As the semifinals of the InterswitchSPAK National Science Competition draws to an end, nine contestants are left in the race for the crown as the best Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) student in Nigeria.
The student who emerges tops will bag the grand prize of N7.5 million in scholarship for a five-year period, a brand-new laptop, and a monthly stipend. The second-place winner will go home with N4 million scholarship spread over a period of three years, a brand-new laptop, and a monthly stipend.
The third-place winner gets N1 million scholarship spread over a period of one year, a brand-new laptop, and a monthly stipend.
It is interesting to note that these students emerged from over 20,000 students that sat for the Crux Computer-Based Test (CBT) held nationally last year to compete for the bragging rights as the country’s best STEM student.
Preparations for the grand finale are in place and the excitement is high as followers of the show anticipate a stiff and rousing competition between the unusual mix of contestants left in the race.
While girls have made it through to the finale of previous seasons of the competition’s 4-year run, this season has the highest number of female finalists, they include Precious Akinyemi of Rhema Chapel International School, Oyo State, Joyce Onubogu of British Spring, Awka, Anambra; Towoju Atinuke of Seolad International College, Ogun State; and Orevaoghene Whiskey of Top Faith International School, Akwa Ibom State.
Other finalists equally competing for the grand prize include Zulqarnain Abubakar of Apt Scholars Universal College, Ogun State; Chimdubem Duruji of The Ambassadors College, Ota, Ogun State; Oraibi Okari of Jephthah Comprehensive Secondary School, Rivers State; Adesayo Elumaro of The Ambassadors College, Ota, Ogun State; and Stephen Nwaneri of Adedokun International Schools, Ogun State.
Over the years, InterswitchSPAK has remained committed to driving the interest of young African students in STEM subjects by encouraging and rewarding them in their pursuit for excellence. InterswitchSPAK is a flagship CSR initiative of Interswitch, Africa’s leading integrated payments, and digital commerce company.
To catch the grand finale, tune in to DSTV Africa Magic Family 154 on Sunday, 29th January 2023 at 5:30 pm, with a repeat broadcast on Wednesday, 1st February 2023 at 3 pm; and on the AIT Network at 7.30 pm on Sunday, 5th February 2023. You don’t have to miss the action while on the go, you can watch the show on platforms such as LinkedIn and YouTube.
Stay tuned for the finals. It promises to be nothing short of entertaining, educating, and thrilling. Bond with family while at it. What better way to inspire the budding generation than to give them something to aspire to, knowing that if they can dream it, they can achieve it.
Orevaoghene Whiskey Emerges InterswitchSPAK 4.0 Winner
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A student of Top Faith International School, Akwa Ibom State, Miss Orevaoghene Whiskey, has won the fourth edition of the prestigious InterswitchSPAK National Science Competition.
She is now the first female winner of the 13-week Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) show, which had over 20,000 applications across the country.
With the win, the 16-year-old best STEM student in Nigeria will receive the grand prize of N7.5 million in scholarships, among other exciting prizes.
InterswitchSPAK Nigeria is the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative of Africa’s leading integrated payments and digital commerce company, Interswitch.
The programme aired on domestic and terrestrial television stations, providing a platform for brilliant young Nigerians to showcase their knowledge in STEM subjects.
In the fourth edition, Adesayo Elumaro of The Ambassadors College, Ota, Ogun State, clinched the second spot and went home with N4 million, while Precious Akinyemi of Rhema Chapel International School, Oyo State, grabbed the third position and N1 million in scholarship.
Speaking on the essence of the initiative, the Chief Customer Experience Officer at Interswitch, Ms Oremeyi Akah, emphasised the need for more young Africans to tow the STEM path, thereby underscoring the goal of the InterswitchSPAK National Science competition.
”Research by the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) reveals that less than 25% of African higher education students pursue STEM-related career fields,” Ms Akah said.
Based on this premise, she expressed concern about the retrogressive impact this could pose on Africa’s talent pool which may not be opportune to acquire the necessary tech skills to drive innovation on the continent in the near future.
However, she submitted that through initiatives such as the InterswitchSPAK National Science competition, hope holds sway because “Interswitch is inspired by its vision of a prosperous Africa, driven by the exchange of value and commerce; an Africa where Africans are equipped with the requisite knowledge to solve the unique challenges faced on the continent.”
She added that the reward and prizes totalled N12.5 million was a way to fund the “dreams and aspirations” of the winners as they work towards creating an impactful future for Nigeria and Africa in general.
Last season, 16-year-old Jubril Dokun of Brainfield College, Salolo, Lagos State, who snagged the first prize, also emerged among the top 10 highest scorers in the 2022 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Exam (UTME).
With a vision of a prosperous Africa, Interswitch has pledged to provide enabling platforms that encourage the future generation of STEM professionals who will contribute to the growth of Nigeria and Africa at large. This has been evidently demonstrated with InterswitchSPAK rewarding 12 outstanding STEM students with a total of N50 million over the last four years.
