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Re-imagining the Nigerian Science and Technology Education: Equipping the Nigerian Child with Skills and Competencies

to Succeed in the Competitive Global Community.

Lead paper presented by Professor Irene Osisioma California State University, Dominguez Hills Carson, California-USA

At the The First International Conference of the Faculty of Education Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka

May 22-28, 2011

Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Conference Centre.

Abstract The past decade has experienced the most significant global phenomena of the 21st century- a growth of the global economy and the expansion and extension of public education. Knowledge based growth and development are offering untold opportunities for both developed and developing economies. Advancement in information and communication technologies (ICTs) has been a necessary condition for these new developments in the global economy. In this competitive global economy, no nation can survive without developing the skills of its workforce. The quality and type of education, specifically, science, mathematics and technology is a major determinant of economic growth. It is therefore, essential that nations provide their children with an education that prepares them to participate and adapt to a rapidly changing global competitive environment where the average student today will have 10-14 careers before s/he retires. Many nations have responded to this through educational reforms. Nigeria is challenged to re-position itself in this new wave of globalization by re-evaluating its education policy to include a well structured science and technology education that emphasizes knowledge creation and transfer, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and innovation.

Key Terms: Globalization, knowledge creation, innovation, problem solving, critical thinking, competitive economy, creativity, dissemination, global economy, information, communications, technology, knowledge economy.

Re-imagining the Nigerian Science and Technology Education: Equipping the Nigerian Child with Skills and Competencies to Succeed in the Competitive Global Community.

Introduction It is with great pleasure and honor that I present this lead paper at the first International Conference of the Faculty of Education, here at Nnamdi Azikiwe University. The conference theme: Global Education: Initiatives, Innovations & Challenges: Education, Science and Technology is very important and timely considering the need for Nigeria as a nation to reposition itself and enhance her comparative advantage in the Global economy. It is even more remarkable that the NAU faculty of education is taking the lead in this very important effort. Knowledge is fueling economic growth and social development in every region of the world. The forces of globalization such as migration, travel, trade, foreign investment, and communications are speeding up the dissemination and use of information across borders. This is to say that new ideas and innovations are spreading faster than ever. Knowledge based growth and development are offering untold opportunities for both developed and developing economies. Advancement in information and communication technologies (ICTs) has been a necessary condition for these new developments in the global economy. Nations are taking advantage of the relationship between education and national development and are investing in educational reform to achieve the needed growth in their economies. This global economy growth has created a sense of urgency leading to calls for reforming our approach to education and training which is a critical component of national

economic competitiveness. The past decade has experienced the most significant global phenomena of the 21st century- a growth of the global economy and the expansion and extension of public education. The number of schools has grown, as has the number of children attending them. Similarly, the subjects taught in schools broadened from the basics of mathematics and language to include sciences and the arts. This century has therefore become a time of rapid change and highly developed information age, an era of brain power, and a time of global competition. This era of global competition has triggered a number of reform efforts across several nations. These nations have all acknowledged that education is the bedrock of any successful reform and the only means of sharpening their competitive edge, improving their society, developing their culture, preserving their ecological environment, elevating the stature of their citizens, and raising the overall quality of life. Information and communication technologies are the applications of science and innovation, and are key to a nations industrialization, development and sustainability. The roles of these key elements in determining the economic growth and comparative advantage of nations has necessitated the current globalization emphasis, trade liberalization and has led to the emergence of the prevailing knowledge-based economies and organizations. Globalization has brought with it a more intense competitive environment and new requirements for sustainable development and competitiveness, especially in the fields of science and technology. This new and prevailing competitive environment has fuelled the growth of knowledge-intensive production by increasing scientific and technological interactions and re-invigorated the need for innovation across disciplines, functions and sectors. The number of jobs that require Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills today (U.S Department of Education, 2010) is increasing. This has precipitated a

