Nigeria: Dons seek investment in educational TV

Investment

If Nigeria can emulate South Africa by establishing an educational television channel, performance in public examinations could improve, some educationists have said.

This is coming as outgoing president of the Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN), Dr Prince Okorie, commended Mobil Producing Nigeria for funding the radio broadcast of the final of its science quiz competition nationwide.

Thanking the multinational oil company for the gesture, Dr Prince Okorie said through the broadcast of the competition by the Federal Radio Corporation (FRCN), the association is able to reach the grassroots with knowledge of the sciences to the benefit of students in rural areas.

"The bringing back of FRCN on board for this particular competition is the best thing that ever happened to STAN.  We hope that this relationship will not be tampered with because that is the way we can reach the grassroots," he said at the awards ceremony held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja to celebrate winners of the competition.

However, in an interview during the final of the competition, Prof Peter Okebukola who chairs STAN's Science Fair committee, looks forward to when Nigeria will dedicate a television channel to the teaching of science subjects, like South Africa has done with DSTV Channel 319 and has succeeded in improving performance of secondary school pupils in the sciences.

"What I like to see is that beyond radio, we start a television production.  The South Africans have a dedicated channel for teaching Physics, Chemistry and Biology, DSTV 319.  

I am looking at a situation where the Federal Government will invest in an educational channel. If STAN gets more funds, we will go in that direction. In South Africa through the programme, performance improved.  

If we have dedicated channels or FM stations that can allow some time to run educational programmes, it will help performance because youths tune in to these stations to listen to music so we can catch more youths this way," he said.

Okebukola commended the primary and secondary school pupils who participated in the three categories of the competition (written, quiz and project), noting that they did well even when they were given more of open-ended questions than multiple-choices.

"I feel quite delighted that the quality of questions has gone up and the students responded very well.  If you notice, three-quarter of the questions were open ended.  It allowed them to think.  My assessment is that these children are more Spartan than previous ones," he said.

He, however, noted that more than 98 per cent of them came from private schools.

In his speech, Paul Arinze, General Manager (Government Affairs) for Mobil who was represented by Ms Susan Esshiet, said the company invested N20million in the STAN conference, with N1.7million for prizes alone.