The Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwukah has called on parents, teachers and guidance counsellors to make concerted efforts towards sensitizing and educating students about the new career prospects in the field of light, saying the Ministry will do all it takes to deepen the understanding of the centrality of light in national development.

Anwukah, who made this call in Abuja on Thursday, 10th March, 2016, at the celebration of the UNESCO International Year of Light (IYL) and Light-Based Technologies, with the theme, “Harnessing Light and Light-Based Technologies for Sustainable Development in Nigeria,” said it was in recognition of the fact that light was a basic requirement for human existence as well as a unifying symbol for mankind that the Nigerian government joined other UNESCO Member countries to create awareness on the importance of light and light-based technologies.

According to him, light plays an essential role in the preservation of our cultural heritage and the arts, just as the science and technology of light and numerous applications of light-based technologies have revolutionalised the society in various fields, such as, medicine, entertainment, information and communication.

His words: “Light is life, light is vocation, light is development, light is empowerment, light is basic for human existence; and as there are numerous fields of specialization in light, so are vocational skills and job opportunities.”

The Minister of State maintained that the relevance of light and light-based technology was key to national development and, as such, Nigeria, as a Member State of UNESCO, will continue to harness light as a natural resource that is critical to human survival and for development in culture, power, renewable energy, health services, and information communication and technology, among others.

While calling on all to join the Federal Ministry of Education in the sensitization drive to achieve sustainable development by harnessing light and light-based technologies that will address the many challenges facing the country in the fields of culture, education, energy and communication, amongst others, Anwukah reiterated that the concept of cost-effective light-based solutions remain crucial to realizing the 2020 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan, said the International Year of Light had provided a unique opportunity to educate the populace and connect on a global scale, as well as promote careers that would inspire a new generation to study science through light.

She expressed the view that even if others questioned the relevance of IYL to Nigeria and why attention should not be given to it, it was important to note that the country was already a major player in the promotion of light-based technologies, going at an exponential pace with an annual growth rate of 60 per cent; and she therefore called on policy makers to ensure technicians, engineers and researchers were trained in phonetics technology in order to work in economically relevant sectors.

Among those present at the occasion were the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Associate Professor Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, who was represented by Mr. Alex Omijie (Director, Orientation and Cultural Affairs); Mrs. Magdalene Anene-Maidoh (Secretary-General, NATCOM-UNESCO), as well as Engr. Hamza Baba Isa (Deputy Director, FCT Department of Science and Technology, who represented the Director in the department) among many others.

Also notable was a dance drama presented by the NICO Cultural Troupe, which entertained guests.

Caleb Nor

Corporate Affairs Unit

NICO, Abuja