• Friday, June 14, 2024
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Empowering Nigerian teachers for socio-economic development

Empowering Nigerian teachers for socio-economic development

It is worthy of note that among many factors plaguing the educational system in Nigeria, poor teacher quality is one of utmost importance because these educators have primary contact with the students, writes CHARLES OGWO.

Certain schools lack teachers with adequate knowledge about the subject they are required to teach. Apart from this, some teachers are deprived of consistent training to keep them up to bar with modern educational standards.

The Nigerian government in realisation of this has been making instructive policies to bring about a robust reform in the education sector, especially in the teaching profession which it plans to make implicitly dynamic, nationally relevant, and globally competitive. This was disclosed by the Federal Government during the Seplat Teachers Empowerment Programme (STEP) Certificate Award ceremony and education roundtable held in Benin City, the Edo State capital, recently.

While commending the management of Seplat Energy plc for committed resources towards nation-building, especially in the area of technologically development and promotion of quality education, the Federal Government stated that the STEP programme fulfils its goal and the private sector partnership on education, which is to work together to produce teachers with requisite knowledge, skills and desirable attitude.

The Seplat JV Teachers Empowerment Programme (STEP) is a well needed solution to increase teachers qualifications in Edo and Delta states. This is the second edition of the programme aimed at improving the standard of education in Nigeria, especially Seplat Energy’s host states and communities.

Seplat, a leading indigenous energy company and its partners, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), awarded certificates to a total of 220 persons comprising 214 teachers and six Chief Inspectors of Education in Edo and Delta states under the Seplat STEP.

Over the years, Seplat Energy had made significant impacts with critical initiatives focused on providing quality education for states of its operations and the country. To consolidate its achievements on Sustainability Development Goal (SDG4) for inclusive and equitable quality education, the company introduced STEP, a customised training programme for secondary school teachers. STEP is a three-month intensive training programme that equips teachers with tools to teach STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics).

The company introduced the STEAM model of learning to secondary schools in Delta and Edo states in order to promote creative thinking, allow for higher student engagement, and offer a well-rounded education. Where STEAM are equal contributors to the process of learning.

In September 2021, the 220 certificate awardees from Delta and Edo states began their training with an initial five-day residential retreat. After that, they continued training via the E-Learning platform developed for the programme.

To commemorate the certificate presentation ceremony held on March 17, 2022, Seplat Energy hosted the Seplat JV Education Roundtable themed: Harnessing the Role of Technology in Nigeria’s Education Sector.

The STEP certificate awards ceremony took place in Benin City, Edo State, alongside the Seplat Education Roundtable, which had educational experts and professionals in a highly engaging panel session. The keynote speaker for the day was Fabian Ajogwu, a professor and senior advocate of Nigeria, an independent non-executive director at Seplat Energy.

Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, minister of state for education, one of the special guests of honour, was represented by Muna Onuzo-Adetona, a special adviser to the minister.

He used the opportunity to highlight some of the Federal Government plans towards the education sector, stating, “The government has developed strategies to attract the best brains to the teaching profession. This development is aimed at motivating teachers to continue to strive for excellence.”

He noted that Seplat was a socially responsible organisation, and commended the company for putting in tireless effort in nurturing these beneficiaries.

The minister also noted that the STEP programme fulfils the goal of the Federal Government and the private sector partnership, which is to work together to produce teachers with requisite knowledge, skills, and desirable attitude.

Speaking with the teachers, he told them, “You have been bequeathed with a solid foundation. A foundation that enables you to be emotionally, psychologically, socially and technologically prepared to handle the delicate art of teaching across all levels of education. “You represent what is great about this programme. Remember that cultivating a positive emotional disposition, as well as the acquisition of knowledge and pedagogical skill will make you succeed in this profession.

“From today, you will not only be transferring knowledge, but you will also be shaping the minds and hearts of these precious children. To quote Aristotle, “educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”

The panellists comprised Yinka Akibu of the United Nations Development Programme; Kehinde Osinaike of the Federal Ministry of Education; Sijuade Idowu Tiamiyu of the State Universal Basic Education Board Lagos State, and Ini Abimbola of the Association of Sustainability Professionals of Nigeria. The session was moderated by Mories Atoki.

Also present were Philip Shaibu, deputy governor, Edo State, Joan Oviawe, commissioner for education, Edo State.

According to the Edo State deputy governor, “Education via technology will promote children to be global competitors, and this can only happen through adequate knowledge of technology. I congratulate Seplat Energy on this initiative and Edo State will continue to partner with the company on education.”

While congratulating the beneficiaries, he told them, “To whom much is given, much is expected.”

He urged the beneficiaries to use the knowledge acquired from the STEP programme to retrain the students in the state to be global competitors. He added that the theme for the event “Harnessing The Role of Technology in Nigeria’s Education Sector was apt.

Read also: Seplat empowers teachers in Edo, Delta

In his address, Ajogwu said: “Education is a collective responsibility. What Seplat Energy is doing is noble and commendable. It is supported by both Edo and Delta state governments. These states should be model states that should be emulated. Other corporates should also be invited to do the same. Spending on education gives us more future returns than subsiding consumption.

“Seplat Energy believes that empowering teachers is the first point to awakening education and education has a cost. What we have done is to take part of that cost. The government has a role to play as well as other organisations and stakeholders. We should acknowledge this cost and invest in it” Education has a cost, and Seplat energy has written the cheque.”

In her remarks, Chioma Nwachuku, Seplat Energy director of external affairs and sustainability said: “The STEP programme is important because it plays a key role in the socio-economic growth of the country. It supports the attainment of quality education which is #SGD4. The objective is to take STEAM education to the teachers. We encourage the teachers to transmit their experience with this programme to other colleagues in the sector and the students who are Nigeria’s future.

“Seplat Energy takes the STEP initiative seriously. This year we have trained over 200 teachers and state CIEs. The programme is designed to ensure monitoring and evaluation of the teachers even after the training and graduation. This ensures sustainability of the programme.”

In her remarks, the Edo State commissioner for education, Joan Oviawe said the state was thrilled to partner Seplat Energy on education, adding, “We are excited by what Seplat Energy is doing for teachers and thank the company for its CSR impact in the educational sector and other sectors. Edo state is taking the lead in technology intervention in education in Nigeria with initiatives like this and the The EdoBEST programme.”

The objectives of STEP are to: To train secondary school teachers on skills, innovations, and technologies for deploying STEAM to deliver tutelage better to the students; provide and connect teachers to a collection of STEAM resources to enable them to understand, apply and innovate; and provide schools with resources to enable them to provide the right environment for STEAM implementation to enable students engage in the interdisciplinary nature of STEAM.

STEP, which is an annual programme, starts with a five-day residential workshop, which provided leadership and self-improvement training, training on STEAM modules and its application to teaching. The teachers were also provided with STEAM gadgets and Apps to support their delivery of quality teaching in our host states. Of the teachers empowered, 75% are from public schools while 25% are from private schools.

The Ministry of Education Delta and Edo states and the Ministry of Science and Technology Edo State are both very excited by the programme because of the multiplier effect it will have on secondary education and have indicated their unwavering support for the programme.

The testimonies of recipients of the second edition of STEP highlighted the numerous benefits they gained from the programme, which included enhancing their creative thinking, allowing for higher student engagement, and offering a well-rounded education

Speaking with the media, Abiola Stella from Edo College, Edo State, and Akpoghelie Samson Oghale, from Mixed Secondary School, Ukala-Okpunor, Delta State, expressed their joy, stating that the programme was exceptional and mind-blowing while thanking Seplat for the training over the last six months, they said will enable them to make a positive impact in the classroom.