Michael Onwuka, Enugu
The United States Consulate says it has trained no fewer than 160 secondary school students in Enugu in DNA barcoding.
The Public Affairs Officer of the consulate, Mr. Steven Ibeli, disclosed this on Thursday in Enugu during the closing ceremony of the Back-to-Science Initiative of Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu.
Ibeli said that the training was part of the United States Consulate’s programmes to support the development of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), researches in Nigeria.
DNA barcoding is a system for species identification focused on the use of a short, standardised genetic region acting as a barcode.
Ibeli said that the programme was implemented by the DNA Learning Center, Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu.
“We are here to celebrate a milestone in Enugu, which is part of the US policy of promoting STEM in Nigeria.
“We funded the DNA laboratory with Goofrey Okoye University to bring practical science education training to Enugu through the study of DNA.
“This is because we do not want the students to have only theoretical knowledge but real practical knowledge.
“No fewer than 160 secondary school students and 42 teachers benefited from this training. The teachers will in turn train other students,” he said.
According to him, Nigeria will have a better and balanced scientific future with advancement in science and the training of the youth in STEM.
He described the Back-to-Science Initiative as a STEM research capacity building and hands-on laboratory workshop.
Ibeli said that the training focused on investigating pertinent questions of biodiversity and conservation through specific molecular biology laboratory techniques.
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor, Godfrey Okoye University, Professor Christian Anieke, described the programme as the first of its kind in Nigeria.
Anieke said that the project was designed to identify eight schools in Enugu and empower their students and teachers with practical knowledge.
“We believe that theory must be tested in practical activities as we believe in practical sessions of all we are doing here,” he said.
The Vice Chancellor urged the US Consulates to extend the programme to other states in Nigeria in order to train more Nigerians in the laboratory procedure.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of awards to participating schools.