Why I am promoting Biology in schools —Shodipo

As the director of Cell Is Life Initiative, what is the secret behind it?

CELL IS LIFE is a social initiative that started two years ago, solely to promote the interest of secondary school students in Biology. Our goal is to promote stem education in Nigeria. It is actually a science-based initiative for secondary schools.

No doubt, Biology is one of the subjects that both science and non-science students find difficult, and as an academic focused initiative, we make it possible by providing the students with better simplified academic materials, as well as additional talks and seminars,to better get them acquainted with the subjects thereby ensuring their success in WASSCE, NECO, UTME and other exams. In supporting and encouraging the culture of excellent scholarship at the secondary school levels, we give scholarship and educational items to deserving and indigent students, in order to discourage dropout rates and generally make students’ academic sojourn easier and fun.


What motivated you to initiate Cell is Life?

Well, since Cell is Life started and from my observations, Biology is one of the important subjects and from the students that have graduated from secondary school, the fundamental Biology that they studied in school is the only opportunity they had to truly know what makes them human, relationship in their environment and the likes. Recently, Biology is optional in school and most students are happy about it but the truth is that they don’t know what they are missing. Although, Biology is a complex, bulky subject, it’s a necessary subject that tells us about ourselves. If Biology continues to be optional, the upcoming generations will do things anyhow and be ignorant of things in their environment.


What has been Cell is Life’s achievement so far?

The initiative has done two editions successfully and achieved a lot. Our aim is to promote the interest of secondary school students in the sciences through competitions, regular seminars, talks and giving educational aids to students. It has created an atmosphere where the students can learn, re-learn and unlearn key topics in their fundamental Biology, it is to create stronger bond and foster educative interaction amongst students, boost the morale of the students and also give every student the opportunity to prove themselves worthy academically and lots more.

During the first and second editions, quiz competitions were  organised in Biology amongst secondary school students. Also, talks, seminars and conferences were organised to educate and enlighten both teachers and students on  Biology, while we employed professional examiners to give tips on how to ensure better students’ outputs in their various examinations. In addition to this, we also provided mentorship and tailored help for select students facing challenges in understanding the subject. We have done the first and second editions; we are preparing for the third edition before this year runs out.


What mode of operation will the third edition align with?

To keep the flag flying and the impact growing, the initiative has decided to expand bigger and better in the third edition of the Interschool Biology Competition that will feature 70 prominent secondary schools across Ibadan, Oyo State and Abeokuta, Ogun State.

The competition is designed to help us further achieve our vision to be a foremost initiative dedicated to the promotion and advancement of science education in Nigerian schools.

The competition will be divided into phases and will hold on October 11th and November 15th by 10am at different venues, Zoology Department Lecture Theater, University of Ibadan, Ibadan and at a major lecture theater in Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.

The prizes goes thus, the first 20 representatives will be given medals and different educational items, about five hundred thousand  naira is for the first, second and third positions. However, scholarship offer from a prominent private university in Nigeria will be given to the best overall student.


As an educationist, what does it mean to be educated?

To be educated means to be trained in a field. Education is a continuous thing. As my lecturer used to say,  a truly educated person is someone that knows something about everything. One has to keep learning and ask questions to get answers.