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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.

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.

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.

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.

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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Oyo SUBEB Moves to Curb Fire Outbreaks in Schools



Curb Fire Outbreaks

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

To curb fire outbreaks in public schools and protect the children, the Oyo State Government has taken steps to collaborate with relevant agencies.

On Tuesday, fire gutted a Grade ‘C’ customary court building in Omoyeni Memorial Primary School, Ode-Aje, Ibadan, the state capital.

On Wednesday, the Executive Chairman of the Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board, Dr Nureni Aderemi Adeniran, was at the school premises for an assessment of the unfortunate incident.

While sympathizing with the headship of the Customary Court over the incident, Mr Adeniran commended the school community for their contributions in putting the fire under control.

He hinted that the board will partner with the Ibadan South-East Local Government, under which the customary court is, adding that the building ravaged in the inferno would be rehabilitated as soon as possible.

“We commend you for being proactive and your quick intervention, which prevented this fire outbreak from spreading to classes here.

“The board is so grateful there was no casualty and that this happened when pupils had left school,” the Oyo SUBEB chief said.

He tasked headteachers to ensure effective monitoring of classes and offices to guard against any illicit connection of electrical appliances and acts capable of causing the fire, charging them to be extra-vigilant in their environment and report any activity that may pose a threat to schools.

“I enjoin you to ensure you monitor whatever these children are doing, and make sure all appliances are put off after school hours,” he appealed to school authorities.

The Chairman also emphasised the commitment of Governor Seyi Makinde-led administration to improving security in all schools, maintaining that all citizens must contribute to the safety of schools in the state.

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5 Ways Technology Can Ease the Stress of the ‘Back to School’ Rush



Back to School

Detty December is over and students, teachers and parents alike are all trying to get through the mad rush of Back to School and get back into the swing of things.

Parents, who are just settling back to work after the restful holiday, face multiple tasks such as beating morning traffic to get their children to school on time, making sure that daily school supplies are lined up and ready to use, while also taking time out of their busy schedules to help their children with homework, among other things.

For parents trying to ease their Back to School stress, here are five ways that technology can help:

Set reminders with Assistant: Setting reminders is a smart way to remember all the things that are important for school- from lunches to school events. You can easily create reminders with the help of Google Assistant. Using your mobile device or phone, simply say, “Hey Google, set a reminder”, or “Hey Google, remind me to dry clean my children’s uniform at noon tomorrow.” Google Assistant will go on to set a reminder and send you a notification when it is close to the time.

Beat the traffic with Maps: You can get real-time information about traffic jams and delays using Google Maps, helping to plan better routes for school runs. Parents preparing to take their children to school every morning can make use of Google Maps to check for alternative routes and the Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) to ensure they get to school before the bell rings.

Complete homework with Search: Not all parents are subject matter experts but they do often have to play the role of designated tutor, or help out with homework. In some cases, parents have forgotten how to solve simple math problems or they may not have the answers to some basic science questions. A quick search on Google can help find solutions to difficult questions. Parents should, however, allow their children to generate the answers to their homework questions before searching Google for the answer.

Watch video tutorials on YouTube: YouTube is great for watching explanatory videos that are fun, informative and educational. For example, parents can watch videos that reveal how to solve a quadratic equation and brush up their knowledge to help their children with their homework. There are also a variety of educational videos for children that can help parents tutor children who wish to learn more beyond their school work.

Keep kids safe with Family Link: Children today spend more time online than ever before. As such, it is important to help them develop healthy online habits and make sure they are protected from ills such as online predators and cyberbullies. Family Link allows parents to set digital rules to help guide their children as they learn and explore online. The app helps children make good decisions about what they do on their devices and even shows teacher-recommended apps that can be added to their devices.

It can be overwhelming for parents to balance their own professional endeavours with the demands of their children’s rigorous education but technology can sometimes help to lighten the load.

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Firm Partners A.G. Leventis to Promote STEM Education



STEM METS Resources Limited

By Adedapo Adesanya

As part of its commitment to inspire young minds, STEM METS Resources Limited has partnered with A.G. Leventis to impact the next generation through Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Robotics workshop for schools in Apapa Local Government Area of Lagos state.

The partnership is a long-term commitment to educate, empower and elevate young minds while also ensuring accountability through measurable outputs.

STEM METS Resources, a social enterprise dedicated to enriching young minds is an indigenous company geared towards providing world-class services that are skillfully designed to equip Nigerian children and youth with the necessary skills set to compete and succeed in the global space.

In the modern global economy, STEM is closely linked with a country’s economic prosperity. Developed countries that have become global leaders have relied heavily on the hard work and innovations of scientists and engineers.

To ensure consistent economic prosperity, it is necessary for developing countries such as Nigeria to focus on STEM education.

Now more than ever, there is a need for Nigeria and Africa to expand the capacity and diversity of the STEM workforce pipeline to equip the younger generation with the requisite skills for jobs of the future.

Also, with the pandemic outbreak in 2020, a lot has changed in the workforce. The resolve to work and learn remotely introduced global cross-functional teams.

This has reinforced the need to educate the next generation to help them compete on a levelled playing field against their international contemporaries in the global job market.

Commenting on the partnership, Ms Jadesola Adedeji, the CEO of STEM METS said “Technology is an integral part of a nation’s accelerated growth and stabilized economy which then makes STEM education a top priority in the educational system.

“Exposing these young minds to it at an early age is a guaranteed way to build a generation of innovators and thinkers who will sustain and strengthen the evolving position of Nigeria and Africa at large.”

On her part, Ms Seun Oni, the Group MD of A. G Leventis noted that “The future is digital, and we believe that strategic partnerships such as this will provide a conducive learning environment around STEM and ensure a ready pipeline of skills for young minds.

“Through various trainings and workshops, we remain committed to supporting the educational journey of children in our host community and preparing young champs for the future of work in the global space.”

STEM METS Resources is a long-term partner in improving Nigeria’s STEM education system through the provision of innovative and alternative educational learning platforms and continues to equip children and youths with the required skill set to compete in the future global workforce.

Over the years, more than 10,000 young minds have benefitted from the various workshops, holiday camps and weekly enrichment camps.

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