Industry stakeholders in the Nigerian technology sector have urged the government to prioritise investment in robotics engineering and incorporate robotics into the secondary school curriculum. This, they believe, would help harness the potential benefits of robotics and build solutions to address the country’s economic challenges.
It has also been suggested that introducing children to robotics at an early age is an effective way to inspire and empower them to develop solutions to technological challenges. This is because robotics can be used to teach children important skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, teamwork, and computational thinking.
In many developed countries, robotics education is prioritized at all levels of education, including primary, secondary, and tertiary. This is because these countries recognise the potential benefits of robotics education, such as the development of critical thinking skills, creativity, and problem-solving abilities. Furthermore, these countries understand the wide range of applications for robotics and its potential impact on economic growth and technological development. It is puzzling that Nigeria has not yet taken full advantage of the benefits of robotics education by incorporating it into the secondary school curriculum.
Speaking at the recently held EduPoint Code Fest 2.0, a secondary school competition in Lagos, Tochi Opara-Eze, the National Business Lead of Edupoint Limited, stressed the importance of investing in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education to promote widespread use of robotics in Nigeria and develop experts in the field. Opara-Eze noted that robotics education has the potential to have a significant impact on Nigeria’s economy, particularly in terms of innovation and job creation. He further stated that robotics is becoming increasingly important in solving societal problems and boosting productivity.
According to Opara-Eze, the competition was designed to allow students to choose one of nine key areas of the Nigerian economy, including agriculture, education, health, and real estate, and develop solutions to address challenges in those areas. By applying their knowledge of robotics and technology, the students were able to come up with innovative and creative solutions.
Opara-Eze emphasised that while the competition focused on creating working solutions through engineering, its primary goal was to nurture the creativity and ingenuity of the participants. He stressed the importance of creating an environment that fosters innovation and creative thinking, particularly in the field of robotics
“I am impressed by the ingenuity of the students coming up with intriguing solutions. The creativity, efforts and teamwork put into this is top-notch,” he said.
Oyebode Kazeem, a staff member at Pan Atlantic University, called on the government to support such initiatives and partner with foreign organizations to provide the necessary equipment for learning. He noted that access to the right resources and technologies is essential for promoting innovation and developing students’ skills in robotics. He also stated that with adequate funding, the continuity of such initiatives, which raise awareness and encourage the integration of robotics engineering into school curricula, can be ensured. He added that sustained investment and support for robotics education is essential for developing a pipeline of skilled professionals in the field.
Odetola Ebenezer Israel, the founder of CME Creative Mind Educo, highlighted the importance of integrating AI and robotics into the Nigerian education system. He emphasised that robotics education can develop a range of skills, including computational thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork. In addition, he stressed the need for the government and private sector to collaborate to ensure that every Nigerian student has access to quality education that includes robotics. Israel believes that this would help to close the skills gap and make Nigerian students more competitive in the global workforce.
“There is no way we can prepare the children for the future without giving them a taste of the knowledge of the future, our children need a lot of machine learning tools and also resources to be able to create endless materials around the world”, he noted.
Damilola Oyeyipo, global head for growth and consumer support at Vines Realty, called on the government to create a safe and supportive environment for students to develop their tech talents. He stressed the need for a conducive environment that will allow students to develop their skills in robotics and other tech fields. According to Oyeyipo, this would help to foster creativity and innovation, and lead to a more robust tech ecosystem. In addition, he urged the government to integrate robotics into the education curriculum, so that students can develop the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in this field.
Ayden Haoken, while delivering a presentation at the 2023 TEDxYouth @SWA event on the topic of “Why Robotics Should Be A Major Part of Schools and A Base Foundation For All School Curriculum”, argued that robotics should be a core component of school curricula as it can help students develop essential 21st-century skills, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity.
Haoken stated that robotics education can also foster an interest in STEM subjects, leading to increased interest in these fields and a more tech-savvy workforce.
“Creativity is built through robotics. Robotics has taught me that open ended questions are questions and responses which you give with no black and white answer. You can do it in your own creative way, your own idea and giving your own idea in billions of ways, that is what develops creativity and that is what makes creativity and innovation grow in people’s lives”, he explained.
Haoken outlined several ways in which robotics can benefit both students and nations. First, he explained that robotics provides a hands-on, experiential learning environment that helps students better understand STEM subjects. Second, he argued that robotics encourages collaboration, communication, and critical thinking, as students work together to solve problems and build robots. Third, he highlighted the fact that robotics education can help to close the skills gap, as it teaches skills that are in high demand in today’s job market. Finally, Haoken argued that robotics can help to foster innovation, leading to new technologies and products that benefit society. He noted that through robotics education, nations can develop cross-cultural skills with people from different cultures and backgrounds, which can help them learn to communicate and collaborate effectively.
“There is still separation between human beings and different cultures,but robotics can help fix this bond,it can help humanity grow together,”he said.
In his closing remarks, Haoken emphasised the importance of robotics education and its role in the future of education. He stated that robotics education will become an integral part of all school curricula, and that the future of robotics will be one of revolutionary change. He further stated that the world is on the cusp of a robotics revolution, and that nations must prepare for this change by investing in robotics education.