Amid a flurry of reality television shows across a gamut of themes keeping viewers glued to their screens, there can never be enough educational programmes that aim to develop and hone the knowledge base of students, and this is where the InterswitchSPAK competition comes in.
The InterswitchSPAK competition was developed with a narrowed focus on subjects around Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), with a view to sustaining interests in these subject areas for students in schools across the African continent.
The programme also serves as a reminder of the importance of improving the standards of STEM education on the continent, while providing the students with an opportunity to participate on a platform that avails them access to better education. The programme equips young African students with a renewed mindset to owning the solutions to Africa problems.
Highlighting the foregoing point, the winner of the InterswitchSPAK 2.0 competition, 16-year-old Oyindamola Aje of Jesuit Memorial College, amplified the goal of the competition in a "thank you" message to the InterswitchSPAK organisers in a video.
Oyindamola who is currently pursuing an honours degree in Chemical Engineering at the Texas A&M University expressed his gratitude to the management of Interswitch Group for giving Africa students a platform such as the InterswitchSPAK. He restated the company’s invaluable support to pursue his dreams and their commitment to fulfilling their promise which includes a N7.5 million in scholarship, a well programmed brand-new laptop, and monthly stipends.
The video clearly reiterates the mission of the competition, which is to empower young Africa students in the STEM subject area and support them to carve a clear path in their individual careers that would in turn "make Africa a better place".
The InterswitchSPAK National Science Competition is for students in all Senior Secondary Schools (SSS2) across the country, be it public or private, with a N12.5 million university scholarship prize to the winners, and free registration.
The first-place winner gets N7.5 million spread over a period of five years while pursuing an undergraduate programme, a laptop and monthly stipend.
The second-place winner gets N4 million over a period of three years, a laptop and monthly stipend. The third prize winner gets N1 million, which is received within the year with a laptop.
Students in high school in Kenya also participate in the competition, thereby fostering an inter-country and intra-continental educational experience.
As a technology giant, especially in the digital payment space, Interswitch continues to entrench itself as a bastion of advancement in the tech sector, and through the InterswitchSPAK competition, students who have found themselves enamoured of the possibilities present in STEM are given opportunities to make their dreams a reality.
Aside from the exciting prizes for the first, second, and third place winners, they also get the optional chance of being an intern at Interswitch, giving their career in STEM a jumpstart.
Created in 2017, the competition has gone on to positively impact the lives of the participants, and the journey appears to not slow down, as the programme organisers have put measures in place to ensure that the 2021 edition is conducted after the competition was suspended the previous year due to the pandemic.