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US supports DNA training for Enugu students, teachers

Enugu students and teachers after the training

The United States Consulate in Nigeria has supported the DNA training of 160 secondary school students and 40 teachers across Enugu State.

According to a statement on Thursday by the Consulate’s Information Specialist, Adejumobi Adegbite, the students and teachers attended the training at the DNA Learning Center hosted at the Godfrey Okoye University in Enugu for over five months.

“Participants were exposed to the newest ideas, discoveries and technologies in biology and life sciences that includes sample collection and metadata annotation, DNA extraction and isolation, bioinformatics and data analysis in a collaborative, hands-on, and practical learning environment,” the statement partly read.

The statement was titled, ‘U.S. Consulate Supports DNA Lab Center to Introduce 160 Students, 40 Teachers on Molecular Biology Techniques’.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the programme, US Consulate Public Affairs Officer, Stephen Ibelli, said it was imperative for young students especially girls to have access to mentors from a range of technical fields who can help them gain skills and boost their confidence to consider higher education and careers in STEM.

He said, “The Back To Science Initiative is one of the U.S. government’s efforts to support the next generation in building their capacity in STEM fields, using inquiry-based learning and hands-on laboratory techniques.

“STEM education is the key foundation for any country’s economic success, and the U.S. Mission Nigeria is excited to support this initiative that serves as an inspiration for young people to consider STEM subjects in their future careers in order to continue to build technical capacity in Nigeria.”

Coordinator of The Back to Science Initiative and Assistant Director of Research & Training at the DNA Learning Center, Michael Okoro, said the training provided an opportunity for underserved students and educators to be trained in practical molecular biology and laboratory techniques.

“Interestingly, participants are already making informed choices on their future career fields and seeking further guidance from the staff of the DNA Learning Center Nigeria,” he added.

The Consulate had awarded a grant to the Centre at the university to support efforts to promote a hands-on approach to STEM educational delivery in Nigeria.

DNA testing has become popular in Nigeria of late with growing paternity fraud.

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