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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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Education

NCC Pledges Increased Collaboration With Varsities

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NCC Pledges Increased Collaboration With Varsities, SiliconNigeria

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has pledged to increase collaboration with higher institutions of learning across the country in order to transform Nigeria into a full knowledge-based economy.

The Chairman, Board of Commissioners of NCC, Prof. Adeolu Akande, stated this during a courtesy visit by NCC Board members to Bayero University, Kano (BUK) at the weekend as part of activities lined up for the 2020 NCC Board retreat held in Kano State.

According to Akande, who praised the university for producing Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, the NCC superintends a sector that is knowledge-driven and therefore, would not be able to achieve its mandate without strengthening collaboration with citadels of knowledge like BUK  and other higher institutions of learning to produce the knowledge base needed to support the growth of the telecoms sector.

“The NCC is superintending a sector that is knowledge-driven. In the absence of the citadels of learning, one could only imagine what would have become of the communications industry. So, if we come to Kano, we need to come to the prime centre of learning in Kano and other universities across the state,” he said.

Thanking the university further for “contributing” Danbatta to the industry,  Akande said the sector, which NCC regulates, has also benefited immensely from the knowledge being imparted by the university. 

He said the BUK has produced a good ambassador, excellent professional and a man with administrative acumen and superb human relations in Prof. Danbatta. 

“Hence, the Board of NCC decided to visit Bayero University with the EVC, who is a ‘home boy’ and to show our appreciation for the services of the EVC, an outstanding product of the university, has been rendering to the nation at the NCC. 

We are here also to show that we work together and our coming to Bayero University would be an expression of appreciation of Danbatta’s good work at the NCC,” he said.

In his remarks, Danbatta said all the achievements “we have recorded as NCC can be attributed to the team spirit and cooperation between the Management and Board of NCC even as we are poised to achieve more,” adding that “Our profound prayer is that we leave the NCC better than we met it.” 

Appreciating the university’s management for hosting the NCC’s despite a short notice, Danbatta used the opportunity to also congratulate Prof. Sagir Abbas for his appointment as the 11th Vice Chancellor (VC) of the university. 

While expressing delight to receive the NCC Board, Prof. Abbas noted that the school management cancelled all engagements to receive the board in order to show the university’s high regards for Danbatta, whose name, he said, cannot be omitted in the history of Bayero University.

“Prof. Danbatta has served the university diligently, as lecturer, as head of department, as Dean, as director and he was also a former VC in Kano University of Science and Technology, but wherever he goes, you find him relating to his base. 

“So, we hold him in very high esteem and we are always happy to see him and his team discharging the national assignment his is saddled with and Bayero University is proud to be associated with him. We have no doubt that the Board and Management of NCC will enjoy him more as he begins his second term in office,” he said.

According to the Vice Chancellor, the university has received many donations of computers, iPads and other interventions such as professorial endowments from NCC, all of which, he said, have had positive impacts on the university’s academic programmes.

Sagir, however, appealed for more digital assistance by the Commission in supporting the university more in the area of its ongoing restructuring to fully accommodate virtual learning into its system in view of the current reality globally where ICT is mediating the lecturer-student interaction.

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HP Launches IDEA Program To Equip Nigerian Teachers, Educators

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HP Launches IDEA Program To Equip Nigerian Teachers Educators, SiliconNigeria

In a bid to offers teachers and educators in Nigeria the opportunity to create digital capabilities based on educational frameworks from leading international universities, HP Inc. has launched the HP Innovation and Digital Education Academy (IDEA).

The programme which is in collaboration with Intel, a leading producer of semiconductors and Mirai Partners, an education innovation consultancy.


In the COVID-19 era, educational institutions in Nigeria are scrambling with the new realities and are finding themselves forced into rethinking their operational models in the midst to ensure minimal disruption to their student’s learning experience and their career development.

While technologies are increasingly available, teachers find themselves navigating new territory as they balance in-person, online, and hybrid learning.

The Senior Education Business Lead for the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe at HP Inc., Mayank Dhingra, said, “Education is among the worst hit sectors from the pandemic.

At the same time, it is one of the most promising sectors that – if we get it right – can reap the benefits of this new way of learning. In fact, we can now reach even more people than we ever did before.

While the technology is advancing fast, there is a constant need to innovate to remain resilient. Hence, we need to make sure that teaching staff are able to acquire the right skills to take advantage of blended and digital learning solutions, which is why we have partnered with Mirai and Intel to launch HP IDEA.”

“This program is exciting as it is focused on pedagogy rather than based on specific product. This way we can equip educators with the latest tools and best practices in teaching and learning, which in turn will enable better learning outcomes,” he said.

