The management of Seplat Petroleum Development Company, a Nigerian independent oil and gas company, says the company has donated well-equipped laboratories to schools in Edo and Delta.
The Director of External Affairs and Sustainability, Seplat Energy, Dr Chioma Nwachuku, explained that the laboratories were for Science Technology Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) to promote practical learning in both private and public schools.
Speaking at the event in Benin on Wednesday, Nwachuku said that the initiative was geared towards assisting the students to develop their science, engineering, mathematics, and art skills using technology.
Nwachuku noted that the STEAM laboratory, supported by Solar Energy, has internet access to provide the teachers with a technology-enhanced learning environment to support project-based learning for their students.
She explained that the laboratory was designed to help students learn how to work as a team, solve problems and apply their knowledge in advanced and in creative ways to prepare them for the future.
“Seplat is excited that the STEAM laboratories will further strengthen the application of STEAM learning that the company has continued to promote in schools through the Seplat Teachers Empowerment Programme (STEP).
“The Seplat Teachers Empowerment Programme, known as STEP, equips secondary school teachers with the knowledge, skills, and competencies to teach students the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics learning model.
“Teachers are critical factors towards achieving quality education. Hence, in 2020, Seplat commenced the STEP initiative to empower teachers with the essential STEAM knowledge and skill sets.
“This highly sought-after programme has delivered immense outcomes for 634 teachers and touched more than 25,000 students in Delta and Edo secondary schools,” she said.
Also speaking, the Director of New Energy, Seplat, Mr Effiong Okon, said: “We started the STEP initiative by training teachers, and now we have taken the next step by investing in the STEAM laboratory and providing unique gadgets.
“This laboratory will significantly change how students learn and how our children’s potential can be unleashed.
“Although we started with producing oil, Seplat is currently investing in New Energy, and this STEAM laboratory will be successfully powered by solar energy because we have a high sun density.
“So, we do not have to rely on the grid or power-generating sets to run the laboratory. We look forward to collaborating with the students and possibly championing new scientific breakthroughs.
“The laboratory has various science devices and tools such as electrical kits, chemical supplies, computers, art materials and a projector. among others”.
In her speech, the Commissioner for Education in Edo, Dr Joan Oviawe, thanked Seplat on behalf of the state government.
Oviawe reiterated that the donation supported the state government’s drive to enhance the role of technology in improving the quality of education in the state.
In his welcome address, the Principal of Ihogbe College, Mr Johnson Egharevba, expressed the excitement of the entire school adding that his students had also attended Seplat-organised competitions in the past.
Egharevba said that three of the school’s STEP-trained teachers had developed power banks based on knowledge gained from STEP.