The National School Science Fair, which brings together secondary school students from across the country, will be hosted by the Akwa Ibom State Government this year. The event is sponsored by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Intel Corporation, and Interswitch.
The commencement of the Science fiesta was announced at a press conference held in Uyo Akwa Ibom, State. The Fair will accommodate pupils from the thirty-six (36) states plus the FCT Abuja and will give them the opportunity to showcase their independent research projects and inventions, as they try to solve the challenges faced in their local communities.
Science teachers who accompany the students to the Fair will participate in a one-week Science Educator Academy, where they will learn about current trends in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), including project management and mentoring of young scientists.
SPDC’s General Manager, Sustainable Development and Community Relations, Nedo Osayande said: “We’re pleased to be part of the success of the National Science Fair. We believe that, by encouraging the young ones to take interest in science subjects, we will be laying a solid foundation for the technological development of Nigeria. This has also informed the different educational programmes that SPDC and other Shell companies in Nigeria are implementing in the Niger Delta and throughout the country”.
Country Manager, Intel Nigeria, Olubunmi Ekundare while explaining the mechanics of the competition stated, “We encourage interested students to submit their original research work. The best six (6) projects will qualify to feature at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) which will holds in Los Angeles from May 11-16 2014. Over 4 million dollars in prizes and scholarships will be awarded to winners.”
Also speaking at the conference, Group Managing Director, Interswitch Transnational, Mitchell Elegbe, said that the fair is an excellent opportunity for young Nigerians to exhibit their inherent skills and demonstrate the huge potential the nation offers. “Interswitch proudly supports the National Festival of School Science Quiz and Fair competition. We remain committed to providing people development platforms that would help young Nigerians play active roles in national development in technology and beyond. This is quite essential as Nigeria strives towards becoming one of the Top-20 world economies by 2020,” he said.
As host to this year’s Fair, Commissioner for Science & Technology, Akwa Ibom State, Engr. lboro Ekanem, said, “Nigerian students have consistently given a good account of themselves at International Fairs. I am certain that the successful winners of the National School Science Fair will excel at the 2014 Intel ISEF.”
Speaking further, the Fair’s organiser, Genius Illumina, represented by the Executive Director, Dr Jerry Orhue, said, “For us at Genius Illumina, it’s been ten years of unbroken commitment to the promotion of excellence in Science and Technology Education. Ten years ago, we stood alone, but today, we are grateful to have giants standing by us. We remain highly indebted to our financial partners – SPDC, Intel and Interswitch, who through their commitment to the Nigerian child have continued to put their money behind our noble dream. We look forward to many more years of working together with them for the good of tomorrow.”
The National School Science Fair, which began in 2004, is designed to gradually transform every student into a researcher and teach students to see themselves as part of solutions to societal problems. It is expected that this year’s event will see even more daring science projects from participating students than in the previous years.