From Felix Ikem, Nsukka

The Nigeria Institute of Soil Science (NISS) has commenced a tour of Secondary Schools in Enugu North Senatorial District of Enugu to deepen awareness of career opportunities in soil science and to influence career choices in the field.

Addressing newsmen in Nsukka on Wednesday, Prof Charles Asadu, South East NISS Zonal Coordinator said that the visit to some selected Secondary Schools in the area is part of the Institute’s activities on promoting interest in the study and practices of soil science in the zone.

He said that the sensitisation campaign is targeted at Senior School students in classes 1, 2, and 3, as well as soil science students in year one in the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), stressing that the aim was to expose them to the career opportunities in the soil science.

“We are carrying out sensitisation visits to some selected public and private secondary schools in Nsukka to educate the students on the opportunities inherent in soil science study.

“We are targeting the students in SS1, SS2, and SS3, and also soil science students in year one in UNN to deepen awareness, influence career choices in the field, as well as let them know the opportunity they have when they study soil science upon graduation,” he said.

At the Hill View Unique Secondary School, Nsukka, Prof. Peter Ezeaku, Dean Faculty of Agriculture, who led Dr. Vincent Azuka and Dr. Benedict Onyebuchi, Senior Lecturers at the Department of Soil Science, UNN engaged the students of the school in discussions on career counselling and Soil Science as a Profession.

The Dean and his team lectured the students on the vision and mandate of NISS, functions of soil, people that manage soils, soil study, as well as a brief on the scope of a Soil Scientist, Career prospects in Soil Science, Areas of specialisation in Soil Science, Subject requirements to study soil science in higher institution, among others.

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“Prof Charles Igwe, the current Vice-chancellor of UNN, Prof Nnenna Oti, 8th Substantive Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Prof. Felix Salako, immediate pastor Chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, (FUNAAB), among others, are soil scientist, and to the glory of God they are an alumnus of UNN, so there is no limitation of what you will become in future as a graduate of soil science,” Azuka said.

According to Onyebuchi, one of the resource persons “Graduates of soil science can be employed by farmers to provide technical support for efficient farm and soil resource management, also Commercial Fertilizers Producers, Chemical and Limestones Companies are continually seeking graduates for sales management and research position, as well as state and federal agencies, agricultural bank and other banks, among others.”

Earlier, Sir, Gabriel Ogwuche, Principal, Hill View Unique Secondary School commended the NISS for the sensitization workshop and urged the students to pay attention to the discussion stressing that it will help them in deciding on choosing soil science as a course at the University.

“I commend NISS for choosing our school among the numerous Secondary Schools in Nsukka for the workshop.

“This will no doubt enhance the student’s knowledge of soil science and opportunities inherent in it, as well as influence them into taking study and career choice in the field,” he said.

Responding on behalf of other students, Onoja Stanley, the Senior Prefect of the School said that the sensitisation visit was an eye-opener to them as the students are fully aware of the numerous advantages of studying soil science in the higher institutions, as well as taking a career choices in the field.

He thanked the school management for approving the workshop to take place in the school, and NISS and their resource persons for bringing the sensitisation drive to them, assuring that some students will study soil science at the university.

The highlight of the event which included positive feedback, affirmation of interest from students, inauguration of the soil science students club in the school, as well as the presentation of a cash gift to the School Management as seed money for the soil science club by Prof Ezeaku on behalf of Prof Asadu the Southeast Coordinator of NISS.