Nigeria: VSO boosts Science Education in Katsina with Mobile Science Laboratory

Mobile Science Laboratory - Government Day Secondary School, Muduru, Katsina [Photo Credit - Iweka Kingsley]

Umar Amodu is a final year science student at the Government Day Secondary School Muduru in Nani local government area of Katsina state in northern Nigeria. His school is one of the first fifteen schools selected by VSO International for the Mobile Science Laboratory project in partnership with PZ Cussons Foundation and the Katsina State Ministry for Education.

Umar Amodu - Science Student at Government Day Secondary Muduru, Katsina State [Photo Credit- Iweka Kingsley]
Umar Amodu – Science Student at Government Day Secondary Muduru, Katsina State [Photo CreditIweka Kingsley]

Umar wants to be a medical doctor, a passion that was ignited in him when he visited a sick relative in the local clinic. He was inspired by the selfless contribution of the volunteer medical personnel he met, and determined that he was going to “study hard to one day contribute as a member of this community.”

The Challenge

Umar’s dream was however challenged by the poor quality of education in Nigeria, especially in his home state, Katsina. The burden on education in Nigeria is overwhelming. Nigeria still has 10.5million out-of-school children, the world’s highest number. 60% of these children are in Northern Nigeria (UNICEF).

Empty Science Laboratory, Governement Day Secondary School, Muduru, Katsina [Photo Credit- Iweka Kingsley
Empty Science Laboratory, Government Day Secondary School, Muduru, Katsina [Photo Credit- Iweka Kingsley]

Umar’s school was founded in 1984 with 13 students, but only started teaching Science in 2006. The quality and access of Science and Mathematics education is very poor. This is due to low capacity and capability of teachers, lack of adequate in-service teacher training resulting in low standards of teaching, highly theoretical teaching practices, with little or no resources or training provided in practical methodologies.

VSO’s Intervention

In order to keep Umar’s dream alive and strengthen the quality of teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics in Secondary Schools in Katsina State, VSO Nigeria in partnership with PZ Cussons Foundation and the Katsina State Ministry of Education has launched the Mobile Science Laboratory – Science on Wheels.

Mobile Science Laboratory - Government Day Secondary School, Muduru, Katsina [Photo Credit- Iweka Kingsley
Mobile Science Laboratory – Government Day Secondary School, Muduru, Katsina [Photo Credit- Iweka Kingsley]
Mobile Science Laboratory - Government Day Secondary School, Muduru, Katsina [Photo Credit- Iweka Kingsley
Mobile Science Laboratory – Government Day Secondary School, Muduru, Katsina [Photo Credit- Iweka Kingsley]

The Mobile Science Lab project was officially launched on July 26, 2017 and has since been driving across 15 schools in Katsina state. In the past 2-months, VSO has taken Science and Maths teaching to over 7,500 unserved school children in the state.

The Mobile Science Lab includes equipment and teaching aids for practical science experiments and is complemented by 60 Science and Mathematics Teachers trained in innovative teaching methods.

According to VSO Nigeria Country Director, Lucia Balonwu, “the main objective is to ensure that we improve the quality of teaching of Science and Maths subjects in secondary schools. We are piloting this project in these 15 schools, and hope to scale it up further across the almost 400 secondary schools in Katsina state.”

Hope Shines Bright

The Mobile Science laboratory brings with it an opportunity for these students to expand their vistas of possibilities that knowledge of science and maths provides their counterparts around the world.

Science Students of Government Day Secondary School, Muduru, Katsina [Photo Credit- Iweka Kingsley]
Science Students of Government Day Secondary School, Muduru, Katsina [Photo Credit- Iweka Kingsley]

“This is definitely a welcome development. When I was posted here for my National Youth Service Corp assignment, it was very difficult teaching the students as we had no instruments or equipment to perform science experiments and practical classes, but this Mobile Laboratory has allowed us to have at least 1 practical class every week, which is a huge boost to science teaching and learning for the students of this school,” says Oduigwe Chidera, Science Teacher.


AUTHOR: Iweka Kingsley is an award winning blogger and Founder/Editor of
Africa-OnTheRise.com

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