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Stakeholders Call For Tech Leverage, Education To Achieve SDGs

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Stakeholders Call For Tech Leverage Education To Achieve SDGs, SiliconNigeria

Stakeholders at the second discourse of the 2020 Lafarge sustainability series called for improvement in technology adoption and increased investment in education to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the country.

This was the major takeaway and call to action at the forum that discussed ‘Co-Creating Value Through Best Practices’ hosted on a zoom video conferencing platform.

The CEO of Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr Khaled El-Dokani, described the webinar series as an attestation to the company’s value for a sustainable environment, saying, in driving the SDGs, the firm had focused its investments in the areas of; education, health and safety, infrastructure and waste management.

The CEO called for concerted efforts at the commercialisation of sustainable development and the adoption of a structured level of cooperation to achieve SDG targets.

The executive director of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), Sandra Ojiambo, said since the year 2000 the organisation had focused on sustainable development and gender equality.

She described 2020 to 2030 as a decade of action for the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals, saying that SDGs is very critical for Africa.

Speaking further she said, “If the COVID-19 recovery process is done properly and guided by SDGs, it could put the globe on the path of inclusive growth post-pandemic.”

Former emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said African countries had pre-existing economic conditions before the global COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the global supply chain and socio-economic activities.

He noted that the non-implementation of the SDG components is having its adverse impact on Nigeria’s economy especially human capital development, urging the forum to re-emphasize the need for education and nutrition to be given top priority in the implementation of the SDGs in Nigeria.

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Mastercard STEM Programme Trains One Million Girls in 30 Countries

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Mastercard STEM Programme Trains One Million Girls in 30 Countries, SiliconNigeria
  • To Reach 5 million Girls By 2025

Mastercard has announced its signature STEM program, Girls4Tech, reached its initial milestone goal of educating one million girls. The program has a new and inspiring goal to reach five million girls by 2025.

The technology company’s signature program, which launched in 2014, offers activities and curriculum built on global science and math standards – and incorporates Mastercard’s deep expertise in technology and innovation – to enable children to discover a range of STEM careers, such as fraud detective, data scientist and software engineer.  

The Girls4Tech workshops hosted across Kenya and Nigeria, have inspired numerous young girls to build the skills they need for STEM careers. “Through the Girls4Tech programme, we’re extending our commitment to Africa’s next generation of women leaders by equipping them with valuable skills that ensure more women have a voice in the development of the products and services of the future,” says Ifeoma Dozie, Director, Marketing and Communications, Sub-Saharan Africa at Mastercard.

Starting as a hands-on, in-person session run by employee volunteers, the program has reached more children by expanding into new topics such as AI and Cybersecurity, and extending access of their STEM curriculum through online resources on Girls4Tech Connect which has been translated into fourteen languages.

Susan Warner, vice president of community engagement and founder of Mastercard’s Girls4Tech program said, “Our goal is to build foundational STEM knowledge and develop critical 21st century skills girls need for their studies and career success. Our program sparks their curiosity in STEM and teaches them real-world applications of those skills.”

How Girls4Tech reaches future STEMinists

  • Announced a new partnership to create a Girls4Tech digital curriculum with Discovery Education — the global leader in standards-aligned digital curriculum resources, engaging content, and professional learning for K-12 classrooms — to reach 1.6 million girls by 2023. 
  • Partnering with scalable organizations such as AIF, Be Better China, Discovery Education, Major League Baseball, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), R&A, Scholastic and YCAB in Indonesia to further scale the program and offer STEM skills in unique ways to girls ages 8-16.
  • Adding new curriculum to give students deeper exposure to the growing fields of cybersecurity and AI.
  • Extending programs, Girls4Tech 2.0 for girls aged 13-16, as well as a 20-week coding program, Girls4Tech & Code for girls 8-10.

Moving the needle for Girls in STEM

In 2019, Mastercard commissioned a study seeking to understand gender and generational differences surrounding perceptions and attitudes of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). In addition to STEM-based topics, the survey investigated challenges and motivations to pursing college majors and careers path.

The study showed that females are less confident, receive less encouragement and need more mentors in STEM. Mastercard’s Girls4Tech program provides each of those elements to young women. To learn more about Girls4Tech and access the online lessons, please visit Girls4Tech Connect.

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ipNX Partners Oyo State On Free Internet for Public Secondary Schools

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ipNX Partners Oyo State On Free Internet for Public Secondary Schools, SiliconNigeria

PHOTO: L- R: Group Executive Director, Commercials ipNX, Bimpe Olaleye, Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Oyo State, Barr. Olasunkanmi Olaleye, Chief of Staff to the Governor of Oyo State, Chief Bisi Ilaka, Group Executive Director, HR & Corporate Services, ipNX, Folashade Efiong-Bassey, and Special Assistant to the Governor of Oyo State On ICT & E-governance, Bayo Akande at the handover ceremony of free high-speed broadband internet connectivity to public secondary schools in Ibadan, Oyo State, on Thursday, October 8, 2020.