greater need for scientific literacy for citizenship and the demand for high level skills jobs in STEM is paralleled by the needs that the world is facing such as: energy crisis, HIV/AIDS pandemic, global warming, food security, poverty and high unemployment in the traditional employment sector. The current global economy is a knowledge economy that is driven by creativity, innovation and knowledge. Therefore ingenuity, agility and technological competencies are 21st Century skills necessary to be effective and productive in current competitiveness global arena. To that effect, there is need to recognize that a 21st century education is the bedrock of this global competitivenessthe engine, not simply an input in the economy (Partnerships for 21st Century Skills 2008, p. 1). and Nigeria moving towards accomplishing its Vision 20-2020 must reflect this understanding in its education design across all levels and disciplines. In this competitive global economy, no nation can survive without developing the skills of its workforce. The quality and type of education, specifically, science, mathematics and technology is a major determinant of economic growth. Schools are being challenged to produce students who are knowledge producers, problem solvers and creative thinkers. Students who are able to use higher-level thinking skills will be essential for generating knowledge that enriches peoples lives (Cummings, 2003). This profound shift in the role that knowledge creation and innovation play in driving productivity and global growth is a result of globalization. Research shows that an educated creative workforce can use technology in creative ways resulting in technological innovations that as Kozma (2005) noted, can create new knowledge that spawns a virtuous cycle of growth(p. 118). The pervasiveness of information and
communication technologies (ICT)-from cell/smart phones, to video cameras, personal digital assistants (kindle, iPods, iPads, digital diaries etc) and laptops wirelessly connected to the Internet, social networks media (wikis, face books,

twitters, etc) and ubiquitous learning environments-has changed the way people live, work, and play and has made the world even smaller and smarter. New knowledge and the use of new technologies have resulted in the creation of new products, services, and jobs, some of which could not have been imagined a few decades ago. At the same time, trade agreements and the reduced costs of communication and transportation have increased the flow of capital, goods, services, knowledge and jobs-between countries. The result has been significant worldwide economic growth but also considerable social turmoil and dislocation. It is

therefore, essential that nations provide their children with an education that prepares them to participate and adapt to a rapidly changing global competitive environment where the average student today will have 10-14 careers before s/he retires. The students will need to be knowledgeable and appreciative of science and technology.

Issues and Trends in Global Science and Technology Education Reform. United States of America As explicated in the introduction, nations have looked to education as the tool for bringing about economic development and as a result, different forms of educational reforms have been initiated to address the challenges faced by individual nations as they move toward economic, social and political development. The target of these reform efforts, have been science, technology and mathematics. In the United States of America (USA), educational reform movement began with the Massachusetts Act of 1649 (Old Deluders Act) where communities of 50 people were required to provide a school for its children. In 1892, Committee of Ten working for the National Education Association (NEA) put forth recommendations for specific subjects that all students in secondary schools would have to take to ensure acquisition

of the basic skills needed to support and grow the economy during that time period. It was at this time that biology entered the school curriculum. One landmark event that triggered a strong wave of educational reforms in the USA was the launching of the Sputnik satellite into orbit by the Soviet Union in 1957. During this time, the Americans experienced a new vulnerability in science and technology as a result of the Cold War and the Sputnik crisis. The pendulum swung back to a no-frills curriculum to prepare children for life in an unstable and contentious world (21st Century Partnerships, 2008). The focus of educational reforms became science, math and technology. These subjects were deemed critical to making the American children competitive. However, the publication of the report A nation at Risk in 1983, revealed that: an increasing number of American students did not possess higher order thinking skills; there was a steady decline in science achievement scores; and in international comparisons of students achievement, American students achievement was far below those of students in other industrialized nations. The response to Nation at Risk became highly political with state governors getting involved. Summits by the nations governors in 1989 and 1996 resulted in a movement to develop national standards in all subjects. This culminated in the Educate America Act of 2000 that aspired to make United States students the first in the world in science and mathematics achievement. Attempts to reach this goal inspired the process of merging high expectations with high standards. This movement began to look at the issues that impeded United States students achievement in science and mathematics at the national and international levels. Factors that hindered the achievement of the reform goals included: the curriculum, quality of teachers, inequitable access to education, and lack of resources. These challenges have continued to hamper American students science and mathematics achievement in international assessments (TIMSS, 1999, 2003, 2007). It is not surprising that the National

Commission on Science and Mathematics Skills for 21st Century report (2000a) noted that, the United States science and mathematics curricula are a mile long and an inch wide. The report also highlighted the importance of quality science and mathematics teachers as a critical factor in students science and math achievement. Despite the inability of the reform efforts to catapult American students achievement in science and mathematics to the top in international science and mathematics assessments, the current science and math reforms require the students not just to know more but to think, inquire, and construct knowledge pertinent to their own lives (Cummings, 2003, p.4). This shifted the emphasis to the application of learned materials to solve real life problems. From that time, USA became the global leader in science, math and technology. Currently, USA government realizing that they are beginning to lag behind some European and Asian countries is beginning to invest huge amount of money on education and research in science and technology.

