By Uchechukwu Nnaike
A Lagos-based consulting and products provider in the Food, Education and Healthcare value chain, FEH Projects, is set to introduce the Mobile Science Cart (MSC) to boost the study of sciences and ICT in secondary schools.
The firm, which delivers projects across these industries to governments, private enterprises and multinational corporations either to support social service, core operation or deliver corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes, described the MSC as a world-class alternative to the traditional laboratory.
According to the Director, Corporate Development, Mrs. Florence Acha-Ukamba, “greatly disturbed by the present generation of our public school students that learn in dilapidated classrooms and study science in ill-equipped laboratories, we have provided a fully functionally, compact and innovative approach to science teaching.”
She said the MSC is an innovative, convenient and cost effective way to teach Physics, Chemistry, Biology and ICT in secondary schools, adding that it saves cost up to 80 per cent. She said it also provides a conducive teaching/learning environment, as it turns any classroom/space into a science laboratory by simply rolling in the bench.
“With over 6,000 science products available on the platform, the MSC can be customised and configured according to the requirement of any grade level.”
Acha-Ukamba explained that “it has workstations for demonstration, providing students the opportunity to perform experiments by themselves. It is mobile, so saves cost and converts even the dining hall into a laboratory. The MSC is a cheap innovative way to teach large number of students high-quality science education and in an interactive manner.”
She said the company ensures that the equipment is provided with experimental worksheets mapped to the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) curriculum, ICT-based learning resources, simulation softwares, among others.
Asked why she decided to intervene in science education, she said: “Having graduated from a Nigerian secondary school myself, I experienced first-hand the inadequate state of our laboratories and the creatively stifling environment in which science is taught. Unfortunately, nothing has changed much since the late nineties, yet there is a constant call for the creative juices of young Nigerian scientists- How?
“According to Benjamin Franklin, an investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. This is so because education still remains the most powerful weapon with which we can change the world. If education is to be a world-changing tool, there is the need to deliver fully functional education facilities that can truly deliver aspirations and innovation.”
The director added: “If we continue in our current ‘garbage in garbage out’ approach, we will get the output that we have fed our children with and may not be able to break free from the doldrums of being a developing nation.
“Developed nations have discovered this and proceeded to set high standards to be attained, these are standards that we constantly admire and spend huge sums of money to ensure that our children enjoy in sending them abroad. You find Nigerians everywhere in the world studying, even war torn zones, it is not impossible to attain these standards here, in our own country.”
On how the equipment will arouse students’ interest in the sciences, she said: “To keep the interest levels high and groom other interests, topics must be taught with vivid illustrations and experimental materials. Otherwise complex topics must be broken down to everyday events that these students can very easily relate with, the students must also be given the opportunity to try these experiments on their own. The mobile science cart provides all of these.”
She said the equipment is fairly new across the world, as it started out in the UK about four years ago.