How Nigeria Can Boost FX Inflow from Education Tourism—Schoolingyonda
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Nigeria can improve its shortage of foreign exchange (FX), pressuring the Naira at the currency market if the government pay attention to education tourism, an educational consultancy, Schoolingyonda, has submitted.
At the moment, many Nigerian students go outside the country to further their education because of different issues in the country, including insecurity and others.
But Schoolingyonda believes Nigeria, which prides itself as the giant of Africa, can attract education tourism by showcasing the country’s showbiz sector, which comprises music, dance and fashion, to the world.
The Principal Consultant of Schoolingyonda, Mrs Funmi Modupe, described education tourism as one of the different forms of tourism, noting that it is a way to provide the best education to students learning while enhancing knowledge.
The increase in this type of tourism is based on the growing popularity of attaining knowledge and technical competencies from the best destinations around the world.
“Our major focus with EduTourism is to simply showcase what we have, that which we as Nigerians are exceptionally talented and the world already recognizes,” she said as the company prepares to celebrate International Day of Education.
Mrs Modupe stated that “in today’s education system, we should be teaching our unique dance, fashion and music styles to attract other students around the globe.
“You will all agree with me that these are areas in entertainment that the whole world already identifies Nigerians’ speciality. We initiate a dance step, the entire world copy, and via modern technology, it goes viral across different social channels.”
In proposing some solutions, Schoolingyonda argues that there is a pressing need for Nigeria to argue the existing programs, especially in our tertiary institutions and centres of learning.
She strongly believes that the country has all the necessary skills and talents to harness the economic benefits of creative arts, advocating the introduction of innovative programs infused into traditional music, fashion and dance across selected public and private institutions.
Nigeria has some unique dance styles which can be researched, recorded, designed and crafted into programs to be learnt by students from diverse regions. This will further increase the interest of young Nigerians in the arts and creativity, she submitted.
She also proffers that there is a need to bring dance and music into academic learning for posterity, developing history and increasing diversity. Restructuring the arts with a good blend of our traditional and contemporary dance will definitely spark positive global attention.
Schoolingyonda is an educational consultancy service with the goal of offering students personalised study, thereby assisting parents and their wards to acquire opportunities abroad.
Evolve Targets Nigerian Students to Tackle Global Climate Change
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
To tackle global climate change, a non-profit organisation that focuses on girl-child education, Evolve, has decided to provide quality education for 50,000 female students across Nigeria.
This would be achieved through the support of its lead partner, Polaris Bank, which plans to adopt several schools across the country to cater for the needs of the girl child.
The Evolve programme, which was launched in 2020 to address the global challenge of climate change through the education of underprivileged girls, is designed to impact over 50,000 direct beneficiaries and 200,000 indirect beneficiaries in the next five years.
Speaking on the impact of the project, the Managing Director of Pacegate Limited, Mr Umesh Amarnani, said, “The Evolve CSR program aims to ensure girl-child education and empowerment to help curb global warming and make an impact in the community.”
“At Pacegate, we are committed to building a more sustainable and responsible environment where every girlchild feels valued, empowered, and can contribute to the society at large.
“We strongly believe that through the schools’ supplies provided, value-based education being taught to school teachers, and support received from our sponsors, the girlchild will have access to a higher level of educational opportunities,” Mr Amarnani added.
Also commenting on the initiative, Polaris Bank’s Group Head of Customer Experience Management & Sustainability, Ms Bukola Oluyadi, said, “We recognise that education and youth empowerment are the most significant indicators of social progress. Our commitment to these has been the drive for the empowerment of the girl-child and, thus, the partnership with Evolve.
“Since 2021, we have partnered with Evolve and adopted several schools across Nigeria to cater for the needs of the girl child.”
Evolve has a clear mandate using S-connect approaches adapted from Heartfulness Institute Hyderabad. Through the S-connect, Evolve initiative reaches out to educational institutions, most secondary schools across the country, by providing their female students with basic school supplies in fulfilment of Evolve’s mission to tackle Climate Change by empowering the girl-child.
Since its inception, Evolve, in collaboration with all of its partners, has donated school supplies, including school uniforms, sandals, notebooks, pens, and bags, to over 10,000 female students in 32 schools across nine states in the country.
In 2022, Evolve also launched Inspire program to impact teachers specifically. Inspire is a value-based education enrichment program that assists educators in developing a heart-centred approach to teaching. The focus is to enable teachers to take a holistic approach towards student growth using 21st-century styles of learning such as the Heartfulness Way.
Evolve is the CSR arm of ADIPRO Chemicals, executed through Pacegate Limited and PEARL in Nigeria. The Girl Child Education Initiative was launched based on the Project Drawdown Report to address global warming by focusing on educating the girl child.
Asides from Polaris Bank, Evolve has received support from other partners to achieve its mission of empowering girls to reduce global warming eventually. These partners include OVH Energy Marketing, now NNPC Retail Ltd, Bic and Crownstar who have supported Evolve with school supplies, as well as Hill and Knowlton strategies, an international PR consultancy supporting the project with media and publicity.
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