Dambai College of Education (DACE) in collaboration with the American Chemical Society (ACS), celebrated her maiden Chemistry Festival. The event was organized by the Science Department of the College as a result of a grant they had won from the American Chemical Society (ACS). The aim of the program was to educate selected students from both basic schools and senior high schools in the Krachi-East Municipality on the value of chemistry in their everyday lives. The one-day Chemistry Festival which took place on Saturday, 17th March, 2023, was on the theme: Chemistry Around Us: Relevance to Our Lives.

Representatives from selected basic schools and senior high schools, together with their teachers from the Krachi-East Municipality were present at the festival. Pupils from fourteen Junior High Schools (JHS) and Science students from the two (2) Senior High Schools in the Krachi-East Municipality (i.e. Oti Senior High Technical School and Yabram Community Senior High School) were the target for the festival. The participants were taken through various activities that relate to familiar things around them that can be considered as chemistry. Such activities were derived from chemistry topics such as Personal Hygiene, Warning/Safety signs for identification and interpretation of Hazardous Activities; Testing of State of Matter; Principles behind the Periodic Table; Separation of Mixtures; The Nature of Acidity and Basicity of some food substances in the environment, and Reaction of Substances in our environment. These activities were facilitated by some Tutors from the Science Department of the College; Mr. Robert Kwame Kpaliba, Mr. Godwin Atsitsogbui, Mr. Abdul-Rahim and Mr. Issaka Banse, and a guest female Chemistry teacher from Yabram Community Senior High School, Ms. Churchlife Agava Agbetum.

On behalf of the Head of Science Department of the College, Mr. Robert Kwame Kpaliba thanked the American Chemical Society for their support and assistance for the department in organizing such a festival for the first time in the history of the College. He emphasized the value of Science Education; particularly, Chemistry in everyday life of each human being. He however lamented about the low enrolment of Science, at the Senior High School level within the municipality, making reference to the 2023 admission data available from the only two Senior High Schools in Dambai, the regional capital of Oti Region. He indicated that this year, no student officially chose to read Science in Yabram Community Senior High School and only four (4) students chose to read Science in the Oti Senior High Technical School in the computerized school selection and placement process. He further encouraged the students that Science is not a difficult subject as they have always perceived. He therefore, encouraged the JHS pupils to aspire to read Science at the Senior High School level. Mr. Robert Kwame Kpaliba again used the occasion to inform the participants that there is a Resource Centre in Dambai College of Education, with a well-resourced library for the use of both teachers and students within the Krachi-East Municipality and the Oti Region. The Resource Centre was a keenly contested project of government which the College has won out of the forty-six (46) Colleges of Education that contested for the project in the country.

Mr. Robert Kpaliba, Science Tutor

Dr. Frank Awuah, the Vice Principal of the College, gave a welcome address on behalf of the Principal of the College, Dr. (Mrs.) Benedicta Awusi Atiku. In his speech, Dr. Frank Awuah remarked that since Science is the energy that drives every country, the festival was meant to introduce the concept of chemistry in particular to the young people who would eventually succeed the elderly. He added that if kids are raised with the right concepts and love for Science, particularly Chemistry, the ripple effect will be beneficial to the entire nation. He also lamented about the low enrolment of students at the Senior High School level in the catchment area. Again, on the sad issue of low enrolment of Junior High School students in Science programs in the Senior High Schools, he added that there is a great danger ahead for the area if not the entire region. He noted that if the situation is not curbed, the region would soon lack essential scientists such as medical doctors, nurses, science teachers among others. He concluded by challenging the Science Tutors of the College to take further steps to promote Science Education in the area by going to offer teaching assistance in the various basic schools; especially, within the Krachi-East Municipality. To him, the main aim of the festival being organized was for our kids to be introduced to Science as they encounter it every day while eating, cooking, and performing other basic activities; and when this continues, our children will not be afraid of Science or Chemistry anymore once they realize that they have been immersed in it since birth.

The master of ceremony, Mr. Godwin Atitsogbui, thanked all the participants at the event and expressed his hope that the American Chemical Society (ACS) will continue to collaborate with Dambai College of Education, that the festival will be held annually to impact students’ interest in Science. He was also confident that majority of the students who participated in this first edition of the festival will readily enroll in Science programs at the Senior High Schools in the coming year, and also further their studies in Science-related fields at the tertiary level of education.

SOURCE: DACE Editorial Board

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