The Director General, Office of Education Quality Assurance, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Abiola Seriki-Ayeni, added, “The teacher is the singular and most important individual in the education ecosystem and this partnership is a welcome development at such a time as this.

Being an educator myself, this program would give teachers and educators the needed opportunity and expertise to be digitally inclined, acquire the right skills for a blended and digital learning solution and navigate new territories as they balance in-person, online, and hybrid learning. We are working closely to onboard our teachers to improve their capacity which would, in turn, reflect on our students’ learning outcome”.

The Co-founder of Mirai, Christine Nasserghodsi, commented, “We have been supporting schools in their response to COVID-19 since February. What began as a crisis response has evolved into a long-term approach to teaching, learning, leadership, and the use of digital tools and resources.

Effective distance and hybrid learning require innovation and a deep understanding of learning design, one aspect of which is the use of technology.

No one is better equipped to shape the future of education than teachers and school leaders. That is the core value of the HP IDEA program which we have translated into a year-long program for select schools.”

The program is mapped against and delivers on United Nation’s Sustainability Development Goals (SDG’s), the CESA objectives (Continental Education Strategy for Africa), the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) and the Ministry of Education goals for UAE. The academy also incorporates world class research and frameworks from Harvard Graduate School of Education and University of Michigan.

As a result, Ministries of Education across the region, namely Nigeria, UAE and some more have shown great interest and are participating in the program by onboarding their teachers and school leaders to the new HP IDEA.

Furthermore, private education providers have also joined HP’s newly launched platform, which marks a great start to the program as educators can now acquire lean and flexible teaching methods.

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Education

360 Young Nigerians Receive Scholarships from MTN Foundation

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360 Young Nigerians Receive Scholarships from MTN Foundation, SiliconNigeria

MTN Foundation has awarded scholarships to 360 university students at a virtual ceremony on November 12, 2020.

The scholarships were awarded under the MTNF scholarship schemes made up of the MTNF Science & Technology Scholarship (STSS) and Scholarship for the Blind Students (SBSS).

In attendance were the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, represented by the Technical Assistant, Dr. Olufemi Adeluyi; Honourable Minister of Science & Technology represented by the Acting Director-General of the National Space Research and Development Agency, Dr. Francis Chizea; former Minister of Communication Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson amongst other notable dignitaries.

Speaking at the ceremony, the representative of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Olufemi Adeluyi said: “We are here with the MTN Foundation to celebrate scholars that have excelled in school. MTN is also supporting people with disabilities by funding their education and this is very commendable. The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is constantly working towards elevating skills over degrees. We are also committed to ensuring that individuals are empowered with the right tools and skills.” 

Also speaking, Honourable Minister of Science & Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu represented by Dr. Francis Chizea said:  “I am glad that MTN, in giving back to the society through its foundation, set up a scholarship scheme to empower the youths and as well, drive science and technology. This is a welcome development and a commendable effort that other organizations need to emulate.”

A major highlight of the ceremony was a fireside chat themed “Insight. Influence. Impact” with thought leaders sharing inspiring insights with the scholars. Nigeria’s former Minister for Communication Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson reiterated the role MTN continues to play in the ICT space and its impact on the country. “We need to get a workforce that is very comfortable with technology. We are in a state where we need world-class educational institutions and interventions such as this that will enable students to be very vast in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics,” Johnson said.

Leading to the ceremony, this year’s graduating students from the scholarship programme were hosted to a career incubation boot camp facilitated by experts from Google, Oracle, Cisco and Jobberman. Facilitators shared insights on various opportunities amongst other vital employability tips.  

Speaking on the scholarship award ceremony and workshop for graduands, Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, Nonny Ugboma said, “Providing access to quality education is the first step to a world of opportunity for the youth of our nation. We know it does not stop there. We need to also ensure that they are adequately prepared for the workplace. We hope that the fireside chat at the award ceremony will inspire the students to reach for greatness and innovation.

“Furthermore, it is our belief that the employability workshop held earlier will enrich the career path of the graduating students. The MTNF scholarship scheme is more than just funds; it is a commitment to build the capacity of our youth. We wish all our graduating scholars success as they set out to take on the world and congratulate all awardees as the next set of young nation builders in the making.”

The newly awarded scholars will each enjoy a scholarship grant worth N200,000 annually till graduation as long as they maintain a CGPA of 3.5 or its equivalent. The scholarship covers tuition, book allowance and stipend. Till date, MTN Foundation has awarded scholarships to 3,829 students valued at over NGN 2.1Billion.

The MTNF annual scholarships are awarded to high performing students in Nigerian public tertiary institutions.

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