By Chinecherem Efobi
A couple of weeks ago, students of St John's College Alor in Anambra state notched up the bronze prize in an international competition in Tunisia. It is yet another evidence of what extentAnambra school children can go when given the good platform by the government and private sector. SCHOOL RUN celebrates those living icons, the Catholic Church that owns and runs the school, the school management, as well as the government of Anambra state both past and present for this collective success. ABS RADIOTV did a wonderful commentary on this achievement. School Run acknowledges ABS as it runs the commentary verbatim. Enjoy!
“History repeated itself last week when news filtered in again that four boys from the prestigious Saint John's Science and Technical College, Alor in Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State have won the Bronze Medal at the International Festival of Engineering, Science and Technology.
The 9-day festival, which took place in Monastir, Tunisia from twenty first to twenty-ninth March this year, was organized for students, aged between fourteen and twenty-four from over thirty-one countries and featured a scientific competition in different areas, aimed at developing the innovative skills of young scientists and encouraging them to apply their imagination and creativity in solving problems in their environment.
To clinch the Bronze Medal, Ugwuishi Meshack Ogonna, Chuka-Umeora Onyedika Anthony, Nwachukwu Chukwualuka Daniel and Machi Chukwuagozie Dominic squared up to a stiff challenge from technologically advanced countries like Canada, Italy, South Korea, Turkey, China, Sweden, Ukraine, Malaysia, Brazil, Bosnia, Indonesia, Tunisia, South Africa etcetera.
According to the School Manager of Saint John's Science and Technical College, Alor, Reverend Father Dr Francis Unaegbu, who led them to the competition and the Principal of the School, Samuel Otuba, the Bronze Boys of Anambra achieved their remarkable feat with a device they called the Adaptable Alternative Power Supply for Sub-Saharan Africa. The device is an electric inverter with a solar panel that enables it to absorb energy from the sun, warehouse the energy in inverter and subsequently distribute it in households and offices as the case may be.
Notably, the exploits of the Bronze Boys came barely seven months after Anambra State put Nigeria on top of the technology map of the world following a global contest in which students of Regina Pacis Model Secondary School, Onitsha represented Nigeria and Africa in the competition, held at Silicon Valley, San Francisco, USA and won the coveted Gold Medal. The stellar girls equally defeated other contestants from supposedly more technologically-advanced countries, notably host nation, USA, China, Spain, Turkey and Uzbekistan. The golden girls are: Adaeze Onuigbo, Nwabuaku Osai, Promise Nnalue, Jessica Osita, Vivian Okoye and Miracle Igboka.
Anambra has, in recent times, been excelling in various competitions. Loretto Special Science School, Adazi, for instance, last year, won the first prize in the Senior Secondary School category of an intensive assessment of schools throughout Nigeria, while Queen of the Rosary Secondary School, Onitsha took the first position in the Junior Secondary School category.
Ave Sancta Maria School, also in Onitsha, made the best result among primary schools, and Clement Okodo from Abatete in Idemili North Local Government Area was judged the best primary school teacher in Nigeria. In another heroic vein, Miss Tochukwu Anyigbo from Ihiala, who is studying in Lagos, participated in last year's International Artificial Intelligence Competition in Mexico, courtesy of Governor Willie Obiano, and took the second position.A teacher in another school in the state won the previous year the award of the Best Teacher in a nationwide competition sponsored by Nigerian Breweries.
Saint John's Science and Technology College Alor is a public mission school which has benefitted immensely from the intense focus of the Anambra State Government under Governor Willie Obiano on education, himself was the winner of the John F. Kennedy Memorial essay Competition, organized by the American Embassy in 1974 when he was a student of the Christ the King College, (CKC), Onitsha.
Remarkably, Anambra is the only state in Nigeria where teachers generally earn higher than civil servants. Science, English and Igbo teachers receive an additional 10% of their salaries because these subjects are considered key.
Those who teach in hard-to-reach places are paid an additional 20%. In other words, a science or English or Igbo teacher in a hard-to-reach place earns not just his or her monthly salary like the civil servants but an extra 40%.
Governor Obiano pays great attention to both basic and higher education. Thus, the excellent results that the state has been recording in the educational sector are as a result of the huge investments made by the Obiano administration in education. Again, the government's partnership with the church is working very well. It has imbued in the students that global competitiveness and a strong belief in themselves are very important.
Umu akwukwo Anambra believe that nothing is impossible. They are taught the shared values of the state; that they must be the best in all they do. It is indeed an uplifting epoch in educational accomplishment in Anambra State under Governor Willie Obiano, Akpokuedike Global.
To God be the glory.”