition of life skills and qualitative societal revolution in terms of social justice, harmonious living, and economic growth.
The status quo of STEM education vis-a-vis problem identification and practical solutions for all stakeholders has been extensively discussed in a TechGen Africa publication (https://www.techgenafrica.com/publications) titled “Awakening Africa’s potential for innovation” by Sodiq Ade Balogun (CEO/founder, TechGen Africa).
TechGen Africa is leading the revolution in education and innovation in Africa and calls on all stakeholders to rise to the responsibility, that Africa may take her rightful place in a digital future.
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