By DAYO ADESULU
As part of its vision to transform lives of Nigerian students through education, Oando Foundation has awarded scholarships to 225 less-privileged children nationwide, Ms. Tokunboh Durosaro, Director, Oando Foundation has said.
Speaking at the Civic Centre, Lagos where the programme was formally launched, Durosaro disclosed that beneficiaries of the scheme will be selected from Oando adopted primary schools nationwide, adding; “Ten outstanding primary six pupils from each of the Foundation’s adopted schools, will be sponsored through secondary and tertiary institutions on an annual basis.”
According to her, the programme will cover the tuition, sundry expenses such as transportation, study materials, school feeding and school uniforms, explaining that the intention was to foster the advancement of the future workforce from primary to secondary school education and equip them with the capacity to compete with peers globally.
Basic education, she noted, is one of the most potent tools for reducing poverty and inequality in modern societies saying that intervening in the provision of quality education is critical to laying the foundation for the sustainable growth and development of our country.
She said; “A lot of children who are enrolled in Nigerian public primary schools never progress to higher levels of education. Secondary and tertiary education remain mere pipe-dreams for most of them. We are committed to changing this grim story for as many Nigerian children as we possibly can.”
In line with addressing the challenges in the Nigerian education sector, Durosaro reiterated that Oando Foundation, in partnership with the government at various levels, had made a pledge to increase access and improve the overall quality of education across the country through its Adopt-A-School Initiative (AASI). Through the AASI, she added, Oando Foundation adopts dilapidated public primary schools to provide new classroom blocks, new roofs, doors, windows, water supply, playgrounds, and sanitation facilities.
Pursuant to this, Mr. Wale Tinubu, Group Chief Executive, Oando PLC said, “Oando has committed one per cent of the Group’s profit-before-tax to the project to ensure that the Foundation’s programmes are well funded and sustained.”
He disclosed that the Foundation plans to adopt 100 schools by 2015; directly affect over 100,000 lives by ensuring over 60,000 pupils have access to quality primary education; broaden the capacity of 3,584 teachers, award scholarships to over 2,560 pupils to reduce direct and indirect costs of education to students and support the Nigerian Government in reaching the second goal of the Millennium Development Goals by increasing the possibility of achieving Universal Basic Education.
He noted that Oando Foundation has so far adopted 28 schools across Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Cross River, Delta, Kaduna, Katsina, Lagos, Ogun, and Rivers states under its Adopt-A-School Initiative, adding “To date, 17,292 students and 399 teachers nationwide have acquired increased access to quality education through Oando Foundation initiatives.”
Commenting on the Oando gesture, Professor Charles Onocha, Acting Executive Secretary, UBEC said; “The Commission has noted with delight that this invitation is a practical demonstration of the willingness and readiness of Oando Foundation to partner with it in facilitating the implementation of the UBE programme.