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Education: Inspiring a new generation
Education can open the door to opportunities, helping many people to move out of poverty and build a better future. Our scheme in India teaches contracted workers to read and write, while in Nigeria we support students to attend top schools. In Australia, Indiana Jones lends a hand in bringing science alive for children in remote towns and villages.
We are working across the world to give more people the chance of a good education.
Shell Questacon Science Circus
Australia has some of the most remote towns and villages in the world, from Murray Island near the Great Barrier Reef with a population of just 450 to Pipalyatjara in the Gibson Desert.
To help engage young students and spark their interest in science, in 1985 Questacon, the Australian National University and Shell launched a unique three-way partnership to take science out into far-flung communities.
University students take interactive science exhibits to schools and town halls – a programme known as the Shell Questacon Science Circus.
Around 370 students who worked with the circus have gained a postgraduate qualification in Science Communication from the Australian National University in Canberra.
“The circus uses theatre to engage people across cultures, even when English isn’t their first language,” said Bobby Cerini, who helped present the science circus in 1997.
“For example, we imitated Indiana Jones to show the physics in the way he rolls to escape danger, as well as his problem-solving.”
More than 2.1 million school students, their teachers and families have visited the Science Circus in 490 towns and 90 indigenous communities.
Others are now interested in adopting the science circus model, including the Chinese Science Centre in Beijing and the International Science Circus Safari in Africa.
In Nigeria access to good, affordable education is limited. Shell companies in Nigeria are helping reduce illiteracy levels in the Niger Delta, giving students the chance of a brighter future.
In 2011 the Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited awarded 2,730 scholarship grants to secondary school students and 750 university undergraduate grants.
The Cradle-to-Career scheme pays full board for the brightest children from rural communities where SPDC operates in the Niger Delta to attend good secondary schools.
The scheme aims to boost academic excellence and, in the three years since it began, has benefited 180 schoolchildren.
"I don’t have to sell plantains any more to support my poor parents,” says Obienne Margret, who received an award to attend the Arch Deacon Brown Memorial College in Port Harcourt.
“I now attend one of the best schools in Nigeria."
Education gives Indian workers a boost
In India, many workers building retail sites in 2008 were unable to read or write. They struggled to understand Shell’s safety rules.
Shell managers launched an adult education initiative to help overcome this, using books, games and role play to teach them reading, writing and mathematics.
The programme was adopted the following year by construction managers at Shell Bangalore Laboratories. It has continued to spread to other Shell sites, boosting participants’ confidence and skills.
“The teachers have given us some good tips,” said Arjun Jogi. “I would like to use my new skills to become a supervisor.”
The programme also provides information on about health, hygiene and how to manage personal finances.
Workers’ relatives are also invited to join. It has spread to many of Shell’s businesses in India with a total of around 2,000 employees and 8,000 family members already benefiting.
The course is recognised by the National Skill Development Council.