By Elizabeth Osayande
IN a bid to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and having the belief that no pupil should be left out of school on account of lack of basic amenities, Empowering Africans Through Education Initiative, EAE, has awarded scholarship to 13 pupils selected across public and low-income private schools in Lagos State.
The beneficiaries got selected based on these criteria: Currently enrolled in primary 4 or 5 as of the time of the nomination; the best pupil in primary four (4) or five (5); economically disadvantaged but with a good academic track record; and Interest in the sciences and technology-related subjects e.g., Mathematics, Integrated Science, etc.; and having a good attendance record in school.
Speaking during the presentation of the award to the pupils who were accompanied by their parents and teachers at the event held recently in Gbagada, Lagos, the Community Engagement Manager, EAE, Joseph Onokpe, said the scholarship scheme was about improving the lives of children and seeing that basic education becomes inclusive in Nigeria.
His words: “It is about seeing children get better at what they do. It is great fulfilment and joy to see a child wake up and have access to the basic form of education without being left out due to certain limitations seeing that education has become the ticket out of poverty. For me, I believe if we can touch the lives of these children, they will grow up to pass the baton of change.
This implies that over the years, we will have more children in school.
“So, the scholarship offers N140,000 for a full academic year in the following forms: School Support, provision of basic school needs such as books, stationaries, school uniform, etc. This addresses the Sustainable Development Goal 4. Nutritional support: this by extension benefits members of the pupil’s family. This will ensure that the beneficiaries and members of their families have access to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food.”
This addresses the Sustainable Development Goal 2; “The Health Insurance: through this, the beneficiaries will have access to quality essential health,” Onokpe explained.
On the future goal of EAE, the Community Engagement Manager noted that the non-governmental organisation which started in 2017 and whose focus is on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, STEM, hoped to see Experimento incorporated into the national curriculum. “Our future goal is to have Experimento, a STEM-focused project being implemented into the Nigerian Curriculum.”
Also commending EAE, the Executive Chairman of the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board, LASUBEB, Mr Wahab Alawiye-King, said the need to improve on STEM education is very paramount in today’s world.
According to the LASUBEB chairman, who was represented by Mrs Ismail Margaret, Deputy Director, Co-Curricular, LASUBEB: “The need for more support by NGOs like EAE is appreciated to intensify our efforts in improving science and technology as the technology of today may be obsolete tomorrow.
“Once again, I thank EAEI for investing in our pupils and teachers. You are not only building society; you are moulding our future,” he said.
Expressing delight over the items given to them, a basic six pupil from Fazil-Omar Amadiya Primary School, Al-Amin Kabiru, said he felt happy being selected for the scholarship. “I am in basic six pupils of Fazil-Omar Amadiya Primary School. I feel very happy and excited and proud of myself for winning this scholarship. We have been given food items and school items. I thank the NGO for being so kind.” Kabiru said.