Today is UNESCO’s World Science Day for Peace and Development. To celebrate, read the story of Project 10,000 Kids, which aims to teach thousands of Nigerian schoolchildren how to build robots!
Can you imagine walking into a classroom when you were 10 and being told your task for the day was to build a ROBOT? For 10,000 Nigerian schoolchildren, that is exactly what will happen, thanks to ACI Computer Education, an Obafemie Awolowo University-based organization that provides technology education to young people.
ACI was founded by Olaoluwa Balogun, an OAU alumnus who wants to transform the education system in Nigeria by empowering children to build useful technology. The goal is to see young Nigerians become computer programmers and tech enthusiasts in a few years to come.
There are 30 million primary school-aged children in Nigeria, of whom an estimated 10 million are not enrolled in school. Of those students currently in primary school, less than one third will attend junior secondary school and even fewer will proceed to senior secondary school.
However. ACI sees Nigeria’s huge youthful population as a fantastic opportunity, as Balgoun indicates:
“Over 60% of the 170 million Nigerians are under the age of 30. The major criterion for a great future for the country is sound education for its kids and youths.”
They also believe you can’t create innovators and problem solvers by simply focusing on memorizing academic materials and passing exams.
“Our intention is to champion the beginning of a great paradigm in the Nigerian education industry. We want to expose our young students to real-world engineering challenges through hands-on LEGO-based robotics projects. We want Nigerian kids to begin to think creatively and innovate like their international counterparts.”
The project, called “Project 10,000 Kids,” targets 50 students in 200 secondary schools across Nigeria. Besides the secondary school students, the organization will also train 50 children at the Kids and Teens Resource Centre, Akure, and 100 children at two orphanages in Lagos.
“This is not primarily about equipping the next generation to work as robotics engineers; it is about promoting computational thinking. Computational thinking is how software engineers solve problems. It combines mathematics, logic and algorithms, and teaches kids a new way to think about the world.”
What a fantastic initiative!