SUSTAINING A CHILD'S EDUCATION AMIDST THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC (PROJECT SACE): IN COMMEMORATION OF THE WORLD'S CHILDREN'S DAY
Fareedah Oyolola, Tomisin Ogunubi, Tanitoluwa Adewunmi. This is us marking the class register for the world’s brightest minds that all three of these children represent, so they might as well respond “present”. Fareedah Oyolola is a secondary school student at Greensprings school, Lagos Nigeria, honored as one of the brightest students in the world by the John Hopkins center for talented youths. Tomisin Ogunubi at age 15, developed an exceptional application to find lost children and she called it “ My locator”. Tanitoluwa on the other hand is recognized as the world chess champion 2020 and achieved this feat at just age 10. These three bright minds are perfect hallmarks of excellence that every child could attain if given the right opportunity and the best possible environment to thrive. However, 2018 statistics by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says that about 10.5 million children were not in school. Distressingly, this number swelled to an alarming 13.2 million by 2019, and the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic which spurred the worldwide lock-down only contributed to more students dropping out of school. The survey said something else: there is still a huge number of those who are in school but are learning nothing, noting that schooling does not always lead to learning. It concluded that in Nigeria, there are more non-learners in school than those out of school. Now while primary education is supposedly ‘free’ and compulsory, the question is why do we still have a staggering number of out-of-school children, and even worse, why do we still have non-learners in schools? Several factors are responsible but the one that catches our attention is the fact that a large number of LEA primary and secondary schools in Nigeria still have students whose parents struggle to pay their children’s tuition fees which is as low as a minimum of a thousand naira only (N1,000). Givfree Africa had a chat with a school administrator of an LEA primary and secondary school in the FCT, on the current situations of the students and the details we got, which are heartbreaking, to say the least. The school has a tuition fee of one thousand-two hundred naira only (N1200) still, parents of about 110 students and pupils cannot afford to pay the fees of their wards. As disheartening as this is, it is the current reality that we live in. The question now is, as much as every child has innate greatness they potentially can exhibit, how do we expect them to assume their full potential when they do not have the privilege of a conducive learning environment and even worse, the opportunity to take exams because of their parent’s incapacity to pay their fees? On this world’s children’s day, we have made a resolve to listen to children and step in to give them the opportunity that they deserve. The Covid-19 pandemic has indeed thrown a tough blow on the livelihood of several persons, making it tougher for more parents to sustain their children’s education. That is why Givfree Africa introduces PROJECT SACE- Sustain a Child’s Education. Joining voices with the United Nations Children’s fund, we agree that it is indeed time to listen to the children and give them what they need. If you wish to partner with us on this upcoming project, do call us on the following numbers: +2347063684376, +2348024762462. You can also send a WhatsApp message at +2349057599505.