The Ambassador of Israel to Nigeria, Shimon Ben-Shoshan, says the Israel-Nigeria cooperation through Innovation Fellowship for Aspiring Inventors and Researchers (i-FAIR), will boost ICT e-learning in the country.
Ben-Shoshan made this known in his address at the official inauguration of the pilot FCT-Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) Centre for Science, Technology and Innovative Training, on Tuesday in Gwagwalada, Abuja.
The centre was rehabilitated, equipped and donated by Skill “G”, a private sector-based organisation, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
The envoy commended Skill ‘G’ for the initiative which, he said, was borne out of 60 years of mutual diplomatic relations between both countries.
“A great example of the cooperation is the recently inaugurated i-FAIR 2020/21.
“Out of thousands of applications from across Nigeria, 75 participants were selected and inducted into a five-month intensive training programme.
“This is to help develop their ideas in agriculture and food security, renewable energy/ environmental management, food technology, medical devices/simulation and social responsibility.
“We beleive that FCT ICT and education are closely linked and essential to building emerging economies.
“This is why the work here, to improve teachers’ access in the field of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and agriculture will yield great benefits, not just for FCT, but for Nigeria at large.”
Ben-Shoshan explained that the centre would help students who, due to the pandemic, were away from school.
In the same vein, the Minister of State for FCT, Dr Ramatu Aliyu also commeneded Skill ‘G’ for the initiative.
According to her, the initiative aims to improve the quality of Basic Education in FCT in particular and Nigeria in general.
She said it would enable the nation to catch up with global trends in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, starting from the basic level.
“I most sincerely commend Skill ‘G’ for this laudable initiative and for choosing the Federal Capital Territory as one of the sites for the pilot project.
“It is not a surprise, therefore, that the FCT-UBEB Science and Technology Resource Centre which is domiciled at the JSS Hajj Camp, Gwagwalada, was appropriate for the pilot scheme.
“It is important to stress that the Universal Basic Education Commission and the World Bank have been partnering on strategies to inject new ideas into Basic Education Science, Mathematics and Technology to strengthen functional education in schools,” Aliyu said.
For his part, the chairman of FCT-UBEB, Dr Kabir Matazu said Skill ‘G’ had earlier renovated and equipped three science and mathematics laboratories in the FCT.
“Also renovated and equipped are LEA Primary School, Kuje, Sience Primary School, Gwagwalada and LEA Primary School, Bako.
“The impact of the training and supply of the science equipment has raised FCT above other States in the areas of science and technology competition in Nigeria.
“FCT UBEB schools won several laurels at the 22nd National JETS competition that took place in Bariga, Lagos State.”
Matazu appealed to donor agencies to support and provide for the basic education needs of children in the country.
In his remarks, Prof. Gregory Ibe, Chief Executive Officer of Skill “G” expressed appreciation to the Israeli Embassy in Nigeria for contributing to the successes recorded.
“This centre will promote effective teaching and learning in the FCT.
“Whatever Skill “G” is doing, it is to make sure that e-learning education growth is replicated not just in Gwagwalada, but across area councils of the FCT,” Ibe said.