Wed, 21 Feb 2024
As I stepped into the vibrant halls of the WISE 11 Summit in Doha, Qatar, on the 28th and 29th of November 2023, I was immediately enveloped by the energy of innovation and the collective passion for shaping the future of education. This year’s theme, “Creative Fluency: Human Flourishing in the Age of AI,” could not have been more timely.
The intersection of AI and education, especially in the context of STEM, holds a particular resonance for me and the mission we've embarked on at STEM METS. Representing Nigeria, and by extension Africa, at such a global forum was not just an honor but a profound responsibility. It underscored the progress we are making and the distance we still have to traverse in the field of STEM education.
Throughout the summit, every session, panel discussion, and workshop seemed to echo a core truth that has guided our philosophy at STEM METS: that education, particularly in the STEM fields, is the bedrock of human flourishing in this new age. The transformative potential of AI has redefined the boundaries of creativity, urging us to reconsider our traditional perceptions and to adapt to a more fluid, more inventive mindset.
In Nigeria, as in many parts of Africa, we grapple with challenges unique to our educational landscape—teacher shortages, limited formal learning opportunities for underprivileged communities, and the need to bridge the gap between higher education and the evolving workforce. Yet, here, amidst the world's educators, innovators, and thought leaders, I found a wealth of insights and solutions. From computational literacy to personalized learning, the summit was a testament to the power of collaborative innovation.
The discussions on new AI-integrated pedagogical approaches were particularly enlightening. They reinforced our belief in the importance of not just consuming technology, but also understanding and creating it. This aligns with our commitment at STEM METS to empower young minds with the skills to not only navigate but also innovate in the world of STEM.
One thing was clear: AI is not just an addition to the curriculum; it is a catalyst for reimagining how we teach and learn. It challenges us to design educational experiences that are not only technologically advanced but also deeply human-centric. Equity in AI and the values embedded in its design and implementation are matters of paramount importance, especially as we strive to make STEM education accessible and relevant to all strata of society.
As I reflect on the enriching conversations and the connections forged at WISE 11, I am invigorated to bring back these learnings and integrate them into our programs. The journey ahead for STEM education in Nigeria, Africa, and globally, is rife with potential. We stand on the cusp of a new era where human creativity, fueled by the wonders of AI, can lead us to unprecedented levels of human flourishing.
Let us embrace this age of creative fluency, where each child has the opportunity to become a beacon of innovation and a testament to the resilience of human intelligence. Together, at STEM METS and beyond, we will continue to pave the way for a future where every young mind has the tools to not just dream of a better world but to build it.