Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the federal government will support the “FD-Detector,” a mobile application (app) developed by five Nigerian girls.
In August, the five girls from Anambra state clinched the number one spot at the World Technovation Challenge in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, US, for their work on the app.
The app was designed to tackle the challenge of fake pharmaceutical products in Nigeria.
Osinbajo received the students: Promise Nnalue, Nwabuaku Ossai, Adaeze Onuigbo, Vivian Okoye, Jessica Osita and Miracle Igboke at the presidential villa in Abuja on Thursday.
Nkem Okeke, deputy governor of Anambra state, Kate Omenugha, commissioner for education in the state accompanied the girls who are students of Regina Pacies Secondary School, Onitsha.
Commenting on the remarkable feat they accomplished, the vice president said the federal government would liaise with the government of Anambra to provide needed support for the project.
He said government would also collaborate with the Edufun Technik Stem Centre, where the girls received mentorship under the tutelage of Uchenna Onwuamaegbu, the managing director
Osinbajo said technology and coding would be infused into the curriculum of both pre-schoolers and at primary levels.
“In our new curriculum, what we are looking at is a variant of STEM. So we are looking at Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths, STEAM,” he said.
“We have already drawn up an indicative curriculum and of course the focus is technology because technology is the leveler and it will bridge not a few divides, not just the gender gap, but practically everything, including the knowledge gap between developing countries and developed countries.
“From pre-primary school young people can begin to learn the system of code writing. They can also begin to learn the development of applications.”
“For us, this is existential. We have no choice but to ensure that young people, especially from pre-primary to primary school, are able to use technology in innovation and creative ways.
“The world has changed. The entire system of education has challenge because certainly, we cannot prepare not just for the 21st Century but even the next five years without serious investment in technology.”
Also speaking during the reception, Okeke said the Anambra State government has continued to invest in education in view of its critical importance to development.
Onwuamaegbu, the girls’ mentor said the programme began in January this year and was aimed at bringing STEM education to all parts of Nigeria.
She said Technovation is a world event that introduces girls into coding and entrepreneurship.
She said the girls from the Regina Pacies School, Onitsha, were “so hungry for knowledge.”
Explaining the working of the FD-Detector App, Nnalue, one of the girls, said it works to detect fake, expired and counterfeit drugs.
“The App also teaches about the six categories of drugs, their examples, the bad ones and the side effects,” she said.