….Innovatively executes PEARLs Quiz amid COVID-19 pandemic
The leading Nigerian Independent energy company, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc (SEPLAT) in partnership with its Joint Venture (JV) partner, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) has just concluded one of its distinguished educational, social programme for its host states of Edo and Delta States. The SEPLAT PEARLs Quiz programme is a unique CSR initiative of SEPLAT aimed at promoting and rewarding academic excellence while raising the quality of education of secondary school students in these states of SEPLAT’s operational areas.
This year’s programme commenced over six months ago when a total of 574 schools started vying to reach the much-coveted final stage of the competition. After rounds of rigorous and challenging stages of the competition, four schools emerged and advanced to the last step. St. Michael College, Benin City, Edo State and Mc Nell Academy Secondary School, Sapele, Delta State, to compete for the first and second place trophies and St. John’s Academy, Oleh, Delta State and Gloryland Secondary School, Igarra, Edo State, to vie for the third place.
At the Imaguero College Hall in Benin City filled with excited students and dignitaries from different apparatus of the government of both states and select community leaders, the four schools held the audience spellbound with their exhilarating performance. St. Michael College, Benin City, Edo State, emerged the overall winner of the competition; while Mc Nell Academy Secondary School, Sapele, Delta State and Gloryland Secondary School, Igarra, Edo State, emerged as second and third runners-up, respectively.
The thrilled schools and students went home with exciting prizes with the first prize school winning N7million project-based cash and N100,000 scholarship grant to the three students that represented the school. The 2nd prize - N3million project-based cash and N75,000 scholarship grant to the three winning students. The 3rd prize- N1million project-based cash and N50,000 scholarship grant to the three winning students. Also, teachers of all schools that qualified for the competition stage got attractive prizes.
Seplat commenced this highly commendable educational programme, the PEARLs Quiz since 2012. Whilst delivering the opening remarks of the SEPLAT CEO, Roger Brown, Dr. Chioma Nwachuku, the General Manager of External Affairs and Communications stated that the company was happy to note that through this programme 45,140 students have been positively impacted by this programme. Likewise, many schools have benefited with a boost to their infrastructure as many projects which include the following have been undertaken: language laboratory, three roofing projects, block-of-classrooms, interlocking stones for entire school premises designed to stave off erosion, five computer laboratories deployed in different schools and four brand new school buses. Mr. Brown added: “This programme rekindles the spirit of academic excellence and healthy competition in our youths by motivating, encouraging and rewarding the scholarship spirit in them as they inculcate the principles of teamwork and hard work.”
Also commenting, the General Manager, External Affairs and Communications at SEPLAT, Dr. Chioma Nwachuku, said promoting educational excellence remains a cardinal objective to SEPLAT hence the various educational programmes in its host communities. She added that the outcome over the years had shown the need to encourage the students to continue their display of brilliance, intelligence and talents. Dr. Nwachuku commended the schools and students that participated in this year’s quiz; despite the prevailing pandemic, noting that the turnout showed the resilience and can-do spirit for which the SEPLAT PEARLs Quiz participants are known for. She highlighted that “In deploying the programme this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to become innovative and had all the schools write the qualification test online with Seplat providing data for all. Five hundred and seventy-four (574) schools took the test, and 104 (52 from both states) progressed to the next round”.
The PEARLs Quiz programme aims to rekindle the spirit of healthy competition in youths by motivating, encouraging and rewarding the ethos of scholarship while providing them the right platform to prepare for their examinations. Impressively, little wonder that students in Delta and Edo States have maintained very high pass rates in external examinations such as the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC).
SEPLAT PEARLs Quiz addresses Sustainability Development Goal 4 by ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education for both public and private schools in Edo and Delta States, thus promoting lifelong learning opportunities for the teeming youth population.
The NPDC official, Mr. Efifia Chu, Deputy Manager, SEPLAT JV, in attendance expressed gratitude to all participants for taking advantage of the SEPLAT PEARLs Quiz which promotes a critical Sustainable Development Goal and promotes healthy competition among students.
Also speaking at the event, many representatives of government thanked Seplat for instituting and sustaining the competition and praised the management and staff of SEPLAT for their consistency in organizing the PEARLs Quiz Competition for an uninterrupted 9-year stretch.”
SEPLAT PEARLs Quiz challenge started in 2012 out of the determination of the company and its JV partner to inspire excellence in secondary school children in public and private schools in their host states. The company has through the PEARLs Quiz initiative provided scholarships to 63 students, implemented projects valued at over N30million in more than eight schools, given out four brand new 16-seater buses as well as consolation prizes to the last seven schools every year since inception.
The company is delighted with the numerous benefits of this programme and remains committed to holding this programme annually.