By Dipo Olowookere
Thousands of children with mild to moderate disabilities in Ghana now have greater access to mainstream schools thanks to a recently established Inclusive Education Policy.
UNICEF, with funding support from USAID, is working with the Ghanaian Government through the Ghana Education Service to support 20 districts in the implementation of Inclusive Education.
“It is encouraging to see that all children especially those with special needs now have a chance to learn in an inclusive environment,” said Susan Namondo Ngongi, UNICEF representative in Ghana.
Today’s announcement comes as UNICEF and USAID jointly hand over essential assistive devices and basic screening materials procured by UNICEF worth USD $100,000 to the Government of Ghana for use in assessment centres in all ten regions across the country. The handover takes place at the flagship assessment centre in Central Region, located within the Cape Coast School for the Deaf/Blind.
The equipment, which includes assistive devices (child-sized wheelchairs, crutches, complete spectacles, and hearing aids) and basic screening materials (including snellen charts, tossing rings, tennis balls, drums), will provide the much needed support for the community, especially pupils and students with special educational needs.
“Inclusive education is a particularly strong priority for USAID,” said USAID/Ghana Mission Director Andy Karas. “I have seen first-hand the power of these efforts to not only open up opportunities for children with special needs, but to help all children receive a better education.”
Despite the commitment made by the Government in its Inclusive Education policy, children with disabilities are still at risk of stigma, misunderstanding, and discrimination particularly within their local communities. Such discrimination hinders a child’s chance to receive a quality education. UNICEF will therefore continue to support the Ghanaian Government, through the Ministry of Education/Ghana Education Service, and Civil Society Organizations to create awareness of the IE Policy and its implementation at both national and sub-national levels.
“Children with disabilities will never be able to achieve their full potential unless they are given a fair chance to learn like any other child. While Ghana’s Inclusive Education policy plays an essential role, we need greater collaboration with family members, communities, Development Partners, Civil Society, and all stakeholders to allow every child a chance to thrive. The UNICEF and USAID partnership is a demonstration of what can be achieved when we work together,” said Susan Namondo Ngongi, UNICEF Representative in Ghana.
Educating Every Nigerian Child Our Priority—Stanbic IBTC Trustees
Stanbic IBTC Trustees Limited, through the Stanbic IBTC Education Trust (SET), has made assisting Nigerian parents and guardians to secure their children and ward’s academic future one of her top priorities.
SET is a flexible and easy investment plan with long-term benefits that support parents and guardians striving to provide quality education for their children and wards.
With SET, parents and guardians can ensure the payment of their children and wards’ school fees as education-related expenses are directly effected by the institutions of learning, be it elementary to tertiary levels. This action ensures that unforeseeable events do not cause a disruption in their education which may negatively impact their future.
Education trust funds are invested in conservative-type instruments and professionally managed and administered by a reputable Corporate Trustee and Fund Manager.
Parents and guardians can also nominate their children and wards’ SET accounts as a beneficiary for their life insurance policies; a clear example is the Group Life Insurance Policy. Situations like this would ensure that the portion allocated to each child’s SET account is received and utilized for the child’s education. This has proven to be extremely beneficial if the child is a minor (under 18 years of age) or still in school.
Speaking about the positive impact of SET on the Nigerian child, Mr Charles Omoera, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Trustees Limited, said that the organisation understands the significant impact of quality education on every child and the positive effect it will have in shaping their future.
Mr Omoera urged parents and guardians to put in place SET for their children and wards to help them address any adverse circumstances likely to halt their education. He stated that parents and guardians must always strive to give their children and wards quality education to position them for rare opportunities attached to the benefits of having quality education.
Stanbic IBTC Trustees remains committed to ensuring that Nigerian children have access to quality education from elementary to tertiary education to help develop their minds and contribute meaningfully to society.
Orevaoghene Whiskey Emerges InterswitchSPAK 4.0 Winner
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A student of Top Faith International School, Akwa Ibom State, Miss Orevaoghene Whiskey, has won the fourth edition of the prestigious InterswitchSPAK National Science Competition.
She is now the first female winner of the 13-week Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) show, which had over 20,000 applications across the country.
With the win, the 16-year-old best STEM student in Nigeria will receive the grand prize of N7.5 million in scholarships, among other exciting prizes.
InterswitchSPAK Nigeria is the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative of Africa’s leading integrated payments and digital commerce company, Interswitch.
