By Richard Thomas
The Initiator, CELL is LIFE, Oluwafunmilayo Bashirat Shodipo, is a young, urbane and cerebral lady. The idea of promoting Cell Biology in schools struck her when she was a national youth corps member serving in Warri, Delta State. Since then, Shodipo from Ogun State has not looked back.
Shodipo told WESTERN POST in an interview that governments and stakeholders in the nation’s education sector should invest and put necessary measures in place to encourage, promote and boost the learning ability of students in the country particularly on the subject-Cell Biology.
According to her, students need to be encouraged to develop interest in learning the fundamentals in their subjects in simplified ways.
Speaking on her initiative, CELL is LIFE, Shodipo said her quest to help and encourage students in Biology, which some students find difficult to understand informed her decision to come up with the initiative.
She said: “Biology is no doubt one of the subjects both science and non-science students find difficult. The subject can also be made easy if given proper attention.
“The students will do well if they are fortunate enough to find teachers who are ready to simplify the difficult concepts for them.”
With focus on inter-school Biology competition, quiz, seminars, etc for senior secondary school students in the country, Shodipo said students can develop more interest and do better in Biology and other subjects.
Such programmes were parts of her efforts to promote the interest of secondary school students in the subject and to create an atmosphere where they can learn, re-learn and unlearn key topics in their fundamental Biology.
“CELL is LIFE is a social initiative of Supreme Pearls Corporation Services which was started in 2017 to promote the interest of secondary school students in Biology Science and to create an atmosphere where students can learn,” she said.
“With this, we have the long term plan of instilling in students the passion to pursue science-related career in future, thereby promoting STEM education in the country.
“As an academic-focused initiative, we make this possible by providing the students with better simplified academic materials as well as additional talks and seminars to better get them acquainted with the subject thereby ensuring their success in WASCE, WAEC, NECO, UTME and others.”
Shodipo, a graduate of Zoology from the University of Ibadan, said the first edition of the competition was organized on March 9, 2018 in Hussey College Warri, Delta State as a community project by her during the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme in the 2017/2018 service year, adding that the second edition witnessed the participation of 34 schools from private and public schools within Ibadan, Oyo State capital.
“The theme for the quiz competition was CELL is LIFE in which 12 state secondary schools from Warri South participated in the competition. The schools that emerged first, second and third were given awards and cash prizes.”
According to her, the programme is aimed at being the foremost initiative dedicated to the promotion and advancement of science education in Nigeria schools.
Speaking on the third edition of the programme billed to hold in October 2019, Shodipo disclosed that the Inter-school Biology competition will feature 70 prominent secondary schools across Ibadan in Oyo State and Abeokuta, Ogun State, adding that the competition is designed to help further achieve the vision to be a foremost initiative dedicated to the promotion and advancement of science education in Nigerian schools.
According to her, the programme will hold at the Zoology Department Lecture Theatre, University of Ibadan, a good Lecture Theatre at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta and other identified venues for the competition.
“The first stage of the competition will come up on October 11 while the final stage will take place on November 15, 2019. Representatives of the first 20 schools from the examination will be given medals and different items like books, pens, school bags while the first overall best student will be given a scholarship offer from a prominent private university in Nigeria”.