Finland Like the United States of America, educational reform (especially in science and technology) efforts have also transformed the economies of many other nations. For example, Finland was more agrarian and less industrialized in the 1960s but became drawn into the capitalist world economy towards the end of the 19th century. This resulted in the Finnish nation undergoing one of the swift structural transformations that made them become an industrialized Nordic welfare state in the 1970s with comprehensive education as the rationale (Antikainen 2005; 2006). Today, Finlands comprehensive education system is noted as one of the most effective in the world and is an example of a nation that has been able to transform its traditional economy into a modern knowledge economy within a relatively short period of time. Education

has played an important role in this process (Sahlberg, 2009). The Nordic strategy of building up high quality and equality in education has been based on constructing a publicly funded comprehensive school system (Lie, Linnakyl & Roe, 2003, 8). This movement was initiated in 1990, when Finland appointed a board to articulate its vision for science, technology and mathematics literacy. The board posited that in order to develop into an information society, in which knowledge and expertise are key factors in production and a part of the culture, Finland needed to develop and apply possibilities of the information society in an exemplary, diversified and sustainable manner to improve the quality of life, skills and international competitiveness (Information Society Advisory Board, 2000, p.5). They hoped to achieve this through a broadbased, all-round education and scientific literacy that equips the child with scientific knowledge, critical and rational thinking, and skills for future development (Kesler, M. 2008). Teaching and learning of science is goal oriented and emphasizes social interaction among students and between students and teachers. The starting points of science instruction are students prior knowledge, skills and experiences and their observations and investigations. Another unique attribute of Finnish education is the high value they placed on their teachers. Teachers are very well trained and respected. Most teachers hold masters degrees in both their content and in education, and their preparation is aimed at learning to teach diverse learners including special needs students for deep understanding, with a strong focus on how to use formative performance assessments in the service of student learning (Darling-Hammond & McCloskey). They work closely with university professors, government agencies, community, and business entities to create and revise the curriculum. Teachers were invited to participate in scholarly forums because their input is considered valuable.

Today, reports show that students from Finland outperform peers in 43 other nations in the PISA OECD assessment in science and mathematics skills and is ranked top in economic competitiveness. Some of the countries include United States, Germany and Japan (Maes, 2010). Denmark Denmark is another example of a country that has made notable strides in economic development and has been reported to be one of the most successful economies on earth. They have been able to transform themselves from a nation of farmers after World War II into a modern high technology, post-industrial nation today. Until the 1960s, Danish agricultural products accounted for the majority of its exports. Today it is less than 40%(even though agriculture employs less than five percent of the work force). Upwards of 80% of Danish industrial production is now exported. The value of Danish foreign trade is now, on a per capita basis, among the highest in the world. A great deal of this production is high technology goods manufactured to very high quality standards. Till date, Danes now depend to a larger extent on the export of high value added goods and services. These kinds of goods and services can only be produced by a highly educated and trained work force, people who are broadly knowledgeable and deeply skilled, people who can take leadership at every level of the economic system and respond quickly to changing circumstances as they arise. So it is not surprising that Denmark is among the leaders in the entire community of nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in the proportion of Gross Domestic Product that it invests in education. Education in Denmark is such that learning is customized to the students needs. Guidance and counseling are integral parts of the learning and personal development process.

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Students can work on projects individually, but mostly they work in teams. The projects are always practical, designed to do something that matters, either by contributing to the community that the school is in, or by contributing to the running of the school itself. Learning is encouraged through doing. Theory is taught in association with practice, on demand. General education is combined with social and cultural activities. The schools legislation requires them to use the production of real goods and services as their teaching methods, but to do so in a way that avoids unfair competition with businesses in the community. Communities are heavily involved in the schools and there has been a shift from a system dominated by teaching to a system characterized by learning, from a system in which the teacher is taking the main responsibility for getting the student educated to one in which the student is assuming primary responsibility for his or her own learning, from a pedagogy grounded first and foremost in the structure of the discipline to one that starts with a real-world problem or project with real substance that is of interest to the student and then works back to the discipline. The Danish curriculum and pedagogy has therefore been broadened to include a blend of core skills, key qualifications or key competencies. Phrases such as active learning, student-as -worker, constructivism, project-based curriculum, key skills etc have become a common occurrence in the Danish educational system.

