Okolo made the statement in an interview with the Western Europe correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) in Paris when two Nigerian female scientists received the 2013 UNESCO-L’Oreal awards.
“Science is the centre of development in the world. As a university, we have taken it as a key priority to train 60 per cent in science courses while 40 per cent in other fields.
” In the past five years, the level of literacy in science has gone up very high, more girls are now interested in various science related courses.
“On a scale of 100, I will say more than 50 per cent of girls have been admitted to study sciences since 2009, ” he said.
He said that the university would continue to create the enabling environment to encourage students in sciences.
The vice-chancellor said the award to the women “will motivate others in the field of science”.
The UNESCO-L’Oreal awardees were recognised each in the ” Laureates and fellows” honours categories.
Prof. Francisca Okeke , the first female Head of Department at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, bagged the 2013 Laureate award for her significant contributions to the scientific study on climate change.
She was the only recipient in that category from Africa and the Arab nations, and the third Nigerian laureate since the UNESCO- L’Oreal partnership was established in 1998.
Four others also got awards in the Laureate category with each representing Europe, Latin America, North America, and the Asia Pacific regions.
Dr Eucharia Nwaichi, an environmental biochemist from the University of Port Harcourt joined 15 other young scientists in the ” International Fellows” honours category. (NAN)