The push for mass participation in the much-desired science and tech drive in the oil region found expression last week in Akwa Ibom State where over 135 youths took part in a science and technology booth camp.
The event was brought down to the region by a philanthropist, Edet Amana, the founder/president of Edet Amana Foundation (EDAF), an organisation said to be at the forefront of philanthropy in areas of education, health, economic empowerment, and skills acquisition beginning with his state.
Amana, said to have graduated with first-class in Civil Engineering from Imperial College years back also has a doctorate degree in Structural Engineering from the same university.
Cyril Bieh, the programme Coordinator of Amana Foundation, told BusinessDay that the 137 participants were full of enthusiasm for being exposed in such a sensitive programme that would guarantee them a viable future through science and technology.
He said: “The interest and participation of the children of the Niger Delta especially those from the partner-state, Akwa Ibom, in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) increased.
“The five-day workshop, mentoring, and excursion were successfully executed; and capacity and competencies of 35 teachers teaching STEM subjects were tremendously built.”
The booth camp managers said they found future geniuses and super stars amongst the children they handled and singled out 10 interesting talents who were rewarded with 10 genius learning tablets. Prizes, gift items, school bags and certificates were distributed to the 137 lucky students.
The camp helped to place participants on robotics skills that would place participants on a track to future careers in computer science and artificial intelligence was also developed.
A key objective was to enhance the future prosperity of the Akwa Ibom, the Niger Delta and that of Nigeria prosperity and economic competitiveness in the STEM.
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A major prong of the scheme, according to the organizers, includes passion, integrity and accountability.
“To shrink the gap of digital inequality, and developmental disparities for low-income pupils; thus sparking strong interest in STEM programs in their post-primary cum post-secondary education.
“To enhance interest in global STEM learning achievements and learn group dynamics and personal sensitivity towards others.
Amana practised as a consulting engineer in the UK and Nigeria, and has in the past six decades directed over 1000 planning, design, and construction projects in the UK and Nigeria.
The engineering Fellow is said to have been a trailblaser in engineering practice in Nigeria.
It was gathered that Amana decided to bring home to Nigeria what he saw abroad that helped most young scholars to get ahead in science, technology, innovation, the digital revolution, production, creativity and empowerment.
Bieh told newsmen that the scheme came through a very robust and transparent needs assessment mechanism, and that EDAF coordinates philanthropic interventions and goodwill to deserving communities