Singapore Over the years, Singapore has evolved from its traditional British-based education system to one that endeavors to meet the needs of individuals and seeks to nurture talents. Education has always been key in the growth and development of Singaporean society, particularly in the years following 1965 when it became an independent republic. Now in the 21st century, where the knowledge-based economy is the driver in the global community, education has become even

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more critical in shaping the country's future. At the same time, through education, every individual can realize his/her full potential to benefit the community, nation, and lead a personally fulfilling life. In 1997 the Singaporean government enacted a curriculum reform policy in addition to the marketization of education policy, in a bid to foster creativity and innovation. The curriculum reform led to three major initiatives: 1) the Thinking School, Learning Nation initiative, 2) the Master plan for Information Technology in Education initiative, 3) the revisions to the University Admission Criteria. The government emphasized that these three initiatives were very crucial to the Singaporean national effort to remain competitive in the midst of the growing global knowledge economy. The first curricula initiative- the Thinking Schools, Learning Nation was launched in 1997 and focused on developing all students into active learners with critical thinking skills, and on developing a creative and critical thinking culture within schools. Four main strategies were to be used to achieve these goals: 1) the explicit teaching of critical and creative thinking skills, 2) the reduction of subject content, 3) the revision of assessment modes, 4) a greater emphasis on process rather than outcomes when appraising schools. The second initiative, the Master plan for Information Technology in Education initiative was also launched in 1997. The focus of this initiative was to incorporate information technology into teaching and learning in all schools. A target was set for the use of up to 30% of curriculum time for all subjects by the 2002. To achieve this, the government funded installation of physical infrastructures and training of pre- and in-service teachers. Whole school networking was installed and schools received one computer for every two students and one notebook for every two teachers.

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The third initiative, the revisions to the University Admission Criteria was based on the recommendations in 1999 of the committee University Admission Systems that the criteria for admission into the University go beyond the performance at the A-Level GCE examination to include students results of the national scholastic test and their results in project work at school and their participation in extracurricular activities in school. Applicants who have polytechnic diplomas will also be judged by their performance in the national scholastic test and their participation in extracurricular activities. The committee hoped that these criteria will not only promote innovation and creativity but will complement the Thinking School, Learning Nation at the lower levels. The strength of Singapore's Education system lies in its broad-based curriculum where innovation and entrepreneurship are the driving force. Individuals acquire the relevant skills and abilities to survive in competitive environments, and are properly equipped for a successful future. Teaching and learning of science is done through scientific inquiry characterized by the degree of responsibility students have in posing and responding to questions, designing investigations, and evaluating and communicating their learning (student directed inquiry) compared to the degree of involvement the teacher takes (teacher-guided inquiry). Students will best benefit from experiences that vary between these two inquiry approaches (Singapore Primary Science Syllabus- 2008). As reported by the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), Singapore's public schools have a unique record of high standards in teaching and learning. TIMSS international comparative study showed that the majority of Singaporean students outperformed the international average in Mathematics and Science. TIMSS result showed that in 2002-03, Singapore emerged first in both Mathematics and Science in 49 countries at Grade 4

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(Primary 4) and Grade 8 (Junior Secondary I). In 2006 and 2009 it took fifth and first place respectively. Science and Mathematics Education Reform Efforts in the African Context Education reforms of one form or the other have been at the center of African countries economic development agenda especially during the postcolonial era. For many countries, these efforts have concentrated on the provision of basic education for all. Developing countries have made economic argument for investment in education, specifically in information Communication and Technology (ICT). In the economic and development policy discourse, education is assigned a very important role (Kozma, 2005). As noted in the World Bank (2007) report, education, and in particular, secondary education and training (SEIA) is perceived as one of the key factors for increased economic growth and social development. However, many African countries face serious development challenges: the continent has 34 of the worlds 48 poorest countries; the HIV/AIDS pandemic costs Africa one percentage point of per capita growth a year; and, malaria kills about 2,800 Africans a day (World Bank, 2007). A World Bank thematic study that investigated the development of Science, Mathematics and Information Communication Technology (SMICT) in secondary education in 10 SubSaharan Africa (SSA) countries: Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, showed that there are significant challenges in SMICT education in Sub-Saharan Africa. These countries had serious problems with the supply of good SMICT teachers. The SMICT teaching force was found to be largely inexperienced and teachers tended to have a limited understanding of SMICT subjects and used teacher-centered teaching strategies contrary to learner-centered methodologies recommended in the curriculum.

