–      As Eze Uzegbu, Prof Ukwuoma, Others Stress Importance Of Science Education

The permanent site of Assumpta Science Center, Ofekata (ASCO) Owerri, was agog with activities on Saturday, September, 9, 2023 as the traditional ruler of Ofekata autonomous community in Mbaitoli Local Government Area of Imo State, His Royal Highness, Eze Engr Marcel Uzegbu, a member of Assumta Scientific Institute, members of his cabinet, the entire community, members and staff of ASCO converged there to celebrate the grand finale of the 2 weeks hand on STEM holiday lecture that was designed to widen the scope, impact Scientific knowledge and stimulate the thought pattern of science teachers, graduates and students in the state for improved performance.

The epoch making occasion was also used to appreciate Dr Eddie Neal, an American Mathematician and member of the American Scientific Institute Prof Ikechukwu Ukwuoma of the Federal University of Technology, FUTO, Owerri and other resource persons who volunteered their time and energy to teach participants all through the duration of the two week lecture that was free of charge.

Speaking at the occasion, the traditional ruler of the host community, Eze Marcel Uzegbu, a California, United States of America Certified Civil Engineer commended the resource persons, especially Dr Neal and Prof Ukwuoma for their selfless services and commitment to the ideals of ASCO as encapsulated in its slogan which is “Science to your door step”.

He commended the initiators of ASCO for their vision, adding that, “the ASCO Initiative continued now by Pope Francis, who in 2016 at the Vatican blessed the foundation stone for the buildings of the ASCO science center, and has continued to support the Initiative, was launched by the Pontificate of his predecessor late Pope Benedict XVI as an international Initiative of cooperation with Africa in the field, under the auspices of then Pontifical Council for Culture. The idea for the Initiative was adopted from the Doctoral work of a patriotic son of Ofekata, Orodo, Mbaitoli LGA of Imo State, Rev. Fr. Tobechi Anyadike, who later was named by the Vatican, Director of the ASCO Initiative and the 1st University Chaplain Responsible for Africa in Rome. Various organs of the Vatican, including volunteer students, lecturers as well as institutions and individuals from various parts of the world, have contributed to the development of the laudable project by the Church for the benefit of our people, and sustainable development in general’’

He thanked his people for their support and hospitality to their guests and also prayed for divine wisdom and enablement for the sustenance of its noble objectives.

Also speaking, Prof Ikechukwu Ukwuoma who disclosed that though he hails from Orlu LGA, he holds the Chieftaincy title of “Okammuta I of Ofekata said, “to understand how the world around us works, the essence of science education must come into play. Put succinctly, you cannot understand the scientific processes involved in the world’s dynamism without the use of scientific knowledge and understanding. Science governs the universe and science is purely a way of life which is being discovered and improved periodically for effective results/outcome.

The import of science education in Nigeria and Africa in general cannot be quantified as it allows for an understanding of scientific processes and makes it possible to apply evidence-based knowledge across the range of issues that require individual and collective actions like the Covid-19 issues, climate change and other life challenging occurrences.

STEM education integrates skills with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, thereby preparing the young ones for the workforce of the 21st century, and for them to also be useful in emerging society (i.e. being projective). Therefore in STEM education; we deliberately prepare the young people, who will become Scientists, Technologists, Engineers, Medics and Mathematicians of the future, laying much emphasis on the skills inherent in them.

ASCO remains one of such initiatives that represent the educational wisdom, commitment and efforts of the Church with renewed effectiveness, which was established with the aim of promoting and participating in the education of the people, in order to extract, nurture, disseminate and develop among them, scientific and technological rationality and mentality”.

The highpoint of the event was the conferment of the Chieftaincy title of Ezi Enyi Ofekata on the highly elated Dr Eddle Neal in appreciation of his visit.

Dr Mrs Roseline Okorie, a retired School Principal and member of ASCO, in her vote of thanks appreciated the efforts and sacrifice of Dr Neal, Prof Ukwuoma and His Royal Highness, Eze Engr Uzegbu who he described as a digital traditional ruler who is passionately committed to the socio-economic development of his community.

She commended them for their efforts towards impacting indelible knowledge that will transform the lives of the young ones and prayed that God rewards them bountifully.

Several dance groups comprising men and women of the community added colour to the event.