*To Partner Local Content Board For Job Placement For Post-Graduate Scholars
By Ovie Okpare
The Interim Administrator of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr Efiong Akwa, says Nigeria’s future and its growth is depended on the development and promotion science and technology.
He said the country will be among the leading lights in the world if government at all levels encourage her citizens to embrace science and technology especially from their basic and secondary school levels.
Akwa stated this on Thursday at Effurun in Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State during the flag off of the donation and distribution of essential science equipment to selected secondary schools in the Niger Delta region.
According to him, “Because of the value NDDC attached to education, we have to come in here to flag off the donation of these science equipment to encourage our students and you see, those of them who are not science oriented are already thinking the way of science because the future of Nigeria lies in the development of science and technology.”
He disclosed that the commission was already engaging the Nigerian Local Content Management Board (NLCMB) for the recruitment of the commission’s post-graduate scholars at the end of their programmes.
The NDDC boss posited that the donation was part of commission’s determined efforts at promoting teaching of science subjects in secondary schools in the region.
He said the interventionist agency was also investing in the building of educational infrastructure as a catalyst towards providing lasting solutions to the socio-economic challenges currently confronting the people of the oil-rich region.
Akwa stated that the commission has also reviewed the NDDC Post-Graduate scholarship scheme to include approved Nigerian universities in the country for the training of beneficiaries.
He said a total of 51 secondary schools were selected as beneficiaries from the nine Niger Delta states including Delta, Edo, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Imo and Ondo.
“Today, we are donating essential science equipment to 51 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.
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We recognise that these are the future leaders and key players in the regional growth strategies and efforts that will ensure that the Niger Delta region reaps adequate reward from its natural riches. The relevance of science education to our lives and its capacity to apply vital life-skills to everyday activities, indeed, cannot be over emphasised.
“That’s 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.
“And that is why, 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. Our strategy remains to help build the capacity of Niger Deltans and equip them to flourish in the predominant oil and gas sector of the regional economy.
“May I also inform you all that the commission is in the process of engaging the Nigerian Local Content Management Board (NLCMB) for the recruitment/placement of the NDDC Post-Graduate scholars. We aim to offer them the opportunity to contribute their quota to the development of the region, in diverse fields”, he stated.
The NDDC boss, however, harped on the need by the benefitting secondary schools to put the equipment which include practical tools on biology, chemistry, agriculture, physics and other science-based subjects into proper use for the general good of the people.
In his remark, the Delta State Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Chief Patrick Ukah, said there was need for the interventionist agency and the states of the region to continue to partner on the area of education and others.
Ukah, represented by Mr. Augustine Ogoro, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, assured the commission that the state government will ensure the equipment were put into good use to promote the teaching of science subjects especially among benefitting schools.
The commissioner further urged the NDDC management to expand the number of beneficiaries especially in Delta which currently has over 470 public secondary schools, which he claimed, was the highest by any state government in the region.