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The schools were poorly resourced with ICT, classes were large, curriculum was hardly relevant to the students daily lives, qualified teachers were lacking and professional development programs were inadequate. Therefore, the challenges of teaching SMICT can be categorized into three areas: (a) Curriculum Policies, Instructional Practices, and Assessment, (b) School Context and Instructional Resources, and (c) Teacher Education and Professional Development Programs. The above reform efforts and studies indicate opportunities (social & economic) and challenges that are embedded in the teaching and learning of science and technology education. In order to participate in the current global economy, nations need to ensure that their children are receiving a high quality science and technology education among other subjects. This education cannot be achieved without a science and technology education policy that advances scientific literacy, ensures equitable access, provides high quality teachers and has systems that work collaboratively in making certain the successful implementation of the science and technology standards. The State of Science and Technology Education in Nigeria In the 1980s, the Nigerian government moved to intensify the role of education in promoting industrialization and modernization by boosting emphasis on science and technology. The failure of this initiative, however, coupled with instability in the oil economy, led to structural adjustments and fiscal austerity, which set back educational gains. According to the Nigeria Millennium Development Goals 2005 report, literacy level in the country has steadily and gradually deteriorated, especially within the 15-24 years age group. The high illiteracy rate (44% of all persons over age 15) influenced adoption of a free universal basic

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education, which is currently in use. This current policy calls for nine years of basic education for all through Junior Secondary level. The goals are threefold: building national consciousness and unity; nurturing correct values for the survival of each individual and of Nigerian society; and training citizens to facilitate an understanding of the world. Other policy objectives are reduction of rural-urban school inequality and improvement of gender equity in access to education (Woolman, 2001). In spite of this educational reform effort, Nigeria has continued to face many serious educational problems that have obstructed progress in educational innovation and excellence. Making progress in teaching and learning especially in science and technology has therefore become a far cry from what it is supposed to be. Our educational system has continued to produce science graduates with shaky foundations and skills that are completely disconnected from industrial realities, and as a result, are unable to make any meaningful contribution to our efforts at technological breakthrough.

Re-evaluating the Nigerian Science and Technology Education As is seen from global examples above, nations are known to have only made notable strides in science and technology by investing conscious efforts and resources backed up by adequate policy guidelines. No nation in history has ever attained scientific and technological development serendipitously. There is therefore an urgent need for reforms in Nigerian curriculum, pedagogy, and accountability. These reforms can be effected by (a) development of a national science, mathematics and technology policy (b) development of science, mathematics

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and technology standards/curriculum, (c) preparation of well qualified effective teachers, (d) attention to equity, and (e) accountability.

Comparing the Nigerian educational systems with those of the select nations above shows that Nigeria has been left behind with regards to education. A review of the general trend in the Nigerian educational reform shows that much of what has been done in terms of educational reform has remained structural at best. The reforms that have been instituted so far have neglected the very important part of education-the process of transmission of content. These socalled reforms have led to increasing impoverishment and lives of misery for many instead of improving the lives of individuals and their communities. These reforms have focused on the number of years of schooling and the amount of content students are able to acquire during this period to the exclusion of the individual students for which the education was meant. Achieving a learner-centered education requires re-thinking the Nigerian educational system and conducting a systemic education reform that takes into consideration the lesson learned from other nations. The greatest promise of systemic education reform is its potential to overcome educational and, to a lesser degree, societal inequalities. Systemic approach to reform provides opportunities for greater local-professional responsibility and can provide the structure that is needed to improve education for all children (O'Day & Smith, 1993). Achieving this will involve examining educational initiatives that are purported to contribute to improvements in educational quality, equity, efficiency and have led to reasonable economic growth, to revise her educational policy taking into consideration issues related to quality (knowledge deepening and creation), equity (individual differences and diversity of learners), instructional delivery (using research based pedagogical strategies), assessment (authentic and performance based), ICT (integration in curriculum and instruction), 17

accountability (all stakeholders involved in education) and alignment to national economic development. In reviewing and revising the current system of education in Nigeria, it is imperative that science, mathematics and technology be upgraded to a higher level of importance in the curriculum. Without a deep, robust science, mathematics and technology foundation, meeting the needs of the Nigerian citizenry may remain an illusion. The bedrock of the Nigerian economic growth lies in science, mathematics and technology education at all levels. Continued neglect of these in our educational system will impede Nigerian economic growth while rendering her citizenry incapable of competing effectively in the global workforce. According to Piaget, (1932) only education is capable of saving our societies from possible collapse, whether violent, or gradual.

