BY EMMANUEL EDUKUGHO
AN accelerated literacy scheme has been implemented in 10 states on pilot basis to ensure that children attending primary schools in the rural areas can read.
The Chief Executive of Bridges to Goodness Projects, Prince Nnagozie. Ochi, initiator of the scheme, in partnership with Good Character Development Initiative named the states as Benue, Enugu, Ebonyi, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, and Abia. Others are Imo, Anambra, Rivers and Bayelsa, where one community in each of the aforementioned states have benefitted.
“We found out that children in primary schools in rural areas cannot read. To quickly accelerate literacy for these children, they have to learn to read from primary one (at the age of 7 years). The project was implemented in 2010 and the feed back we got was okay. All the children can now read.”
Prince Ochi explained in a media briefing that from the baseline study, only 5 per cent of these rural children in primary schools can read before the implementation of the project. The competence survey done showed that majority of the children could not read. “We got feed back from the Headmsters, which was heart warming indicating that literacy has improved. Went back ourselves for assessment to know the improvement within the academic year. We had meeting with UNICEF which also was getting feed back from the schools and working to expand the pilot project.”
On character, he said this is fundamental to learning and academic achievement, pointing out the supremacy of character in the educational process.
He said that some good milesone has been made in respect of character as some schools are already partnering with Bridges to Goodness Projects to build sound, positive character in the children.
“We are developing an African Version — African role models to celebrate and for the children to look up to character with a lot of activities lined out for the new year. About 500,000 children in schools across the country will be reached. Among the role models are Professor Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laureate, CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido, Dr. Christopher Kolade, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Kanu Nwankwo and late Chief Margaret Ekpo. Six pillars of character were identified which include Responsibility, Caring, Respect, etc.
It is believed that character development is the heart and soul of human infrastructure which should be the main agenda in the education system from nursery, primary to secondary schools. To have a better Nigeria, the young and upcoming citizens at their formative stage should possess good character and attitudes required for nation building.