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Sahara Group Reaffirms Commitment to Literacy, Skills Development

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Sahara Group Reaffirms Commitment to Literacy, Skills Development

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The ability to read and write is not only a fundamental human right but in the 21st century, it is an essential tool for human survival. Like Darwin propounded in his theory of evolution by Natural Selection, species that fail to acquire the abilities [skills] and features for survival or competitiveness in an ever-evolving world will die – commonly referred to as survival of the fittest. Survival of the fittest refers to the ability of a species to survive and reproduce its kind.

Literacy, at the very least, in its most basic form, the ability to read and write – is a critical evolutionary feature for any human in the 21st century. It is becoming unthinkable that any human can make any significant impact or progress in the times that we live without the most basic form of education.

The International Literacy Day is a day set aside every year to remind world leaders and policymakers of the importance of education/literacy to the development of a people and the growth of a nation.

Globally, it is estimated that at least 750 million adults, including 102 million young people (15-24 years old), lack basic literacy skills. Further estimates show that six out of ten children and adolescents (617 million) are not achieving minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics. These are alarming statistics for the survival prospects of these millions of people. If they are to make it to the next generation, they must acquire these literacy skills for survival.

Literacy is the basis for lifelong learning and plays a crucial foundational role in the creation of sustainable, prosperous and peaceful societies. In addition, it equips people with the abilities/skills to make a living and develop key resources for their growth and development.

According to Bethel Obioma, Head, Corporate Communications, Sahara Group, the leading energy, and infrastructure conglomerate has invested in and supported various projects and programmes aimed at improving youth and child literacy across Sahara’s locations in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

In 2014 and 2015, Sahara Foundation implemented a book drive aimed at improving the interest of children in reading. The intention was to build up an interest in the children to learn early the importance of life-long learning. Staff members also volunteered to read to children in those schools. “The sessions remain evergreen in the minds of the children, providing the foundation for a strong bond between Sahara and the beneficiaries. Helping people pursue and realize their dreams is a venture that Sahara is passionate about,” Obioma said.

In addition, undergraduates of the University of Lagos, through AIESEC Lagos were supported in their drive to equip other young students with the knowledge of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how it relates to their development.

Sahara Foundation’s support for the Vocational Centre in Surulere represents a sustainable platform for propagating skills acquisition and development. At the centre, young people are equipped with vocational skills in catering, hairdressing, photography, and ICT among others. Sahara’s core support for the centre was for the upgrade of the industrial kitchen to a modern one for the beneficiaries to acquire skills that they need to become self-sufficient catering entrepreneurs. Through our support for this centre, over 1000 young caterers have benefitted with more than half of them becoming gainfully employed or business owners.

In a bid to develop the skills of young people at scale, Sahara Foundation launched the Saharahub digital platform to empower millions of young people from around the world with the needed skills for improved lives.

This year, Sahara Foundation in partnership with Realizing Education for Development (READ) International are empowering 30 young men and women in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, with entrepreneurship skills and built their vocational capacities. The support to these beneficiaries includes startup capital, vocational training, business advisory and post-training support as well market access. In line with our Extrapreneurship framework, the goal is to ensure that the supported beneficiaries – all youths – are able to start and sustain successful businesses while empowering other young Tanzanians as their business grows.

Oluseyi Ojurongbe, Sahara Foundation said the energy giant would continue to seek avenues for promoting literacy and skills development.

“At Sahara, we believe that education essential to economic sufficiency. As such, we support education and execute literacy and education programmes. The subject of literacy (and skills development) is so important to us that from inception, Education and Capacity Building has been one of the four pillars of our Personal and Corporate Social Responsibility focus. We have and will continue to support the literacy and skills development of young people.”

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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Education

Entries for Ecobank National Essay Competition Close Saturday

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essay competition

By Dipo Olowookere

The national essay competition organised by Ecobank Nigeria Limited to commemorate Children’s Banking Month is gradually gaining momentum, especially as the window for the submission of entries draws closer.

According to the financial institution, all entries are expected to be filed to AllENG-ConsumerProductsTeams@ecobank.com, with the contact details of the parent/guardian on or before Saturday, May 21, 2022, at 12 noon.

Results would be sent on all entries by Wednesday, May 25 at 12 noon and winners will be celebrated and given their gifts on May 28, 2022, as part of activities to mark the International Children’s Day.

The contest is for children between the ages of 13 and 16 and the topic is What will you consider as the future of banking. Participants are required to write the essay in 400 words, in font size 12 with one and a half line spacing. Winners would be given laptops, educational tabs, and several consolation prizes.

The Head of Consumer Banking at Ecobank Nigeria, Mrs Korede Demola-Adeniyi, in a statement made available to Business Post, explained that the bank initiated the competition to expose children to financial education early in life, adding that it is also part of the lender’s commitment towards the Nigerian child.

According to her, “the month of May is set aside by the bank to celebrate childhood and how our children enrich our lives. We acknowledge the importance of our customers, young and old, to Ecobank’s ongoing success story. The bank, whose vision is to build a world-class pan-African bank and contribute to the economic development and financial integration of Africa, sees educational development as a fulcrum for positive integration.”

