NNEWI INCHES TOWARDS BECOMING THE NEW AFRICAN TECH HUB
…as Anglican Bishop goes scientific, introduces STEAM
…to build center for robotics and coding
The Diocese of Nnewi, Anglican Communion, will be the first to set up a Diocesan Centre for Coding and Robotics to ensure that the children in the diocese are not left out in the 21st century digital revolution.
The Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, Rt. Rev. Ndubuisi Obi, who stated this during the flag-off of Coding and Robotic training workshop in partnership with Edufun Technik STEM Center at the Anglican Girls Secondary School Nnewi, said the programme would be extended to 16 major secondary schools in the Diocese.
He stated that the Nnewi Diocesan School Board will find a way to mainstream coding and robotics studies in its curriculum for it to be well entrenched in the system and maintained that it is only through such a way that children will grow with it and it will become part of them.
“We have started and nobody knows the extent we can go. Our intention is that these students will turn out fine”. He noted.
Rt. Rev. Ndubuisi Obi said he first came in contact with coding and robotics as an Archdeacon, so when the founder of Edufun Technik, Uchenna Onwuamaegbu-Ugwu brought the idea to him, it was easy for him to take the opportunity, adding that “when the Uchenna Onwuamaegbu-Ugwu the founder of Edufun Technik came to me, it was not a new thing, so we immediately hit the ground running to make it a reality for the students in the Diocese to benefit without their parents/guardians paying so much because it involves a lot of money, considering the materials, workshop books, the setting up of laboratory among others. The bishop further noted that this is a technology driven era, therefore the students should be prepared to meet up with the challenges of the time.
Lauding the Edufun Technik on their commitment for the programme to succeed, the Lord Bishop said: “I truly commend the Edufun Technik facilitators. I must confess they have been running at a loss, I am certain, but I told them that this is the sacrifice they will make to flag off this. Then with time, various schools within the state will key in, for it is said that the more the merrier. When others key in, they will then begin to recoup their investment”.
He said both the diocese and the facilitators had made heavy investment in the programme, but their interest is to empower the average girl and boy in the Diocesan schools.
” I am happy at the impact being made on these girls. That is the joy. We will extend it to other schools like Carol Standard, Bishop Uzodike, Dame Irene Okwuosa, Living Spring, Kings Secondary, in all 16 secondary schools” of the Diocese, said the bishop.
The Archdeacon in charge of education in the Diocese, Ven. Henry Nzubechukwu Nduka (JP), said it was not easy as the financial involvement nearly scared them away, however considering the benefits the Diocese had to reconsider and make the investment, thanks to the partnership with Edufun Technik.
Ven. Nduka who is also the Supervisor, Special Duties, Anambra State in charge of Moral Instructions in Nnewi North, South, and Ekwusigo Local Government Areas said, if there is anything that makes the Bishop not to sleep, it is how to make Nnewi a technology hub in Africa.
He said coding and robotics have come to stay in Nnewi Diocese but decried the discouragement from some people over the initiative and growing interest.
Uchenna Onwuamegbu-Ugwu the Managing Director of Edufun Technik Center who is a multiple award winning educator on STEAM Education and the facilitator of the programme said Coding, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics education were simply to bring technology closer to the children, introduce them to the 21st century digital skills and prepare them for the future of work.
She emphasized that the policy makers need to pay urgent attention to what the future of work looks like and start overhauling the nation’s school curriculum.
She said: “Robotics education right now is what the children should be looking out for”. The future of work describes changes in how work will get done over the next decade, influenced by technological, generational, and social shifts, therefore, the right thing to do is to equip the younger generation with the right skills to make informed decision.
The world of internet and technology has come to stay, knowing this we have to think about Jobs that will be available by 2030.
She noted that the top five career choices in learning Robotics, Artificial Intelligence coding, Machine Learning and Coding are: Data Scientist, Big data Engineer, Machine Learning Engineers, Software Engineers and Automation Engineers.
At this point our students have the right to know what the future holds for them and start right now to be inspired and be provided with the relevant soft skills like: Digital literacy and computational thinking, Emotional and social intelligence, Creative and innovative mindset, with these skills they will be well equipped for STEAM careers opportunities.
She expressed their desire to bring Robotics Education to schools across Africa by helping them set up robotic and coding Labs.
She expressed her passion, commitment and capacity to work with the government, mission and private schools across Nigeria and any other parts of Africa to actualize her vision. She stressed the need for collaboration in conducting train the trainer’s capacity building programmes which will help them to set up coding and robotics centers in communities across Nigeria.
One of the beneficiaries Mmesoma, said “This will be an unforgettable experience in my life, participating in this Robotics workshop has opened my eyes to the possibilities of embracing technology. I want to become a farmer in the future, and I now understand how technology will help me, especially drone technology. I pray that this program will be integrated as part of the school subject”.