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NGO organises science fair contest for Ibadan students, charges them to be creative, innovative

A youth-led non-governmental organisation, The Ganglion Initiative (TGI), on Friday, organised a science fair competition for some selected secondary schools in Ibadan, seizing the opportunity to ingrain in the students the importance of creativity and innovation in science and technology.

The co-founder of the organisation, Toluwalase Awoyemi − who noted that TGI was founded by three Ibadan medical doctors in 2017 − stated that the science fair competition was his brainchild during his time in the United Kingdom as a Rhodes Scholar.

“I noticed how institutions in the UK looked for ways to increase the interest of school children in science through different science festivals,” he said. “On getting back from the UK, I and a dedicated team of volunteers worked to organise one of the first science fairs in Oyo State.”

The Ibadan coordinator of the programme, Basirat Bada, while making her remarks, noted that the organisation has four branches located in Ogun, Oyo, Lagos, and Osun states.

She stated that this was the maiden edition of the science fair, and it was tagged ‘Scrap to Science Fair’. She added that the objective of the fair was to inspire creativity and innovation among the students and also to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in Nigeria.

“The fair provides an opportunity for secondary school students to practice and showcase what they are taught in school,” she said. “It is also an avenue for the students to connect and network with other students from other schools, and to learn from one another’s projects.”

The overall project coordinator of the organisation, Lawal Abiodun, said it was a great feat and opportunity for the students to grace the competition with their science project pitches, which he noted were impressive.

“For you to put your thoughts together and come up with these projects, you are already a winner,” Abiodun said. “I challenge you to go back to your schools and further develop them.”

The judges of the competition were David Babalola, Efosa Ijawe, and Joshua Inioluwa. All the judges were students of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan.

While commending the students on their projects and appreciating their teachers for the sacrifices they made in preparing the students, the judges read out the rules and the regulations guiding the contest.

The nine schools at the event and the projects they constructed and presented were as follow:

Bashorun High School students built a truck. Ikolaba High School students constructed an estate with houses, cars, trees, and a garage in it. Oladipo Alajande School of Science students constructed a water dispenser and a remote-controlled car. Abadina College students constructed a city with houses, cars, a railway, electricity, helicopter services, and a windmill.

Immanual College built a car and a truck. Wesley College of Science students constructed a rechargeable fan and lamp. Jislord Heights College students constructed an electric stove and oven.

Furthermore, Anglican Commercial Grammar School students constructed a house and a remote-controlled car. And, finally, Loyola College students constructed a vacuum cleaner.

These projects by the students were constructed using mainly cardboard papers, cartons, tapes, glue, plastics, cement, wood, hose, wires, batteries, motors, and blades, among other related scraps.

After the exhibitions, Paul Ikechukwu anchored the feedback session. He tasked the students to criticise and correct themselves on the projects they presented and how they presented them.

“In your next science projects, try to create something that is realistic within a specific time frame. They should also be sustainable, and has real-life applications,” he charged the students.

He also asked them what they wanted to become in future and enjoined them to trust in their abilities and talents, as they strive to become whoever they want to become.

Ikechukwu also informed the students about the organisation’s Remote Mentorship Scheme − through which they pair students with remote mentors that would mentor and guide them in their projects and works – and enjoined them to apply for it.

Some of the teachers present at the event also spoke on mentorship and how it can impact the students.

Mrs A. A. Oyeyemi, a teacher from Immanual College, stated that one’s mentor may know or not know everything one needs, and may or may not be around the mentee, but they can still help one to be focused and achieve their dreams.

Mr Kazeem Morakinyo, a teacher from Ikolaba High School, emphasised that a student or a teenager that decides to have a mentor has made the right decision. He added that everything about the development of a child needs mentorship. He admonished the students to set objective and realistic goals.

When the judges announced the winners of the contest, Oladipo Alajande School of Science came first with 74.67 per cent points, winning a cash prize of N75,000; Loyola College came second with 71.67 per cent, winning N50,000.

Furthermore, Jislord Heights College came third with 60.67 per cent points, winning N25,000; Wesley College of Science came fourth with 60 per cent points, winning N15,000; and, finally, Ikolaba High School came fifth with 59.67 per cent points, winning N10,000.

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