Twelve Nigerian students have been selected for participation at the 7th International Science Olympiad, which opens today in Abuja.
Nigeria is hosting about 31 other nations participating in this contest, said Mohammed Abubakar, minister of science and technology, while briefing journalists yesterday in Abuja.
He said the Nigerian participants were selected after state level competition, which produced state champions.
“The state champions participated in a national competition from where we selected 20 for training,” he said.
“These brilliant young scientists were camped for four and half months in total, over a two year period. The students were coached by eminent scientists and Science teachers. At the close of training, 12 were selected to participate in the 7th IJSO in two teams,” Mr. Abubakar said.
The International Junior Science Olympiad is a key member of the pack of 12 International Science Olympiads. It was established in 2004 for students not older than 15 years. Each country sends a team of up to six students and three team leaders. It consists a theoretical test and experimental examination. Knowledge, understanding, and skills in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology are tested.
The inaugural edition of the programme held in Indonesia in 2004 while Brazil, Taiwan, South Korea, and Azbaijan are among the countries that have hosted the event.
Mr. Abubakar said the competition is coming to the African continent for the first time and is being hosted by Nigeria, and 31 countries are participating in this year’s exercise.
He said hosting the event will have tremendous impact on the nation’s development of the science and technology sector.
“One of such benefits is early identification of exceptional talents in Science that can be nutured to be future nobel prize winners and top-rate scientists who will contribute to driving Nigeria’s economy in our march to realising vision20-2020.
“Our nation has been facing acute shortage of scientists and engineers, so any programme that gives encouragement in these fields is desirable and provides benefits to students and the nation. It will lead to an improvement in the quality of Mathematics and Science education, re-ignite students enthusiasm in science subjects, and foster students’ creativity, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills.
The competition will be interspersed with guided tours, cultural events, inter-regional Science debate and quiz competitions, and special lectures by eminent scientists. The winners will be awarded prizes on December 10.