Nigerian Youths Embrace STEAM Education
Omotola Goodness works on robotics during a WTCB Solutions Programming class in Lagos. Programming and computer coding is becoming increasingly popular among young Nigerians especially with the establishment of organization like andela
Solomon Abia loved the three weeks he spent last summer at a STEAM Education school where he was able to build his own drone using waste materials like plastics, styrofoams and motor from condemned electronics.
Aside from the knowledge he gained, the 16-year-old Lagosian figures he came away with something just as important.
“I know if I continue down this path, I can get a good job in the future
or even create my own robot company,” said Solomon, who will be writing
the forthcoming Jamb examination.
Students and their parents are now coming to terms with the indispensable skill in the digital era, especially since the number of programming-related
jobs is projected to soar in the next decade.
Not everyone agrees that studying programming in the middle or high-school years is the key to collegiate or professional success, but that hasn’t
slowed the coding juggernaut.
‘By 2020, there are projected to be 1.4 million computer-related jobs, but only 400,000 students majoring in computer science, according to Code.org.’
Interesting programming among students and parents springs partly from the omnipresence of technology in children’s lives. The ability to develop a
computer game or smartphone app has become — if not cool — at least a
lot less nerdy.
“To start from nothing and create an entire game is really interesting to
me,” said Olayinka Olumide. The 12-year-old was at WTCB solutions
studying 3D animations before advancing to game development as he wants to be a game developer when he finish college.
Economic fear also plays a role for some students at a time when college
graduates, even those brandishing degrees from top schools, struggle to
find good jobs.
“Learning how to code in any one particular [computer] language is not going to be worthwhile beyond 10 or 20 years,” he said. “Learning how to
solve problem using algorithms and how technology works and how it’s
built is going to last a century at least.”
Coding expertise doesn’t guarantee entrance to elite colleges either.
“I would not say coding is seen as any better or worse than any other educational pursuit a student might seek outside of the school,” Adewale said.
In its marketing, WTCB Solutions isn’t shy about emphasizing the potential for a career boost.
Tuition is affordable. A one-week class goes for $40 to $60, depending on the courses and location. A two-week course at WTCB Solution’s programming academy, in which students bunk on campus, costs $150.