358 Teachers in Edo, Delta Graduate from Seplat JV STEP

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… Stakeholders Harp on Nation Building Through Education

Chief Operating Officer, Seplat Energy Plc, Samson Ezugworie; Director, External Affairs and Social Performance, Chioma Afe; and DM Operations Mgt Seplat, NEPL, Mr. Uzoma Ezulu, lead as Seplat JV graduates 358 teachers in Edo and Delta states during its Seplat JV Education Workshop and STEP Graduation Ceremony in Benin City … on Friday

The NNPC E&P Limited/ Seplat Energy Joint Venture (JV) has graduated 331 teachers and 27 Chief Inspectors of Education (CIE) at the 2024 edition of the Seplat JV Education Summit and Seplat Teachers Empowerment Programme (STEP) graduation ceremony for Edo and Delta states.

The events, held in Benin City, are hinged on the Joint Venture’s continued quest to contribute towards the improvement of quality education in the communities and states where Seplat Energy operates, and by extension Nigeria.  Public and private school teachers were beneficiaries of the programme.

STEP is designed to promote teacher’s creative thinking, provide training on teaching applications for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM), provide leadership and self-improvement training, allow for higher student’s engagement, and offer a well-rounded education for recipients of the programme. For this edition, which is the fourth, a total of 358 teachers graduated from the programme and were presented with requisite certificates.

The programme is targeted at secondary school teachers in public and private schools in Delta and Edo states, including the communities where Seplat Energy operates. It is a six-month intensive training programme which kicks off with a four-day residential workshop aimed to provide leadership and self-improvement training, training on STEAM modules and its application to teaching. The teachers are also provided with STEAM gadgets and Apps to support their delivery of quality teaching in their schools.

In his remarks, Mr. Samson Ezugworie, Chief Operating Officer, Seplat Energy Plc, lauded the governments of Edo and Delta states, and the NNPC for earnestly working with the management of Seplat Energy to drive the STEP initiative.

The commitment, he said, showed that the organisations recognised the problem facing the education sector and the need to confront it head-on. “The country’s education system today is not where it should be, and we understand its pivotal role in development. If the youths of this country are not developed, there’s a problem. This shared drive among Seplat, our senior partners, and the state governments in the areas we operate is what propels us forward,” Ezugworie explained.

He added: “To the teachers in the room, you shape individuals, and you should take pride in your work. I’m sure your teachers would also be proud to see you, knowing you were once their student, bringing them a sense of satisfaction. Always remember that wisdom is the key.”

Mrs. Chioma Afe, Director, External Affairs and Social Performance, explained that the education value chain plays a crucial role in shaping the workforce and fostering economic development.

Addressing the challenges within the education value chain, especially in the areas where Seplat and NNPC operate, as well as across the nation, Afe said: “At the foundation of the education value chain lie primary and secondary education, crucial for laying the groundwork for future learning. However, access to quality early education, especially in rural areas, remains a challenge. This affects children’s ability to proceed to higher education or enter the workforce.

“Despite efforts to increase access to quality education, disparities in resources persist across different regions, particularly in secondary education. Higher education institutions play a critical role in shaping the workforce through specialised training and skills development, but they face challenges such as limited funding and outdated curricula.”

According to her, education disparities among socioeconomic groups hinder inclusive growth and poverty reduction efforts, emphasizing the need for uniformity in resource allocation and quality improvement.

“Addressing challenges within the education value chain is crucial for workforce development and socioeconomic growth in Nigeria. Our collective efforts are vital in building a skilled and productive workforce that can drive the nation’s growth and development in the years to come,” Afe added.

Ayodele Olatunde, MD Seplat West Ltd, Seplat Energy, earlier in his welcome address, said the programme stands as a beacon of our unwavering commitment to championing and empowering educators in their noble quest for excellence. Olatunde who was represented by the Base Manager, Western Asset, Mr. Emmanuel Otokhine, said the collective mission of the NEPL/Seplat JV is to equip teachers with the tools, knowledge, and resources essential for thriving in today’s dynamic educational landscape while leaving an indelible mark on the lives of their students.

Dr. Joan Ovaiwe, the Edo Commissioner for Education thanked Seplat JV and NEPL for supporting teachers in Edo and Delta, noting that under the leadership of Governor Godwin Obaseki, Edo have been focused on education reform for the past seven years through the Edo Best framework.

The Keynote speaker, Akin-Olusoji Akinyele, the Group Managing Director NewGlobe said there is a compelling evidence that improved quality of education would produce a more educated and skilled labour force.

Speaking on the theme ‘Transforming the Education Workforce: A Critical Success Factor for Nation Building, Akinyele said improved education system would accelerate the growth in GDP each year by 0.5% at the minimum.

According to him, transforming the education workforce requires a holistic and collaborative approach, adding that it is a complex and multifaceted process that involves various stakeholders, strategic planning, and sustained efforts.

“The Seplat example and the EdoBEST example are replicable and scalable models of private sector and public sector interventions. To achieve them at national scale requires comprehensive needs assessment to identify the strengths, weaknesses, and gaps in the current education workforce. This involves analyzing teacher skills, professional development opportunities, and the alignment of the workforce with the evolving needs of learners and society,” he said.

The MD, NEPL, Nicolas Foucart, represented by Mr. Uzoma Ezulu, DM Operations Mgt Seplat, NEPL, said: “On behalf of the management of NEPL, I appreciate Seplat Energy. They have been the operator of choice. We see their commitment to development at work, at play, and in society. I am proud to say that I am part of this team. If only other operators would do the same thing Seplat is doing, I am sure a lot of the education-related problems we are having currently in the country would not exist.”

The overall outstanding teacher from the programme, Francis Edeki, said: “I am so much grateful to Seplat for what they have done especially in this programme. I also believe that every teacher here are also delighted that they are part of this programme. It is indeed a rare opportunity; and now I can tell you I am empowered.”

Other benefiting teachers, Beauty Atsenuwa and Flora Ehimen, said the STEAM and leadership knowledge acquired from the programme would go a long way to impact the lives of their students whilst propelling them for excellence.

Atsenuwa said: “If we were to pay for this, 99.9% of teachers here will not be able to afford this. Seplat and its senior partners have given us an opportunity that is rare, and we can’t thank them enough.”

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