By Chimezie Godfrey
Seplat Energy Plc, a leading Nigerian independent energy company listed on both the Nigerian Exchange Limited and the London Stock Exchange, has kicked off the 3rd edition of its Seplat Teachers Empowerment Programme (STEP) in Benin City Edo State, empowering a total of 300 teachers from both Edo and Delta States.
The STEP initiative launched in 2022 seeks to promote teacher’s creative thinking, allow for higher student engagement, and offer a well-rounded education for recipients of the programme. The programme empowers teachers by providing them with resources to support their delivery of quality teaching in Seplat Energy’s host states, Edo and Delta State.
The official kick off of this year’s edition was preceded by a four-day residential workshop which provided leadership, self-improvement introduction to Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) training and its application to teaching.
This year, 905 teachers wrote the online qualifying test, and 300 teachers qualified from both states for the 4 day-long residential training. The training which was a huge success, will continue online for a further 3 months.
In her opening remarks, Seplat Energy’s Director, External Affairs and Sustainability, Dr. Chioma Nwachuku, represented by Joseph Ofili, Business Relations Manager, stated that Seplat Energy in conjunction with its JV partners, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Science and Technology, decided to embark on this initiative to empower teachers towards providing a better education platform for students who are the future leaders.
“The initiative is designed to foster creative thinking; problem solving abilities; teacher – student engagement and produce well rounded educated students” she said, adding that this year’s edition features the empowerment of 300 teachers from 90 qualifying schools across Edo and Delta States as well as Chief Inspectors of Education in the states and key personnel of the ministry of education to ensure an impactful delivery of the programme.
She further stated that the participant were split 75% public sector, 25% private sector, explaining that all participants had been issued electronic devices and internet data to continue the online training for the next 3 months.
Dr. Nwachuku noted that the success of the programme was largely attributed to the support received from the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Science and Technology as well as Seplat Energy’s JV partner- Nigerian Exploration and Production Ltd (NEPL) formally Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Ltd.
Responding to the opening remarks, the Edo State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Joan Osa Oviawe commended Seplat Energy for STEP Initiative which she branded as a transformative training programme. She also commended the quality and robustness of courses being offered and urged the teachers to share the learnings from the programme with their colleagues who were unable to be part of it. She also encouraged the teachers to ensure their schools and students benefit from the additional knowledge received from the STEP initiative.
Enumerating some of the immediate positive impacts of the STEP Initiative, Mrs. Oviawe stated that the commission will engage the STEP beneficiaries as Master Trainers to facilitate the planned digital learning training programme for Edo State teachers, being set up by the Edo State government under its Education reform programme- “Edo Best 2.0”
Mrs. Oviawe further reinstated the commitment of the Edo State Ministry of Education to continue the partnership with Seplat Energy and other agencies in delivering the transformative CSR initiative.
Also speaking at the event, the Delta State Commissioner for Secondary Education, Mrs. Rose Ezewu, represented by Mrs. Clementina Ojuma, Director of Schools Department, Delta State Ministry of Education, commended the efforts of Seplat Energy and NPDC “for the determination to continually uphold it corporate social responsibilities to its host states, which has sustained quality education in Edo and Delta States over time.”
She said: “You have been carefully selected for this training which is an uncommon opportunity for you to gain knowledge and become equipped with skills and tools in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, generally known as STEAM”. She noted that Delta State had witnessed an increase in students participation in local and national Science and Technology competitions since the launch of the STEP initiative whilst encouraging the teachers to ensure that their schools and students benefit from their learnings.
Over the last two editions, Seplat Energy has empowered 363 persons (inclusive of 49 Chief Inspectors of Education). The Ministry of Education of both Delta and Edo States are very excited by the programme because of the multiplier effect it had had and will continue to have in secondary education. Both states, therefore, have continued to commend Seplat Energy for the feat whilst indicating their unwavering support for the programme.