By Victor Gotevbe
A few years ago, the Jet club programme was aired on network television which showcased several creations or inventions from several young people, but its sudden disappearance still remains a surprise to its numerous viewers when other countries are encouraging young people to discover careers in science and technology.
However, all hope is not lost as Nigeria’s own OladejiOluseye has been advancing the campaign for young people to explore the benefits of a career in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics. The result would be to ensure future economic growth, and ability to create new jobs. He shares his passion for science& technology with Saturday Youthful Vibes.
My upbringing has been very eventful, and has immensely inspired me to work very hard. I recall while I was in primary school, my parents told me : ‘’Come first in your class and be the first to drink seven up (7UP)”. Though I didn’t want to study, the dream of drinking 7Up would ginger me to study. I got to know early in life that there is always a reward for hard labour. I was born into the family of Mr&Mrs Abel Olalekan Oladeji.
I attended Christ Church School Mapo 2 and Olubadan High School both in Ibadan. My love for teaching and impacting lives motivated me to enroll for Teacher’s Grade II Training (NTI TC II By DLS) even while I was in High School. I became a subject of ridicule to many people who believed that the programmewas meant for adults and old people, they called me several names like ‘Small Teacher’, but I knew what I wanted and I went for it.
After my secondary school education, I moved to Federal University of Technology, Akure to study for a Diploma Programme in Science, Laboratory Technology. I also did a professional course: NISLT (Nigerian Institute of Science Laboratory Technologists)and I went to Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba,Akoko to study for Bachelor of Science degree in Geology.
Interest in Science and Technology
What really motivated me was the challenge I faced from my elder sister who never believed I could cope in science. I remember how I yelled at her that I will succeed in science. However, the journey was not that easy because of the fear of large science text books (smiles) they used to carry in science class. I later realized that what mattered most is the understanding of the content of the book.
Motivation to help young people
My motivation came from my inability to ‘pass WAEC examination’ until I sat for it seven (7) times because of English language. I recognized that I was very good in science subjects,but I lacked the ability to express my knowledge of some are as publicly as I had a fixation centered on ‘Scientists don’t need too much grammar’. Today, I have created a platform for you to explore and exploit the world of FAILURE.
As a Scientist, you cannot invent or create something without learning from your past mistakes. I believe that ‘failure is not a waste, but a raw material for a better tomorrow’. If a student built a table-fan, and he brought it for an exhibition but he saw another young boy like him that built a steam-boat, then his failure to come first in the exhibition will be a lesson for him to go the extra mile next time.
I also have passion for creativity, I love doing my things in a special way. I could remember the first time I taught during my service year at James Welch Grammar School, Emevor in Delta State. I was to teach the students the topic called ‘DENSITY’, so I had to look for a way of making the teaching full of fun; I went into the classroom with an egg and a cup full of water, so when I put the egg into the cup it sank.
So I kept adding salt to the water until the raw egg floated. It suddenly made me become a magician in the school (smile). The students were motivated to do research on what made the egg to float and that was when we started STEMS (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Simplified) Club in the school. One of the students was able to build a solar heater with ordinary umbrella. I later introduced it in 25 schools where I had about 150 students as members. My labour was actually rewarded when I was awarded the best corps member in Delta State during my service year, 2010 Batch ‘C’.
My position on young Nigerians who are embracing Science and Technology
I will forever be an advocate of science and technology education. There is no where scientists cannot function. I have seen a medical doctor who later went back to school to read law, and he was able to perform well but a lawyer will come back to tell the story if he decides to study medicine after his first degree.
The only advice I will give to young people is that, they should discover themselves if they can actually cope before they choose career in the field of STEM. Our government should also see reasons why science education should be taught in more practical terms than theoretically. Teachers should use what students SEE to stimulate what they THINK.
The Future of STEMS
Amidst the challenges that confront us, we maintain our focus as executing our initiative is capital intensive and there is a limit to what my personal money can do, so we are looking forward to partnering with both individuals and corporate bodies that will be ready to resuscitate the dying spirit of teaching and learning of science education in Nigeria.
Support has taken a new turn following the last event we organized in Oyo State that gained the sponsorship of various multinational companies like Zans Drink, Evans Publishers, University Press, Rashmed Publishers and so on. We still look forward to the very near future of scientific development in Nigeria and Africa in general.
STEMS has come to stay in Nigeria. After my NYSC programme, I decided to make it a non-governmental organization that will hunt for young talents in the field of STEM. Today, STEMS has discovered several creative youths across the country and the recent STEMS Talent Quest in Oyo State is an acid test of what STEMS stand for. We are currently working on a programme tagged “Mobile Science’ through which we teach pupils in various schools basic practicals in science.
YOUNG NIGERIANS MAKING THE DIFFERENCE
Students from various schools in Oyo State displaying their inventions at the recent STEMS talent hunt and award of excellence programme.
She is a student of Olubadan Junior High School 1, Aperin, Ibadan. She stood out amongst her mates to build a toy car. The car was able to move with the principle of Magnetism. She aspires to become an Engineer in the future.
He is a creative student from Patimo College International, Adesola, Ibadan. He is one of young Nigerians who aspire to become an engineer. He was one of the students who performed so well in STEMS talent hunt with his project, ‘Electric cooker’ he built the electric cooker with cheap and junk materials.
He is a student of Precious Model College Adekile, Ibadan who built and designed a table fan and he was able to tell the audience that, he will be motivated to do better if the opportunity is given to him to do so.
A student of Apel Model College Adesola who took his time to build an electric fan and he was able to explain the principles behind it.
An interesting young student of Periscope College, Adesola, Ibadan. She manufactured both body and hair cream. She advised the youths present at the meeting on how to imbibe creative mindset to profer solution to the problem of job opportunity in our society.