Conclusion A reversal of our present educational and indeed science and technological misfortunes rests largely on government as well as experts in education (you and I). An immediate state of emergency should be declared on this crucial sector of our national economy and security, which should be followed up with sound and coordinated science and technology policies and genuine commitments from all stakeholders. One of the simplest take-off points is to look at functional models put in place by the developed nations such as United States, which have been successfully replicated by most developing countries. The government should prioritize science and technology education by setting up a functional and pragmatic agency - a Nigerian version of the U. S. National Science Foundation not solely in funding as is the case with Educational Trust Fund (ETF), which will encourage and motivate researchers and students through effective coordination and provision of research funds. These research grants are imperative in the

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acquisition of needed equipment, recruitment of top-flight manpower, and reducing attrition. A functional and well-equipped national laboratory/center as well as training centers for up-coming scientists should be established to serve as a research hub for scientists and engineers and their students. Research collaborations and partnerships should be encouraged between industries and universities. Doing so will create opportunities for scholars/researchers to carry out research that is applicable to practice situations encountered in these sectors. Government needs to support creativity by not only providing funding and an environment conducive to individual scientific and technological projects but by also providing patents to original inventions by Nigerians. Doing this, will encourage foreign-based Nigerian scientists and engineers to come home an support the creation of centers of excellence. This approach has worked for countries like China, Singapore and South Korea etc, and would definitely work for Nigeria. Most Asian scientists in European and American universities hold parallel positions in research centers and universities in their native countries, and spend a sizeable amount of their time working there. Such platforms for collaborations will help establish a profound link between home-based and foreign-based scientists and promote effective sharing of ideas and information. It is commendable that the new federal universities have 2 Vice Chancellors from the Diaspora. On the part of science educators and educators in general, efforts should be made to reevaluate the delivery systems of science and technology in the classrooms. Due to current societal changes, education has been seen to be more essential to livelihood now more than ever before (Schlechty 1990). This is especially so as workers are increasingly expected to weather multiple career changes, and be competitive in a global economy. It has therefore become imperative for schools to emphasize the importance of lifelong learning, strengthen

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students' thinking and problem-solving skills, and increase their adaptability. Doing this, will ensure that students are taught how to apply what they learn in education and in life. There is an urgent need for Nigerian education to re-align with educational theories that have offered new insights into the way students learn, retain knowledge and are able to apply this knowledge. Some of these theories, including constructivism, multiple intelligences, cooperative and active learning have continued to grow in popularity today. The inception of these educational theories have challenged educators to develop pedagogical practices to not only accommodate the growing diversities of students but to equip these students with the requisite subject area content knowledge and the needed 21st century skills and competencies to survive in the current global community. These waves of reforms have resulted in the development of initiatives that focus on pedagogical strategies, the production of human and material resources as well as research-based accountability measures that explicitly focus on quality teaching. Nigeria as a nation cannot afford to simply watch and wait for providence to get us out of our present science and technology predicament. The current science policy summit held in April 2011 is a laudable effort by the Federal government to ensure that we create the policy backbone for future science, technology innovations. Our economy will not meet its comparative advantage needs if urgent reforms are not initiated, thereby making it vulnerable to the slightest downward shift in the price of crude oil if we dont create the technological base necessary for robust and sustainable economic prosperity. Our country cannot be accorded its due respect as long as it continues to take a back seat in science and technology. Unemployment and crime rates will continue to be a national problem as long as we continue to lack the technical knowhow required for a guaranteed and sustainable industrial and manufacturing base pertinent in job creation, and jump-starting of our economy. Our national economy and security will continue to

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be endangered as long as we keep relying on foreign expertise without requisite knowledge transfer especially in building our refineries and exploration of our natural resources. High mortality rate will not be addressed if we continue to lack the right equipments and skill set to hand curable ailments.
To participate in the current competitive global economy and to improve their standard of living, students need to leave school with a deeper understanding of school subjects, particularly science, mathematics, and technology, and with the skills needed to respond to an unbounded but uncertain 21st centuryskills to use their knowledge to think critically, to collaborate, to communicate, to solve problems, to create, and to continue to learn.

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