The Nigerian Youth Drone Academy Workshop, a project birthed from the joint collaboration between the US Consulate General, Lagos and the US-based Global Air Drone Academy, and this session for teenagers and students of public and private schools in Lagos State was hosted by the Cedar STEM & Entrepreneurship Hub of Lonadek on Monday.
It exposed the students to the many potentials drone technology offers and the workings of the drone; helping them get conversant with it and removing the initial shyness and fear which sometimes comes with exposure to new technology.
The training kicked off with a few words from the Principal Consultant, Lonadek, Dr Amao Ibilola.
The audience which comprised of the students, the STEM teachers, the organizers and the media, listened as Dr Amao reminded them of Africa being an emerging economy and hence the need to discover ways how drone technology could be used to solve some of the continent’s problems.
The Public Affairs Officer, US Consulate General, Mr. Russell Brooks, in his short speech, also shared the aim of the project.
Mentioning STEM education as one of the keys to a country’s economic success, Mr. Brooks relayed that every student throughout the world deserves a high quality education in STEM if they are to enhance both their individual possibilities and their ability to contribute to making the world a better place.
Glancing across the seated students, he expressed happiness at the practice of inclusive education apparent among the schools present based on the number of young girls interested in the project.
He sounded the importance of bridging the gender gap in STEM education and STEM-related careers in the world.
The Co-founder Global Air Media, Eno Umoh, focused his speech on the students, using it as an introductory speech for the training.
He took them through the ethics and safety measures to be practiced in drone technology, the different problems it could solve and the different industries making use of the technology and how the drone technology and the AI technology is used together in changing the world, after which he gave a brief summary about Global Air Media.
There exist many angles to which STEM advances and one might wonder why drone technology is considered worth learning or teaching.
This question was presented to Mr Russell who explained that with science and technology expanding the world and our capabilities, it is necessary that the children be exposed early so they can find their place in this ever-changing world.
According to him, the workshop was intended to expose the children to an aspect of technology, drone technology, which would help increase their options in careers and hobbies. It would also help them get acquainted with the technology.
Mr Eno, who remained particular about the ethics and safety aspect of the technology, talked about alerting the children to the responsibilities associated with the practice of this technology. He mentioned that the children should be taught the need of proper documentation and registration with the bodies associated with aviation.
He also talked about the numerous opportunities which is associated with drone technology and the need to alert this children to these opportunities at the same time as the rest of the world is waking up to them.
What dreams are made of
One of the students of Arch-Deacon Adelaja Senior High School, Hamzah Idris Olohuntosin, lacked words to express his joy at the opportunity given to him.
The fourteen-year-old revealed that the training was a long-time dream of his; to learn how to assemble and fly drones.
He wished that many more children could take the opportunity to get exposed and embrace science and technology so as to increase their options in life.
Another student of Heritage Global Academy, thirteen-year-old Sakinah Adeyemi, also expressed her excitement at the thought of getting to assemble and fly a drone.
She boldly told the interviewers that she didn’t see the world as a man’s and hence was ready to pursue her dreams in STEM careers.
The children were taught the movement patterns of the drone, its parts, installation and the safety measures associated with the technology. While the training lasted for a few hours, there is no doubt that the state just birthed future drone pilots.
Mr Umoh shared with Techeconomy.ng that there would be a summer camp for young people on the drone technology, this year.
Techeconomy.ng will let the public know when the application is announced open.
We wait to see the solutions these future drone pilots would provide for our many challenges.