In its effort to close wide cap between the male and female sex in terms of education, the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has organized a science competition from the Niger Delta states.
Unveiling this on Monday in Port Harcourt, the Acting MD/CEO of the commission, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari said according to statistics, only 14 per cent of girls go into science fields, where there is an equally disturbing inequity, on the increase every year, in the gender distribution of the student population.
To close this gap therefore, the commission has introduced the Girls in Engineering, Mathematics and Science, GEMS competition with a grand finale holding tomorrow at the Hotels Presidential, Port Harcourt.
“As you may already be aware, GEMS stands for Girls in Engineering, Mathematics & Science, a programme borne out of our desire, as well as our social commitment and responsibility, to bridge the gaps that exist in gender related issues we encounter in our earnest effort to facilitate the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region.
“Of great importance is the science and technology areas, which are very vital in ensuring that our people begin to play a more definitive role in the oil and gas sector, which predominate activities in the Niger Delta”.
On what should be expected on Wednesday, the Acting MD noted, “I promise you, you are going to encounter very young girls whose works in science and technology will open your eyes to what is possible for this country, when the right things are done.
“That is the principle and strategic policy thrust of the Federal Government, under President Muhammadu Buhari, which we must tap into, to achieve the change that we must, for the good of our people. That is the right thing to do”, Ibim said while briefing the press on Monday.
“We believe that science and technology can become exciting again, for our young ones. GEMS presents a healthy competition that helps our girls interpret science in such a way that we can use science, in a glamorous way, to do every day things, and resolve every day challenges”.
According to her, the 30 finalists, all from SSS1 and SSS2, are beginning to see the practicality of science, even at that young age, and it becomes a foundation upon which they and other children of the Niger Delta, as well as the schools in the region, will build our collective future.
“That is why, as part of this programme, the school that produces the first prize winner will get a chemistry laboratory, while the second and third schools will get a physics and biology laboratory, respectively. We are also going to reward the girls with prizes, such as laptops.
“These finalists were selected from a rigorous elimination process that began with 2880 girls from the nine NDDC mandate states. From this first screening test 1110 girls were selected. From the 1110, 270 were selected at 30 girls per state.
“They progressed to the state finals, where 10 girls qualified from each state, leading to the regional finals, where 10 girls were selected from each of the three regions. Of the 30 who will participate in the grand finale, 10 would be selected for recognition, while the top five will receive awards, prizes and scholarships”.