The need to expose young Nigerians to coding-related programmes, languages and games was once again emphasized as more than eight hundred young minds who participated in this year’s Science Technology Engineering Mathematics, STEM, Bootcamp for Kids gathered for the closing ceremony.
The Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa while delivering a Keynote Address at the event, congratulated the participants for completing the 10-day Bootcamp which was held in Abuja, Lagos and Kano simultaneously, encouraged them to start early in deepening their interest in different areas of Information Technology (IT) and emerging technologies.
Inuwa emphasized that “Seven out of the ten fastest growing and better-paying jobs globally are in the Information Technology (I.T) sector; So, I need you all to seize this golden opportunity to start coding early in life because you need to become an exceptional person by having initiatives that can solve problems.”
“We want to see games with African characters, games that uphold and promote our indigenous culture and values as well as educational games and many more”, Inuwa maintained.
The DG stressed that the country is working assiduously towards bridging the global talent gap by becoming the supplier of the same.
“We have an ambitious target of making Nigeria a talented global supplier. We have launched some initiatives like training one million tech developers in the next 18 months and the talent gab analysis where we want to get the best line of information about the number of talents we have in the country. Then, we will come up with a National Talent Strategy Plan on how to position Nigeria as a global talent supplier”, he added.
He noted that the Agency is also doubling efforts to ensure that training interns at the National Centre for Artificial intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR) come up with solutions for malaria and diabetics as well as other health-related issues, adding that some of them are learning to apply drone tech to improve Agriculture and Security.
According to Inuwa, catching them young and spurring kids to make use of the computer which has become a liberal act will translate to building a career in money-making digital ventures, thereby including them in Nation Building.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the National Director, National Centre for Artificial intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR), Eng. Ya’u Garba affirmed that the Stem Bootcamp for kids (SB4Kids) 2022, which was organised by NITDA through NCAIR has successfully exposed the kids to a series of hands-on training in different areas, including Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Extended Reality, Digital Communication and Drone technologies, among others.
“These kids whose ages fall between 8-16 years were tutored and urged to imbibe a passion in STEM in order to create an early interest in digital technologies which will, in the long run, shape their future careers accordingly”, Garba assured.
Some participants who shared their experiences commended the Agency and its subsidiary, NCAIR, for the life-changing opportunity to learn digitally inclined skills and task their minds to see themselves as solutions providers.
Some parents were thankful too for the Bootcamp as they took turns to register their gratitude and recount the benefits of the programme.
The DG, accompanied by other dignitaries presented awards to some outstanding trainees and deserving trainers.
The Director-General later went on a demo tour where he was briefed on the solutions created by the apparently excited participants.