14 min read

By Farouq A. Oduola

“We intend to make Government College Ibadan (GCI), Oyo State; the regional center for Space Science and Technology Learning in collaboration with the Old Boys’ Association”

Dr. Mofolusho Fagbeja, the team leader of African Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in English (ARCSSTE-E) stated this at the Space Science and Technology Education workshop and seminar that took place at the Government College in Ibadan, Oyo state on the 29th of Sept. 2021 organised to mark the 30th Graduation Anniversary Reunion of Government College Ibadan Old Boys Association (GCIOBA) Class of 85.

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The workshop and seminar was hosted by Government College Ibadan Old Boys Association (GCIOBA) of the 1985 Class Set in collaboration with African Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in English (ARCSSTE-E) Obafemi Awolowo University campus, Ile-Ife, Osun State for participants from GCI and neighboring schools to learn Spaced based Education.

The GCIOBA members present include the Chairman of the 85 Set, Yinka Thomas, Sola Ajala, Sholotan Rolayo, Olalawi Olaniyan, Biyi Olagbaju, Kiitan Fisher, Segun Idowu, Femi Sodeinde, Olubi Lanre, Adenrele Aderemi and Dr. Foluso Fagbeja amongst others.

GCI being the host school had students from invited neighboring schools in Ibadan. Some of the schools in attendance were Ibadan Grammar School, Our Lady of Apostles Girls Secondary School, I.M.G. Secondary School, Queen School, Saint Annes Girls High School, Methodist High School, I.C.A.S.T., Apata Community High School; Obaseeku High School, Eruwa amongst other schools.

ARCSSTE-E came with a team of six members from Obafemi Awolowo University which was led by Dr. Foluso Fagbeja, who also happens to be a member of the ’85 class set and one of the key facilitators of the project to GCI to educate current students as well as students from neighboring schools across the state. The team members are Dr. Annih Sammy, Eng. Mustafa Oloko-oba Mr Sunday Fatile, Mrs. Toyin Morakinyo and Mrs. Oluwatosin.

The goal of the seminar and workshop, according to Dr. Fagbeja, the ARCSSTE-E team leader, is to propagate Space Science and Technology to school children, administrators, policymakers, and the public in general, in order to raise awareness regarding the significance, relevance, and benefits of Space Science and Technology. Finally, it aims to encourage young people to pursue employment in areas related to space technology. He highlighted that a job in space is open to people of all ages and professions as long as they are healthy.

The workshop began with an opening remark from the current principal of the school, Mr. O. A. Adewale, who expressed his delight that GCI was hosting the seminar, he then welcomed all of the students present at the workshop, and acknowledged and thanked the GCIOBA ’85 set for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they brought to the school.

In his remarks, the set chairman and event host emphasised the importance of Space Science and Technology Education to students and the good impact it will have on their futures and the broader public at large, as well as the nation’s need for such progress. He also advised students to stay focused and not let the status of the nation affect their academics. “We want to encourage young children to think outside the box and use this school as a centre where students from all across the area can learn about space science and technology,” he said.

The seminar and workshop were divided into five sections, each of which focused on Space Science Technology and was attended by members of the ARCSSTE-E team.

Mr. Samuel Fatile, the first speaker, spoke about objects found in outer space. He began by defining outer space before discussing the distinct features of outer space, such as air, temperature, gravity, and the science behind it. He mentioned the planet, stars, galaxies, and asteroids as natural objects found in space, while also naming the satellite as an artificial object in space.

The second topic, Satellite and Rocketry, was presented by Dr Mustapha Olokooba, who explained how satellites and rockets work. He talked about the history of rockets after describing them and explaining how they work. He explained the differences between a space rocket and a space shuttle.

He mentioned natural and artificial satellites as two categories of satellites, as well as the various types of artificial satellites and their roles.

On the third topic, the participants were also educated on astronauts and space suits. Mrs. Toyin Morakinyo gives an explanation of what an astronaut is and what they wear. He discussed how a space suit works, the several varieties of space suits, and the materials used to make them.

Dr Annih Sammy, the fourth speaker, provided a comprehensive understanding of Robotics Education and the benefits of space scientific technology through a few demonstrations. He explains why robots are utilized in space and the fundamental components of robots. He also described how a robot is built, the differences between human and robotic sensors. According to the speaker, one of the benefits of space science and technology education is the formation of an enabling environment for scientific research and development.

The seminar’s last topic was a celebration of women in space. Sally Ride, Helen Sharman, Mae Jenison, Chiaki Mukai, and Liu Yang were among the ladies discussed, and the students learned about their significant achievements in various fields of space science and technology. The final speaker utilized that to encourage the young female participants in the gathering to always have faith in themselves and to begin working toward becoming the next big name in the realm of space women and related fields. 

Dr. Fagbeja spoke about the launch of Space Space and Technology Education, explaining that the goal is to build a regional hub where students from around can come together to learn more about space science and technology. He also mentioned that the GCIOBA and ARCSSTE-E are planning to establish a Space laboratory that will hold various space tools and materials to help students’ study in the field.

While educating the students on the career path of Space Science and Technology Education, he stated that they can pursue any career in space regardless of their chosen profession since every professional discipline is required in any space-related career. He stated that any space-related career can be pursued using the abbreviation STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), which has since been shortened to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics). Art has been included to help communicate and promote the values of Space to the rest of the world siting films, artwork, and documentaries as examples.

Following the presentation, the students were given the opportunity to demonstrate their high-level intelligence and exceptional comprehension skills in a quiz, as well as a hands-on puzzle section in which all of the students participated. The winners received cash and gift prizes, which were handed by the set chairman and the hosting principal.

Before a few demonstrations, there was a quarter-hour break for menu. after the break, the first demonstration was a robotics demonstration, where students saw a live mini robot follow out a set of instructions that it was given.

In front of the students, a water rocket with a similar launch method to the space rocket was lunched. They watched as the water rocket gained momentum as water was pumped into it before launching into the air and flying a few metres away. The students’ cheeks were bright with delight as they applauded during the demonstrations.

Following the presentation of certificates of participation to the students and teachers who attended the seminar and workshop, there was a photo portion before Dr. Fagbeja’s final remarks brought the program to a close.

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