Nigeria’s pioneering and leading information, communications and technology (ICT) company, ipNX, has partnered with the Oyo State government to provide free high speed broadband internet connection to two public secondary schools in the State in a bid to improve access to technology for students and teachers.

The initiative is in continuation of ipNX’s broader CSR for Education Programme and Oyo State Internet Programme for Schools.

With access to high speed broadband connection from ipNX, teachers and students of Government College Ibadan and Bishop Phillips Academy, Monatan –– the first set of Oyo State schools selected for the project –– are empowered to fully appropriate the benefits of modern technology in the classroom.

The facility was handed over to the two institutions in Ibadan on Thursday October 8, 2020, at a ceremony which had in attendance Chief of Staff to the Oyo State Governor, Chief Bisi Ilaka, Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Barrister Sunkanmi Olaleye, Special Adviser (SA) on ICT and E-Governance to the Governor, Mr Bayo Akande, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Alhaja Atere Aminat Bamidele,  Chief Technology Architect, ipNX Mr Seun Oluboyo, as well as Principals and students of the schools.

The schools will enjoy individual 10Mbps (Megabit per second) internet service free for five years in the first instance, and renewable thereafter.

According to Group Executive Director, HR & Corporate Services, ipNX, Folashade Efiong-Bassey, “With ipNX’s superior broadband infrastructure, we are providing Oyo state public secondary schools within our path of fibre coverage, with free high speed internet connectivity to enable thousands of students and teachers appropriate the benefits of technology in the classroom.

“We believe this will facilitate the goals of the State in improving the education, science and technology sectors, which is a vision of the administration of His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde.  Moreover, this initiative complements the recent Federal Government intention to implement Zero-rating for education websites as part of efforts to ameliorate the impact of Covid-19 on Nigeria’s education sector.”

As an organisation, a major portion of ipNX’s corporate social investment has been dedicated to education, and since 2011, the company has provided free internet service to 55 public secondary schools in Lagos state. 

As one of Nigeria’s pioneering ICT companies, and a leading Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH) operator, ipNX believes that world-class connectivity and broadband access to the internet will provide more opportunities for students and teachers to find the best practices, create new solutions, connect and inspire each other, all towards the achievement of better learning outcomes. The empowerment of students in this way is pivotal to the digital transformation and socio-economic development of Nigeria.

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Int’l Literacy Day: Make Your Children’s Reading Journey Simple and Fun

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Int’l Literacy Day: Make Your Children’s Reading Journey Simple and Fun, SiliconNigeria

Google today joins the world in marking International Literacy Day (ILD) by upscaling the Read Along app, a speech-based reading app designed to help primary grade kids learn to read – anytime, anywhere.

Read Along, formerly known as Bolo, acts as a personal reading tutor for children. It uses speech-based technology to provide personalised assistance in a student’s reading journey, correcting them when they need help and encouraging them when they get it right.

 Students select stories to read from a growing app-based library and earn stars and badges when they read correctly. After an initial download, the app works offline, even on low cost phones, making it more accessible and relieving worries of privacy and security.

The Read Along app now includes improved features that make it easier for multilingual children to switch languages or get phonics support when they tap a word. The app also has more than 700 unique books across all nine languages, including Arabic, with a refreshing new look for the content library. 

“Google is taking the education journey back to the basics by providing a digital platform that will make learning to read simpler and fun especially in the light of COVID-19 related school closures,” notes Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, Head of Brand & Reputation, Sub Saharan Africa. “At Google, we believe technology can help children around the world learn how to read to help achieve the goal of basic universal literacy.”

Google will run a global story-a-thon from 8-30 September 2020 to encourage children to bring out their imagination through writing. Through participating, children stand a chance of getting published on the Read Along app. Parents can share stories written by their children during the month of September. Read Along will publish some of those submissions on the app.

UNESCO’s theme for International Literacy Day 2020 is Literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. Schools have remained closed due to COVID-19 restrictions and parents and teachers are increasingly turning online to find educational resources for children.

Since Read Along’s introduction, children have cumulatively spent more than 3 million hours on the app reading over 32 million stories. Google’s internal analysis, as well as feedback received from parents and children across the globe, is encouraging. Beginner readers register an improvement of between 38 per cent and 88 per cent in their oral reading skills after reading for 100 minutes on the app. 

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