The international educational program Experimento is currently active in eleven countries in Europe, Latin America, and Africa.
Educational requirements are different in every country and are strongly influenced by cultural factors. This is why local partners such as education ministries and universities are involved in all the countries. The cooperation with local educational partners helps meet the specific teaching and learning requirements of each country.
Nigeria not only has the largest economy in Africa now, it is also the continent's most populous nation. Its inhabitants are very young: A total of 63 percent are younger than 24 years old. They represent a huge potential for the country as well as pose a significant challenge. After all, they will need training or education and a job in the near future, and this will create further job market pressures. Even now, the market isn't able to deliver a stable income to many Nigerians who live in extreme poverty.
Infrastructure bottlenecks in such areas as the power supply and transportation as well as critical challenges faced by the educational system are, in particular, hampering the country's further economic and social development. In one reflection of this, the literacy rate among Nigerian men is currently 70 percent; among women, it is 50 percent. The government has recognized the importance of education in tackling this problem: School attendance is mandatory and elementary school is free. However, with a population of more than 180 million people, Nigeria still has over 10 million children who do not attend school, though the government is putting considerable effort into addressing these issues. It is, for instance, investing in the expansion of the country's university system and promoting basic education. After all, decision-makers know that teaching standards must be raised over the long run so that children – especially those in rural areas – at least possess basic skills in areas like reading, writing and math after completing their public school education.
The lack of well-trained experts also has a negative impact on the country's productivity. Structural and process improvements will lead to a substantial increase in this area as well as in the country's value creation. Here is where the Siemens Stiftung would like to make a long-term contribution. Along with South Africa and Kenya, the foundation has also made a commitment to Nigeria. With its educational program Experimento, the foundation will support the entire educational chain by providing educators with materials and methods to improve the quality of their teaching and foster their students’ knowledge of science and technology. Promulgation of Experimento’s didactic and methodological approaches will take place in cooperation with the University of Lagos. Dedicated teachers will receive training to become Experimento multipliers who then share their knowledge with their colleagues and students once they’ve finished the course. The first training seminar for Experimento multipliers will take place in September 2016.