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Nigeria launches first National life science competition for secondary schools

Nigeria schools are faced with numerous challenges including the lack of science role models and mentors, among others, the process of natural science education in comprehensive school is one of those not adequate for the present day and achievement of sciences.

In this bid, the first National Life Science Competition for Secondary Schools (NLSC)  is been launched in Nigeria against the backdrop when many students particularly girls become discouraged to go into  taking up career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) leading to severe reduction in the enrolment of students into life science.

The maiden NLSC in Nigeria is an initiative of Science Communication Hub Nigeria (SciComNigeria) and TReND in Africa, supported by the Physiological Society United Kingdom.

“With this initiative we hope to inspire and encourage young secondary school students through stories and debates that will engender positive conversations about opportunities in the life sciences,’ said Mahmoud Bukar Maina, founder and director of SciComNigeria.

Maina said that inspiring and motivating Nigerian secondary school students will make them develop genuine interests in life science courses and take up career paths in science.

“Moreover, through our network of scientists, we hope to provide mentorship to selected secondary school students in Nigeria who intend to take up career paths in the life sciences,” he added.

However, the NLSC initiative is focused on promoting the understanding of life science courses such as Physiology, Anatomy, Biochemistry, Biology, Botany, and Zoology, among secondary school students to inspire the next generation of scientists in Nigeria.

According to Maina, the competition has timelines between the months of March to July noting that within these timelines it entails the submission of essays of interested participants across schools in Nigeria shall submit a 300- 500 words easy describing their interest in any life science course and its importance to the society.

He added that the best ten essays will be selected and reviewed of application begins in April and selected students will be notified in the month of May.

“Authors of the ten select winning essays will be invited to represent their respective schools in a National Life Science debate organized via an online platform. To apply, follow this link tiny.cc/z1fnlz. Deadline for submission of application: Friday, 10 April, 2020,” said Maina.

The founder explained that the debate will be open for all interested viewers across Nigeria and the audience will be invited to vote at the end of the debate.

“The first, second, and third positions would be selected by Science Communication Hub Nigeria, visit the school of the first prize recipient to organize an outreach activity aimed at inspiring the students about physiological sciences and present certificates to the winner.”

“The second and third position will also receive cash prizes, respectively,” he said.

 

ANTHONIA OBOKOH

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