By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
An NGO, Emerald-isle Foundation, on Wednesday donated 600 textbooks and 1 book-shelf to the winners of a “spelling bee competition” that held was in Kaduna.
LGEA Primary School Sabon Yelwa, LGEA Tsaunin Kura and LGEA Nasarawa 1 are the three top winners that carted away the textbooks amongst ten competing schools.
Founder of the NGO, Ms. Evelyn Ode, in her opening remarks, passionately appealed to the benefiting schools to utilize the materials for the purpose for which they were donated.
She said the first edition of the competition was part the Foundation’s “Spread the Books Project” in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, in an effort to address the looming issues of lack of access to textbooks in most schools.
“It is sad and worthy of note that our various outreaches to schools and learning centers across different states of Northern Nigeria as well as our surveys have repeatedly shown a general dismal state of our knowledge-transmission system.
“For example, in our most recent visit to a few community schools, we observed that in some classrooms, five – ten pupils share one textbook, while in others, only the teachers have access to the material. This is sad and requires continuous urgent intervention.
“Spread the Books is our ‘widow’s mite’ intervention in the Nigerian story and contribution to the Nigerian dream. Its objective is simply to ensure that children in public schools are provided with learning materials to help boost their educational foundation as well as enrich their learning experience.
“And we do understand that this alone will not be the answer to our challenges, as concerted efforts of all concerned, well-meaning stakeholders must be in place to better the lives of our children and, ultimately, that of our nation. We therefore appeal to everyone present at this edition to consider and reckon their being here this eventful morning as a renewal pledge of commitment to keep furthering the cause of qualitative and competitive education for our young ones in all ways possible, even in the midst of dwindling resources or widespread systemic corruption; especially so” Ms. Ode, said.
She noted that, “the bedrock of a Nation’s progress lies squarely on the life quality of the people she produces; and this life quality is chiefly an expression of the level of refinement of the minds of her citizens. Clearly, ours in Nigeria is still a far cry from home, especially with the plethora of challenges we currently face. Please allow me not to name any of them.
She disclosed that the Foundation had in 2019, as part of its interventions donated a total of 340 textbooks and two bookshelves to L.G.E.A primary school Babban Saura and L.G.E.A primary school Buwaya, in the same LGA.
“Over time, we have conducted an evaluation on the utilization of these materials donated, and these schools have witnessed a drastic improvement in the performance of its students. As previously before the intervention, identification of words and reading began in primary 4, but after the intervention it is from primary 1 and 2.
“Our goal is to reach out to more schools in Kaduna state yearly via this project and we do solemnly hope to strengthen partnership with more organizations to actualize this goal.” She added.
She expressed appreciation to Coalition for Associations for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment and Development (CALPED), Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), Hyai FM Kaduna, and Open Kaduna Radio for their support.
“Periodic visits and surveys will be undertaken to the school by the Foundation’s monitoring team to measure utilization progress and ascertain further possible areas of intervention.” Ms. Ode added.