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Interswitch Sets Aside N12.5m to Promote STEM Subjects

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Leading Pan-African electronic payment and digital commerce company, Interswitch Group, is set to host the first edition of the InterswitchSPAK project with a N12.5 million-scholarship amongst other prizes for the winners.

A statement issued by the firm explained that the project, which is its new CSR initiative, is focused on driving increased interest in the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects among Senior Secondary School students across Nigeria.

It was disclosed that the InterswitchSPAK initiative is a multifaceted one, made up of the TV quiz show which includes the Innovation Challenge, the MasterClass, and the InterswitchSPAK volunteers’ week, all targeted at students aged between 14 and 17 years in SS 2 or year 11, as the case maybe.

InterswitchSPAK aims to encourage and guide the students on career paths that will help them achieve full optimization of their potentials and dreams to become innovators and entrepreneurs.

InterswitchSPAK 1.0. began with a National Qualifying Examination from which the top 81 students out of the over 11,000 students from various private and public secondary schools across the 36 states of the federation, including the FCT, qualified to compete in the TV Quiz Show.

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The TV Quiz Show will be preceded by a Masterclass taking place on August 27, in Lagos.  The Masterclass is a full-day of knowledge sharing and engagement sessions where some of the most inspiring and successful men and women in our society will discuss relevant topics with the students.

Speaking about the Masterclass, Founder & GMD of Interswitch, Mr Mitchell Elegbe, stated that the session would give the students the opportunity to meet real-life models who prove that success is possible, regardless of existing challenges. It will focus on knowledge sharing, as well as motivating the students on character building and assuming leadership responsibilities in all their spheres of contact.

“The Masterclass is a real experiential window for the students, where they do not only meet successful people who are providing solutions, they are motivated and prepped by these people to begin to develop the right mind set and attitude for leadership and success,” he said.

The Masterclass will feature three 45-minute sessions where the qualified students who emerged from the qualifying examinations will be intellectually motivated by high-profile speakers led by Mr Elegbe.

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Also speaking at the event will be Mr Yinka Sanni, CEO, Stanbic IBTC Holdings Ltd, and Eloho Omame, MD, Endeavour Nigeria.

Mr Yinka Sanni will lead the first session and would be speaking on “Social Innovation – The Power of Transformative Ideas, while Eloho Omame will handle the second session titled: ‘Entrepreneurship – A Tool to Creating Impact in Our Society’ and Mitchell Elegbe will round off the session with the topic: ‘Emotional Intelligence and the Leadership Responsibility of Youths’.

After the Masterclass, the TV quiz show will commence with the InterswitchSPAK Innovation Challenge, a two-day intensive boot camp, where the 81 finalists, working in groups, will have the opportunity to brainstorm with their peers and proffer solutions to various issues affecting our society. The group with the most innovative and viable solution will be presented with the InterswitchSPAK 1.0 Founders Prize for Innovation.

Cherry Eromosele, Group Chief Product and Marketing Officer, Interswitch, disclosed that the Innovation Challenge is aimed at accentuating critical thinking and problem-solving abilities in the students who will be guided by staff of the Interswitch Group.

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She said: “InterswitchSPAK is a project we are very much committed to. When we started this journey, our goal was very clear: to find gifted students in secondary schools and guide them to achieve their dreams. InterswitchSPAK was created to help shape the future of Africa’s brightest science students, and our immediate objective is for each student to go away with the awareness of their capacity to do great things”.

With N7.5 million worth of university scholarship for five years for the 1st place winner, N4 million worth of scholarship for three years for the 2nd place winner, and N1 million worth of scholarship for one year for the 3rd place winner, the atmosphere is set for exciting times on InterswitchSPAK 1.0.

Interswitch’s decision to give the grand prize money in the form of tertiary education scholarship, reinforces the company’s commitment to improving lives through sustainable long-term investments.

InterswitchSPAK 1.0 will be rounded off with the “InterswitchSPAK Volunteers Week” where staff of Interswitch will volunteer one hour of their time to teach STEM subjects in selected public schools.

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Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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