The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has flagged-off the donation and distribution of essential science equipment to selected secondary schools in the Niger Delta region.
Speaking at the flag-off ceremony in Warri, Delta State, the NDDC Interim Administrator, Mr. Efiong Akwa, stated that science education was at the core of the Commission’s mandate.
Consequently, he said: “We are donating essential science equipment to forty-six schools across the region. The goal of the Commission is to facilitate the effective teaching and learning of science subjects, in order to stimulate and foster the interest of young minds in the study of the sciences.”
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer observed that science students represented the future leaders and key players in the regional growth strategies and efforts that would ensure that the Niger Delta region reaped adequate reward from its natural riches.
He stated: “The relevance of science education to our lives and its capacity to apply vital life-skills to everyday activities, indeed, cannot be over emphasized. That is why we must equip our laboratories with modern science equipment. That is why we must promote the teaching and learning of science subjects in schools.”
Akwa noted that the donation of science equipment was coming less than a month after the NDDC flagged off the distribution of vaccines, cold chains and related medical equipment to states in the Niger Delta region.
He remarked: “Although these two programmes are separated by time and place, they are intertwined in the way they both highlight the importance the Commission attaches to the wellbeing of the Niger Delta and its people.
“While the vaccines and medical equipment touch at the heart of our health enterprise, science and its essential equipment lie at the foundation of our economic health. Indeed, while no community, country or society can realise its potential and promise unless the best of its public health system is promoted, no society has ever developed, in a sustainable manner, without the development of its science and technology.”
Akwa stated that the main economic activities central to the development of the Niger Delta, such as oil, gas and agriculture, were energised and propelled by science and technology, noting that they were the key that turns the ignition of sustainable development, which moves societies forward.
The NDDC boss highlighted some of the interventions of the Commission in the education sector. According to him, they include: “Renovation and rehabilitation of schools in all the states; provision and supply of desks and benches, creating a more conducive environment and classrooms for teaching and learning; donation of desktop and laptop computers to schools, in order to address computer illiteracy in schools.
Others are: “Provision and distribution of NDDC customized teaching and learning materials to schools, as well as equipping pupils with learning aids; Capacity building workshops for teachers, aimed at enriching and updating their knowledge base with modern teaching techniques for improved learning and campaigns against substance abuse, cultism and examination malpractices, aimed at creating awareness to these social vices, finding ways to curb them and promoting a conducive and healthy learning environment in our schools.”
Akwa also talked about the contributions of the NDDC in promoting quiz competitions in secondary schools, which promote a more engaging reading culture in students, as well as using a reward system to encourage hard work in young minds.
He equally underlined the benefits of the Post-Graduate Foreign Scholarships, which he noted had helped young graduates to acquire specialization in their fields of study, as well as improving their marketability in the competitive global economy.
He said: “As part of the Commission’s human development initiative, and in consideration of the challenges occasioned by the COVID- 19 pandemic, Management has reviewed the NDDC Post-Graduate Scholarship scheme to include approved universities in Nigeria. We therefore encourage our young graduates to take advantage of this opportunity, when advertised.
The Delta State Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Mr Patrick Ukah, commended the NDDC, for taking concrete steps to ensure that secondary school students were given good science education.
Ukah, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Augustine Oghoro, expressed the government’s appreciation of the science equipment and promised to put the items to good use.
He appealed to the NDDC to extend the donation to other schools in the state, while calling on other organisations to emulate what the NDDC had done.
Cutting the tape for the flag-off, the Chief of Staff to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, who represented the Minster, Sir Etekamba Umoren, emphasized the role of science education in nation building, urging the beneficiaries of the science equipment to put them to good use.