Thirty students in tertiary institutions across the country have bagged various awards for outstanding innovations in the Budding Engineers, Scientists and Technologists (BEST) competition.
The Minister of State for Education, Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, who handed out the awards to the students at the 4th edition of BEST in Abuja, charged them to help the country in solving her problems through their initiatives.
Nwajiuba noted that science was a tool through which situation could be transformed from one stage to another, hence the need for science and technology development of the country.
He said that Nigeria was in the league of nations in quest of social, economic and political transformation through science and technology.
“One of the series of innovative policies made by the National Council of Education, the highest policy-making body on education in Nigeria, is institutionalisation of BEST competition to strengthen the capacity of science and technology undergraduate in carrying out innovative research projects.
“The future of science and technology enterprise lies in the hands of our youths. Since Nigeria has a large population of talented youths, BEST provides opportunity for young innovators to maximize their potential and identified gifts.
“It is in recognition of the potentials of our youths in research adventure that the Federal Government, with the support of World Bank through the Federal Ministry of Education, implemented the Science and Technology Education Post Basic Projects for research.”
Nwajiuba added that the project if supported, would encourage the undergraduates to compete with their contemporaries globally in science and technology.
Mr Sonny Echono, Permanent Secretary of the ministry, stressed the need for the expansion of technology which would serve as a tool for rapid development of any successful economy.
“Through technology, villages are developed into towns and towns to cities and cities are expanding to greater horizons.
“Expansion has occurred through the benefits of science and technology over the years and more are still on the way.
“If carefully analysed, one gets to understand that countries, which have a strong base in science and technology, are the ones that develop faster.”
Echono added that the ministry introduced the National BEST competition at the tertiary institutions in order to promote policies, programmes and initiatives that would enable the undergraduates showcase their talents, skills and creativities.
He pledged to deepen and intensify the participation of more students and institutions in the future based on the success recorded in the 4th edition.
Meanwhile, Mr Daniel Isaiah of the Technology Division of the ministry, has said that the essence of the competition was to ignite the students’ interest in the area of creativity and encourage others to go into innovation to give Nigeria a breakthrough.
Isaiah said that the ministry was in collaboration with NOTAP to see how some of the projects with commercial value could be assisted to ensure the next generation of Nigerians were entrepreneurs.
The prize for the best project in addition to consolidation prizes was N300,000.