The role of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in bringing about national development and global competitiveness cannot be overemphasised. However, the current education system in Nigeria does not equip students with the skills required to bring about scientific discoveries that are capable of being translated into technological developments at the national and international levels. Characterised by low teacher quality, poor teaching methodology, outdated curriculum and abstract theories, there is a need to apply innovation to the teaching and learning of STEM education in Nigeria.
Through its education Practice, re:learn; CcHUB is set to collaborate with the Lagos State Ministry of Education to bring about a change to the state of science and technology education in Lagos State through the project, Transforming STEM Education in Lagos. The project aims to achieve the following:
- The use of Digital Laboratories for teaching STEM subjects in Lagos
- The transition from instructional method to inquiry-based learning as a more effective teaching methodology for STEM education
- Set-up of a community of practice as a practical model for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for teachers.
Designed to run for a year as a pilot project, twenty schools from the six education districts in the state were selected to participate in the project for one academic year. The project kicked off with a school assessment and selection phase followed by an orientation event for science teachers from selected schools.
Speaking at the orientation event, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education, Lagos State, Mr Abayomi Bolaji, stressed the timeliness of this project in Lagos, a model state in Nigeria. He highlighted the importance of science and technology as major drivers of the national economy and lamented the poor state of science education in the country at various stakeholder levels. He ended his keynote address by encouraging the participating teachers to be cooperative in order to ensure that the objectives of the project are achieved.
Participating teachers were acquainted with an introduction to the project, the method of implementation and an innovative style of pedagogy for effective teaching and learning in the 21st-Century. They were taken through an intensive demo session on the Digital Laboratories – a virtual simulation of scientific practicals – through which they were able to experience the use of inquiry-based learning as a learner-centred teaching approach and as well carry out laboratory experiments on their digital devices.
Giving her remarks, the Director of Science and Technology, Mrs Akinfoyewa reminded teachers of their roles as life builders. She prompted them to see it as a privilege to be a part of the selected schools for the pilot phase of the project and encouraged them to remain positive giving their best in ensuring that STEM education in Lagos state is truly transformed.
The Orientation Event ended with a session where teachers and the facilitators were able to discuss the possible challenges that might occur at various stages of the programme and the necessary actions to take to prevent or address them.
To ensure effective and efficient implementation of the project objectives, a community of practice known as STEM Cells will be set up in each school. STEM Cells are designed to be physical and virtual meeting opportunities for STEM teachers at school and district levels where collaborative learning takes place and teachers are able to take ownership of their own learning. Training sessions will be conducted by pre-trained CcHUB facilitators with periodic monitoring and implementation exercises to measure the impact of the project on the learning outcomes of the students.