Advocating for STEM Education at the YouthfulCities Summit

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Oyindamola Johnson

Oyindamola Johnson, iNERDE Guest Blogger

June 22, 2015


Earlier this year, iNERDE guest blogger Oyindamola Johnson joined the YouthfulCities summit in Toronto, Canada as a YouthfulCities Urban Decoder and 2015 Global Summit Delegate.

Part of a larger venture challenging youth to regenerate the world’s biggest cities, the 2015 YouthfulCities Index ranked 55 cities from across the globe using 101 different indicators across attributes such as education, digital access, and sports among others. The initiative is the first of its kind, attempting to quantify and measure which cities are most attractive and suitable to young people between the ages of 15-29.

YouthfulCities co-founder Sonja Miokovic says that the index “creates a wealth of comparable based knowledge on what is important to youth. This understanding is critical for city leaders and urban designers committed to making smarter choices that attract and enable young people to fulfill their ambitions.”

At the summit, Oyindamola advocated for greater investment in education in Africa, particularly in STEM domains, in line with iNERDE’s mission to set a strong standard for STEM across the continent. Higher educational standards will also have a positive impact on Africa’s major cities socially and economically, and lead to improvement in leaps and bounds, he said.

He also called for more action in terms of data keeping across the African content, a response to the performance of African cities in the newly released report. The YouthfulCities report ranked Johannesburg 1st in the African region, but only 35th in the overall global ranking. Casablanca and Durban took second and third place respectively for Africa, while Cairo and Lagos came in fourth and fifth, or 48th and 49th globally.

Despite the low average performance of African cities in the global rankings, some cities scored highly on individual indicators across the board. However, Oyindamola notes that a lot of work is needed if we want to ensure that African cities are well-represented on a global scale, and that all hands should be on deck across the continent to celebrate those areas in which African cities did well.

According to Oyindamola, “some of the challenges that I and other researchers and urban decoders from Africa faced while compiling the report is the lack of availability and access to basic information and data for some sectors of the economy in most African cities”. He called for renewed efforts on the part of the government and private sectors to put adequate measures in place to inculcate better data-keeping amongst its populace, organizations, and institutions.

* Note on the YouthfulCities 2015 report: New York was named the 2015 Youthful City of the Year in the largest-ever study of how the world’s top cities measure up from a youth perspective. Edging out London to take the top spot, with Berlin trailing close behind.