Mrs Demola-Adeniyi called on school proprietors, administrators, parents, and guardians to encourage their students, children, and wards to participate actively in the essay competition, stressing that beyond the prizes, the competition is also part of the process to push the frontiers of academic excellence among the young ones in society.

She stated that Ecobank has a MyFirst Account which caters for children and young ones, noting that, “This is our savings account specifically designed for children and teenagers aged between 0-16 years old.”

“If you are a parent, the account allows you to save money in your child’s name, which they can redeem when they are older. It is the perfect way to save for their education or kickstart a fund for future projects. It gives your child the best start in life,” she added.

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Education

Stanbic IBTC Funds University Education of 100 Students

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Increase Funding to Education

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A total of 100 students will receive funding support for their university education in Nigeria from Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc, a member of Standard Bank Group.

Each of the undergraduates in 33 universities across the 36 states of the federation and the FCT, will receive scholarships valued at N400,000, which would be disbursed in tranches of N100,000 across four academic years.

The beneficiaries were chosen through the scholarship scheme of the financial institution designed to provide financial aid needed to fulfil their educational needs and pursue their dreams.

The 100 Nigerian youths selected this year excelled in the University Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) organised by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB).

Asides from the first tranche of disbursement, subsequent disbursements would be subject to beneficiaries maintaining their enrolment in their respective universities and degree programs they were admitted into, adhering to the academic and administrative policies of the university, and the provision of a letter of good conduct issued by their respective departments.

Also, beneficiaries would be required to maintain a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of at least a second class upper range, amongst other requirements.

Commenting on the initiative, the chief executive officer of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, Mr Demola Sogunle, stated that it was borne out of the need to empower hardworking and diligent young Nigerian undergraduates, who aspired to pursue their tertiary education in any state or federal university in Nigeria.

“We believe that everyone deserves a chance to access quality education and we believe in rewarding students who have shown remarkable academic excellence.

“This initiative will go a long way in easing the financial burdens of these undergraduates who participated in the UTME and gained admission into various Nigerian state and federal universities for the 2021-2022 academic session.

“We are pleased to announce the 100 winners of this year’s scholarship scheme for undergraduates in 33 universities across the 36 states and the FCT. We wish them great success in their academic journey.”

Mr Sogunle further added that education remains one of the keys to facilitating a nation’s prosperity, hence the introduction of the scholarship initiative.

Stanbic IBTC remains committed to driving value-added initiatives like the university scholarship programme to contribute to the educational development of the Nigerian youth.

The scheme, which commenced in 2019, now has had almost 200 recipients. The beneficiaries were chosen across the six geo-political zones in Nigeria through fair screening processes.

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Education

Consider Plight of Students and Suspend Strike—Buhari Begs ASUU

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plight of students ASUU

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been urged to consider the plight of students and suspend the ongoing strike.

Speaking at the 19th National Productivity Day in Abuja on Thursday, President Muhammadu Buhari said efforts are being made to resolve the lingering issues between the union and the federal government.

ASUU had earlier embarked upon a two-month warning to force the government to honour the agreement signed in 2009 but after nothing was done, it extended the industrial action for another three months.

At the conferment of the National Productivity Order of Merit Award (NPOM) on 48 eminent Nigerians and organisations in both the public and private sectors, for their high productivity, hard work and excellence, President Buhari disclosed that his administration recognises that the future of any nation is contingent on the standard of its educational system, promising to uplift the standard of the educational system in the country.

According to him, he earlier directed his Chief of Staff, the Ministers of Labour and Employment, Education, Finance, Budget and National Planning to immediately bring all parties to the negotiation table to again critically look at the grey areas in the demands of ASUU.

Mr Buhari expressed optimism that all the issues would be resolved, appealing to the lecturers to exercise patience. He also urged students in Nigeria’s public tertiary institutions to give the government time to address the nagging issues in the nation’s university system within the ambit of the resources available.

While speaking on the theme of this year’s celebration, Achieving Higher Productivity through Improved Education System, the President disclosed that efforts would be made to “transform Nigeria into a competitive, strong, vibrant, productive and sustainable economy.”

“Quality educational system is good not just for the national economy; it is also good for the citizens,” he disclosed, emphasising that, “Ignoring the productivity dimension of education would endanger the prosperity of future generations, with widespread repercussions for poverty and social exclusion.”

According to him, “It will be difficult to improve our economic performance and overall productivity, without improving our educational system.”

He stated that the administration was aware of “the emergency situation in our educational system with particular reference to the dearth of qualified and dedicated teachers to enhance the quality of teaching and learning at all levels of our educational system.”

Some of the awardees were the late Dr Stella Adadevoh and Mr Babatunde Lawal.

Other were recipients the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Abdullahi Adamu; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha; immediate past Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chike Ihekweazu; Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi; Chairman and Founder, BUA Group, Mr Abdusamad Rabiu; Chairman of Globacom, Mr Mike Adenuga Jnr; Professor Stanley Okolo, Director General of the West African Health Organization (WAHO) and Allen Onyema, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, among others.

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