As the world becomes more technologically advanced, encouraging students to take degrees in science, technology, engineering and maths could benefit the nation’s development. The blended learning methods used on interdisciplinary STEM courses makes the teaching of science-related degrees more effective. Whether they are studying at home or abroad, students undertaking degrees from pure chemistry degrees to courses in specialist nursing and healthcare can benefit from the combination of traditional classroom teaching, practical experience and complimentary online learning.
New specialised universities and extra support for women interested in STEM add to the opportunities for studying for a degree in science, while inspirational summits serve to inspire more students in a range of scientific subjects from innovative technology to academic medicine.
Blended Learning Enhances Courses in Chemistry
Chemistry is fundamental to every aspect of life and as an interdisciplinary science, it can be studied at over 130 federal, state and private universities in Nigeria. It is a complex subject that can take time to master, and improving student engagement is important in order to increase the numbers of students choosing to study it at degree level. Current students respond well to blended learning methods such as flipped classroom strategy which allows them to access extra reading and tutorials online outside of class. Whether students are studying general chemistry or more advanced topics such as molecular change, online Proprep courses can be customised to complement any university syllabus. Supplementary study can then free up face to face classes for more in depth problem-solving and physical experiments.
A New University Offers Opportunities for Medical Students
In Enugu state, a new specialist university aims to offer more students the opportunity to study medicine and other related professional science courses. At the moment, thousands of well-qualified applicants are rejected from the state universities due to the highly competitive nature of courses such as medicine. It is hoped that once completed, the State University of Medical and Applied Sciences (SUMAS) will help to encourage more students to study professional science-based courses and then remain in the country to fill much-needed roles in healthcare and engineering.
Initiative Encourages More Women to Study STEM Subjects
A new initiative to provide women with greater access to study STEM subjects has recently been launched in Nigeria. According to the Nigerian Financial Institutions Training Centre only around one in five STEM students in the country is female while, in comparison, half are women in the USA. The initiative was created by the CEO of the non-profit organisation, STEM Bridge Incorporated, and aims to inspire more women to find out about the courses and opportunities in science and technology. By hearing from female undergraduates and tech professionals, young women are more likely to consider applying for science-based courses at university and go on to help fill the many available job opportunities in fields such as medicine, engineering and technology.
University Scholarships Motivate Innovation in Science
Earlier in the year, the Federal Government awarded full scholarships to the country’s three best young scientists, allowing them to study a science-related degree up to PhD level at any Nigerian university of their choice. The scholarships were presented by President Buhari at this year’s Technology Expo where scientists, engineers and other innovators from Nigeria’s universities and research institutions are encouraged to interact and collaborate. The scholarships not only reward the innovative thinking of three high achieving individuals, but they also serve to encourage more young Nigerians to take up scientific subjects at university.
Inspirational Summits Encourage Greater Scientific Self-Reliance
One of the aims of the Technology Expo is to enable Nigeria to become more self-reliant in the fields of Science, Technology and Innovation. Encouraging greater self-sufficiency was also at the heart of a talk given by Dr. Oyetokunbo Ibidapo-Obe, a professor in family medicine based in the US, at the first edition of her Medical Student Summit held at the University of Lagos. She would like to see more medical students take up positions in clinical academia where they could help to reorganise the healthcare system and further the undertaking of valuable medical research within the country.
Students wishing to gain a degree in pure science or professional science-based subjects have a wide choice of universities throughout the country to choose from. Inspirational summits encourage students studying advanced degrees to further Nigeria’s self-reliance in innovation and invention. At the same time, extra support outside the classroom, from online tutorials to university scholarships, can further motivate first degree science students and assist them in achieving their goals.