Dr Bello Aliyu Gusau, Executive Secretary, Petroleum Technology Development Fund(PTDF) has commended the members of the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) for their devotion in ensuring that the PTDF STEM Initiative meets the desired objective of building a firm foundation for teaching and learning of science and technology based subjects at the senior secondary school level, that leads to clarity of knowledge of STEM based courses. Adding that the Fund identified NERDC as a credible partner that can support the realization of STEM objective as the body responsible for designing content for schools in Nigeria.

He made this statement at the opening ceremony of the development of the training notes for teachers which is an aspect of the implementation process to run the pilot scheme of the PTDF STEM programme comprising of 6000 senior secondary school Teachers drawn across 1000 secondary school from the 6 geo-political zones of the country.

The one-week intensive content development programme is geared towards ensuring consistency and uniformity in the delivery of training to teachers in the six identified core science and technology related subjects which includes Physics, Chemistry, Biology, English, Mathematics and Information and communication Technology (ICT).

Dr Bello Aliyu Gusau said that the Fund decided to invest in building capacities in science and technology related areas after realizing a neglect in the core science subjects which form the rudimentary foundation to any science and technological advancement.

The idea is that for the past 20 years, PTDF has been focused on Postgraduate and undergraduate programmes but we realized that the foundation is being neglected. We have seen a lot of gaps in our intervention at the level of postgraduate and undergraduate programmes. So, we made a definite decision on what we can do to bridge this gap within our mandate as an institution that is dedicated to developing capacity for the oil and gas and other related industries”.

He said that, this exercise is in continuation of the process of implementing the PTDF STEM programme stating that prior to this development, the Fund in collaboration with its partner, NERDC has concluded the review of Teachers Guide, Training Manual and Curriculum of science and technology subjects in senior secondary schools. The manual developed focused on eight (8) focal areas which includes understanding of the PTDF STEM project goal, curriculum understanding, scooping and sequencing, teaching plan and delivery, instructional material development and utilization, assessment techniques, general instructional packaging and ICT as well as the 21st century skills.

Executive Secretary, NERDC, Prof. Ismail Junaidu in his remark commended PTDF for its sponsorship of the exercise and described the collaboration as an outstanding synergy that should be encouraged among MDAs. Thanking the Fund for its sustained push towards the implementation of “STEM” project he said the partnership would bring resounding turnaround in the Nigerian educational sector particularly as it relates to the teaching and learning of science and mathematics.

Speaking further he said. “I would like to inform you that our plan for the teacher capacity building programme under this project is unique and impact driven. We want to use the training programme to showcase a model and in the process bring about visible change in the way the beneficiary teachers do their job. Those of you who have worked with us before will bear witness that this project design is taking a different pathway even from the remodeling of the Teachers’ Guides. Our prime objective is to show teachers how to carry out effective teaching and learning and not to spoon feed them. We want to empower them to do their job with new skills and innovative approaches. We are optimistic that the design we have put up will achieve the intended outcome”.

He revealed that the NERDC selected some of its best to participate as resource persons in the development of manual for training of teachers across the country and urge them to deploy their expertise towards the development, delivery and execution of every bit of the components of this plan.

Coordinator of the training, Dr Chima Egbujuo in his remark thanked the management of PTDF for providing a very conducive environment to conduct such intellectual process “it is always very exciting to be in PTDF to do a work of this nature, it’s a very serene environment to do every intellectually driven work, once you are working in this kind of environment it gives you the opportunity to think even beyond your horizon”.