Be the Bill Gates of your time, NITDA Boss charges Nigerian kids

Director-General/CEO of NITDA Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi

The Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, has charged Nigerian children to emulate technological innovators such as Bill Gates and Elon Musk, who through their talents carved a niche for themselves in technological innovations.

Abdullahi spoke in Abuja, yesterday, during the closing ceremony of a two-week training for kids on STEM Education organised by the NITDA through its National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR).

He said: “ You can start building your own software to be the next Bill Gates, Elon Musk. Some of these technocrats started when computers started and they developed their talents to be where they are today.

“Develop yourself and stop spending much time watching games. You need to develop the mindset of teamwork with others to learn more and succeed.”

He noted that there was a lack of quality education in the areas of science and technology in the country hence the need to train the kids.

“The quality of education, especially Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), is deteriorating in our country, as evident from the recent performance of students in major national examinations.

As we match towards the fourth industrial revolution, there is a need for a new strategy and innovative approaches to STEM education, such as the introduction of Artificial intelligence (AI), Robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), and other emerging technologies into our educational system,” he said.

Abdullahi explained that the STEM Bootcamp for Kids (SB4Kids) was part of NITDA’s effort towards implementing the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), particularly the NDEPS’s pillar – Digital Literacy and Skills.

“We are all aware that the Nigerian government is committed to transforming the education system to improve the quality of our graduates to provide a secure future for all our citizens. The government’s vision places education at the heart of the development of the citizenry and future economic success.

“One of the focus areas of NCAIR is Capacity Building. NCAIR capacity-building initiatives are meant to facilitate the creation and adoption of emerging technologies in all facets of Nigerian lives. As an NCAIR’s catch-them-young initiative, the SB4KIDS is a Bootcamp to inspire young Nigerians in STEM. Through the SB4Kids, NCAIR engages youngsters between the age of eight to 16 years in an immersive and well-articulated Bootcamp meant to coach and inspire them to imbibe STEM passion and create an early interest in digital and emerging technologies, which will hopefully shape their future careers in these fields. NITDA SB4Kids is a yearly initiative, normally conducted during the summer school holidays,” he added.

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