The programme aired on domestic and terrestrial television stations, providing a platform for brilliant young Nigerians to showcase their knowledge in STEM subjects.
In the fourth edition, Adesayo Elumaro of The Ambassadors College, Ota, Ogun State, clinched the second spot and went home with N4 million, while Precious Akinyemi of Rhema Chapel International School, Oyo State, grabbed the third position and N1 million in scholarship.
Speaking on the essence of the initiative, the Chief Customer Experience Officer at Interswitch, Ms Oremeyi Akah, emphasised the need for more young Africans to tow the STEM path, thereby underscoring the goal of the InterswitchSPAK National Science competition.
”Research by the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) reveals that less than 25% of African higher education students pursue STEM-related career fields,” Ms Akah said.
Based on this premise, she expressed concern about the retrogressive impact this could pose on Africa’s talent pool which may not be opportune to acquire the necessary tech skills to drive innovation on the continent in the near future.
However, she submitted that through initiatives such as the InterswitchSPAK National Science competition, hope holds sway because “Interswitch is inspired by its vision of a prosperous Africa, driven by the exchange of value and commerce; an Africa where Africans are equipped with the requisite knowledge to solve the unique challenges faced on the continent.”
She added that the reward and prizes totalled N12.5 million was a way to fund the “dreams and aspirations” of the winners as they work towards creating an impactful future for Nigeria and Africa in general.
Last season, 16-year-old Jubril Dokun of Brainfield College, Salolo, Lagos State, who snagged the first prize, also emerged among the top 10 highest scorers in the 2022 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Exam (UTME).
With a vision of a prosperous Africa, Interswitch has pledged to provide enabling platforms that encourage the future generation of STEM professionals who will contribute to the growth of Nigeria and Africa at large. This has been evidently demonstrated with InterswitchSPAK rewarding 12 outstanding STEM students with a total of N50 million over the last four years.
InterswitchSPAK 4.0 Finalists Nudge for N7.5m University Scholarships
As the semifinals of the InterswitchSPAK National Science Competition draws to an end, nine contestants are left in the race for the crown as the best Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) student in Nigeria.
The student who emerges tops will bag the grand prize of N7.5 million in scholarship for a five-year period, a brand-new laptop, and a monthly stipend. The second-place winner will go home with N4 million scholarship spread over a period of three years, a brand-new laptop, and a monthly stipend.
The third-place winner gets N1 million scholarship spread over a period of one year, a brand-new laptop, and a monthly stipend.
It is interesting to note that these students emerged from over 20,000 students that sat for the Crux Computer-Based Test (CBT) held nationally last year to compete for the bragging rights as the country’s best STEM student.
Preparations for the grand finale are in place and the excitement is high as followers of the show anticipate a stiff and rousing competition between the unusual mix of contestants left in the race.
While girls have made it through to the finale of previous seasons of the competition’s 4-year run, this season has the highest number of female finalists, they include Precious Akinyemi of Rhema Chapel International School, Oyo State, Joyce Onubogu of British Spring, Awka, Anambra; Towoju Atinuke of Seolad International College, Ogun State; and Orevaoghene Whiskey of Top Faith International School, Akwa Ibom State.
Other finalists equally competing for the grand prize include Zulqarnain Abubakar of Apt Scholars Universal College, Ogun State; Chimdubem Duruji of The Ambassadors College, Ota, Ogun State; Oraibi Okari of Jephthah Comprehensive Secondary School, Rivers State; Adesayo Elumaro of The Ambassadors College, Ota, Ogun State; and Stephen Nwaneri of Adedokun International Schools, Ogun State.
Over the years, InterswitchSPAK has remained committed to driving the interest of young African students in STEM subjects by encouraging and rewarding them in their pursuit for excellence. InterswitchSPAK is a flagship CSR initiative of Interswitch, Africa’s leading integrated payments, and digital commerce company.
To catch the grand finale, tune in to DSTV Africa Magic Family 154 on Sunday, 29th January 2023 at 5:30 pm, with a repeat broadcast on Wednesday, 1st February 2023 at 3 pm; and on the AIT Network at 7.30 pm on Sunday, 5th February 2023. You don’t have to miss the action while on the go, you can watch the show on platforms such as LinkedIn and YouTube.
Stay tuned for the finals. It promises to be nothing short of entertaining, educating, and thrilling. Bond with family while at it. What better way to inspire the budding generation than to give them something to aspire to, knowing that if they can dream it, they can achieve it.
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