By Ikeddy ISIGUZO
NATIONAL Mathematical Centre, Abuja, in the serene settings of Sheda, Kwali, on the outskirts of the city, came alive on Thursday, 28 January 2021, as the 2019/2020 National Olympiad Awards ceremony held, all Covid-19 protocols observed. TEDA, a school in similar quiet settings in Eke-Owerri, Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State, was in the centre of the awards with its dominance of Junior Science.
Master Emefiena Lifted Udoka of Total Education Development Academy, TEDA, won the first prize in Junior Science while the award of the Best Girl in Junior Science went to Miss Ikechi Favour Chinaza also of TEDA, who in addition was the third best, overall, in Junior Science.
“The awards mean a lot for TEDA. They are rewards of the efforts of the students, teachers, and management of the school,” said Lawrence Ogbonnaya, TEDA’s Vice-Principal who accompanied the students to the event. The National Mathematical Centre invited us to the competition in 2018. We knew we were not ready but one year of assiduous preparations have placed us on the global map.”
Schools from across Nigeria entered hundreds of students for the contests. Winners emerge after three rounds of contests, with contestants eliminated at each round. The winning students and families were beamed with the joy that flowed from their successes.
Wisdom Omogbade of Ambassador’s College in Ogun State was the Mathematics Queen, in addition to her school winning the Mathematics award. NITC, Yobe swept nine of the top 10 places in Junior Informatics. Other schools from Kogi, Rivers, Enugu, Ondo, and Ogun States were in the final.
An elated Ogbonnaya explained TEDA’s performance. “Ultra-modern science laboratories, workshops for auto-mechanics, metal work, wood work, electrical installation and maintenance are accessible to our students from their first year. The students study basic Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Economics, and Further Mathematics from their junior secondary school. By the senior school, they are used to scientific concepts and to an extent, their applications,” he said of the school founded in 2013.
TEDA’s academic prowess was also certified in the in 2019/2020 Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations where the school went beyond 100 per cent success in the number of students it presented. Five TEDA students – Ogwubie Chikemzi Praise, Nwozuzu Confidence Chinaza, Ekperechukwu Olivia Ifeoma, Polycarp Kelly Olise, and Chukwuemeka Goodness – scored straight As in the examination.
Preparations that produce these results lean on TEDA’s philosophy of education that is actually total, and provisions for students to learn at their pace. “We have Olympiad classes for exceptional students who average 90 per cent or above. All students are part of normal classes where quality teaching and learning are the norm. Our special classes are for later bloomers. Students in these classes get extra attention and time. We manage their challenges and lift them to above 60 per cent,” Ogbonnaya said. The teacher-student ratio, he added, was 1:25.
The future appears bright for TEDA as the first round results of the 2020/2021 results of the National Mathematical Centre for Olympiad indicated. TEDA students are 15 out of 29 qualifiers in Biology from Abia State; 8 0f 25 in Senior Mathematics, and 21 of 59 in Junior Science. There are three more rounds including the final.
Created in 1988 by President Ibrahim Babangida, the Mathematical Centre through a series of programmes promote Mathematics and the Sciences.