TOTAL E&P Nigeria empowers 1,000 teachersWritten by BEKEE ANYALEWECHI
For Primary and Junior Secondary Schools teachers in the Egi region of Rivers State, Monday, July 28 was a day they went back to the classrooms, not to teach but to be taught. Handy were resource personnel drawn from the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education. While Dr. Ugochukwu Agi, Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, at the University, who anchored the event discussed academics, and in the words of Professor T. N Agina-Obu, a resource person, and “how to fill the knowledge space”, sponsors, TOTAL Nigeria, spoke of its blossoming relationship with the oil and gas producing communities under the OML 58 catchment. In fact, TOTAL, which said the teacher-training program was “a demonstration of the NNPC/TEPNG Joint Venture commitment to support the development and growth of quality education in our host communities as well as its effort towards the Global Millennium Goals on Education, especially at the Primary and Secondary School levels”, however, vowed to monitor the performance of teachers and students, especially in the quality of academic results in public exams.
TOTAL, in pursuit of maximum impartation of the modules, introduced procedural innovations to create a closer learner-teacher rapport. In the words of Mr. Cyprian Ojum, the Deputy General Manager, Sustainable Development, the decision was to make the workshop highly interactive. In the past workshops, all participating teachers were lumped at a venue creating over-crowding as there were 1,000 of them. Mr. Ojum, who was represented by the Manager, Capacity Development, Mr. Samuel Izidor, observed that to achieve maximum value, the teachers got allotted into two schools. So, to break from the norm, TOTAL used two venues simultaneously, leaving the Primary Schools’ teachers hold theirs at Obite Civic Centre whereas teachers in the Junior Secondary Schools were at Government Secondary School, Akabuka, all in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government of Rivers State.
In his welcome speech, Mr. Ojum noted that the training, the 10th in series, had its topic, “Use of practical instructional teaching methods in lesson delivery in schools” well chosen, saying, “As this theme suggests, the focus would be on Practical Teaching Methodology, this is why the various class levels: Primary, UBE and Senior Secondary Teachers, have been given different days to make for effective delivery and management of the program.”
He continued: “This year's workshop is specially designed to build the capacity of teachers towards greater efficiency in the delivery of lessons in Science and core subject areas. The workshop will be highly interactive with emphasis on demonstrative teaching skills. Participants should therefore take advantage of the workshop to sharpen and improve on what they had known and practiced.
Giving further insight into what TOTAL has been doing in furtherance of its Corporate Social Responsibility, CRS, in its area of operation, Ojum disclosed that the company has
continued to sponsor on annual basis other educational development programs. “These programs include award of Scholarships at Post Primary, Post Secondary, Post Graduate Local & Post Graduate Foreign scholarship to qualified indigent students; the Catch Them Young program (a rural to urban secondary education scheme); Quiz Competitions and Guidance programs for Pupils/Students as well as NYSC Teachers Scheme to support community schools. Other CSR actions include building of schools and donation of laboratory equipments, school furniture and other teaching/learning aids.
TOTAL sent the same challenge of making the best use of the chance to participants at Obite and Akabuka. Mr. Izidor had first declared the Obite session open before proceeding to Akabuka.
At Obite, renowned academics gave punchy remarks all expressing the importance of the teacher and the nobility of the teaching profession. Mr. Izidor would not agree less. Prof. Anele Uzondu Wokocha, who mixed his comments with ululation and Marxian punches into the air, described teaching both as an Art and Science. He noted that combing the Art and Science of teaching makes teachers good, better and best on the job. Prof. Obu, another participant, who first saluted the audience in the rituals of the native Egi salutation, said that the space of the teacher was under threat, while challenging them to continue to mould the pupils under their care into rounded citizens.
Certificates of participation were awarded to the 2 TOTAL Managers, the Local Government Education Secretary and others who commended the oil giants for their commitments towards enhancing capacity building of teachers, and by implication, pupils and students. About 1,000 teachers drawn from Primary and Junior Secondary Schools in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni and neighbouring Emohua Local Government took part in the TOTAL/NNPC Joint Ventures Teachers’ Development Workshop 2014 training program.