The GNPC Foundation has revealed that the Western Region has benefited much from Ghana’s oil industry than any other region, and that it will be unfair, on anybody’s part, to claim that the region has been left unattended in terms of benefits of the oil find.
The Foundation says it is aware that many of its partners in the industry have implemented several social interventions aimed at developing communities in the Western region.
In an exclusive interview with Skyy News, Dr. Patrick Kwaku Ofori, the Chief Operations Officer (COO) of the GNPC Foundation, said a lot of things have been done for the residents of the region, adding that many things are still being done to ensure that the Region benefits from the oil find.
“That will be such an unfair comment to make because I’m aware of what our partners have done; all the various interventions in terms of livelihood support programs that Tullow has enrolled, the OCTP project that has allowed ENI to also help. GNPC has also given over 350 scholarships to people from the Western Region to study in Ghanaian universities, not to talk about the fact that out of over thousand scholarships, we have decided that a third must come to the Western Region.
According to him, the GNPC Foundation has also invested over two million dollars ($2million) into the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) to put up a Petroleum Engineering course, explaining that “it is one of the universities that are popular for most communities in the region because I think the cost of going there is cheaper than going to universities in other regions. Our borehole, environment and sanitation project is still ongoing.”
The STEM Quiz
According to the GNPC Foundation, one of the ways it has adopted to help make the study of science, technology, engineering and Mathematics interesting to Ghanaians is to inculcate the love of these subjects in Ghanaian children at an early stage. As such, it implemented the STEM Quiz competition to help get the kids interested in these subjects. So far, twelve schools have qualified for the finals scheduled for Thursday, 5th July, 2018.
Dr. Patrick Kwaku Ofori explained that the STEM Quiz competition is one of the important ways to help train the human resource needed to handle Ghana’s oil and gas sector in the near future. According to him, building the interest of the youth of Ghana especially from the Primary and JHS level is the best way to approach the development of human resource for the industry.
He stated that the several components of the STEM Quiz will position these kids to be ready for the future in the field of Science and Technology. He explained that their focus on Mathematics and Science is based on the fact that the two subjects are needed in almost every field of endeavor.
“The main aim is to whip up enthusiasm and then also to motivate young guys to take careers in science, and to know that science is the way to go in the future. And as we stated on your show, it is easier to branch from science to the other courses but the reverse is difficult to attain. We are saying science not because we don’t think that the other courses or the other subjects are important but we’ve realized that as you progress, almost in all the other courses you are supposed to have some basics in science and mathematics to move on,” he told this reporter.
Dr. Ofori explained that the indigenes of the Western Region whose lives have been affected by the oil and gas industry must have their lives positively influenced by industry, adding that it is one of the many reasons why the STEM Quiz is being given all the priority attention it is getting from the Foundation.
He said the Foundation is doing so, so that they can compensate for the difficult lives of the people close to the oil find whose livelihoods have been affected. He said this is why the competition is geared towards ensuring that the children are given the needed help to be educated to the highest level.
“How are we going to create an alternative career path for their children? That’s how come we are coming up with these STEM competitions. We are hoping to train and follow them to make sure that maybe in ten years’ time, they should be having degrees in Engineering and Geology and other aspects, not necessarily to be working in Ghana’s oil and gas sector, but also to have a career irrespective of where they are working. Through that, these children can also say that through these interventions some years back, I was motivated to yearn for greater heights,” he stated.
Dr. Patrick Ofori, a former Lecturer of the University of Cape Coast, said the Foundation is not doing this just for the group of students but for others to also look up and be motivated to strive for excellence, since it is very difficult for some of these children to visit their district capitals, not to even think of visiting their regional capital; Sekondi-Takoradi.
He said “if you’ve gone to some of these communities to see the environments that the children study in, you would also want to provide for them, and to give them the hope that through education, their poverty can be alleviated and that of their immediate families, and they can also impact on their communities in the future.”
The GNPC Foundation revealed to Skyy News that twelve (12) schools have qualified for the finals that is scheduled for tomorrow in Takoradi; six (6) schools for the primary category and six (6) for the Junior High School category.
For the Primary category, the finalist schools include Bibiani AGBL, Golden Star, Abura RE, Fosukrom D/A, Navy Basic, and Torya D/A. The Junior High School category has schools such as Watico Demonstration, GREL Basic, Essiama Methodist, Juaboso D/A, Service Basic, and Enchico Demonstration.
Dr. Patrick Kwaku Ofori revealed that the STEM Quiz is not the only thing the Foundation is embarking upon to enhance the training of human resource for the oil and gas sector, but have also rolled out several other interventions that are all working at helping train Ghanaians for roles in the country’s oil and gas sector.
“We are doing that but we cannot throw all our eggs in one basket. We are also investing in the training of welders and other technical education and all that. We’ve also come out with interventions even in aid of secondary education, and at the top level, the university scholarships that we are giving.
“We have a faculty program that we are doing and the Professorial Chairs; we are giving four universities a million dollars each for the next four years. These are all interventions seeking to build interventions of even at the various universities so that they can support the larger numbers but we are looking at the situation,” he said.
Story by: Samuel Kojo Brace/Skyy News/Takoradi.