From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja

To leverage on the enormous offerings of the fourth industrial revolution, the Federal Government has begun bootcamp training for school children within the 8-11 years bracket in various aspects of information and communications technology (ICT).

Speaking at the closing ceremony of a two-week bootcamp on Friday in Abuja, the Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr Kashifu Inuwa said that the training tagged; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Bootcamp for kids (SB4KIDS) was organized by the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR), the arm of NITDA meant to drive Research and Development (R&D) and innovation in the emerging technologies areas.

He revealed that the kids were taught robotics, coding, drones, digital communication, among others.

He said: “SB4Kids is part of NITDA’s effort towards implementing the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), particularly the NDEPS’s pillar-digital literacy and skills.

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“The quality of education, especially Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, is deteriorating in our country, as evident from the recent performance of students in major national examinations. As we march towards the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), 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.

“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 8 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”.

The NITDA boss added that this year, the SB4KIDS was conducted between 23rd August and 2nd September, in two batches. The first batch engaged youngsters between the ages of 8 and 11 years, while the second batch was for youngsters between the ages of 12 to 16 years.

“This year, NITDA SB4KIDS has trained almost two hundred (200) participants, with 96 junior kids and 82 senior kids. During the entire programme”, all participants were provided meals for lunch, writing materials and all necessary care to ensure that our youngsters had a very pleasant experience and a fun environment to aid their learning.

” Skilled NCAIR members took them through various technologies, on a journey requiring critical thinking and a high sense of curiosity in the world of science and digital technologies”, he said.