Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Junior Chambers International (JCI) with the support of the Australian government, as part of their intervention programme to compliment government’s effort in achieving Goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and provide quality and accessible education, have renovated three blocks of 8 classrooms at LEA Primary School, Gaube, Kuje Area Council.
The programme was part of the 2017 Education Impact Project of JCI, geared towards revamping educational facility in schools.
The Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, H.E Paul Lehmann, while speaking at the commissioning and the handing over ceremony, held recently, in Abuja, said that the Australian government was very proud to have partnered with JCI to bring the project into fruition.
According to him, “we all know that investing in the future of the children is investment in the future of our country, it is the investment in prosperity and peace for the future. That is why the Australian government have decided to work with JCI to build this facility and we are very proud and happy to see this project comes to fruition.
“Because we know it is an investment that will pay enourmous dividends in the future. What we see today will continue to benefit in my years to come. Many of these children that we see here today will become the future leaders in Nigeria and the future leaders in the world.”
Lehmann added; “we can’t on our own do everything that is necessary here in Nigeria, but what we have seen today shows what can be done when partnerships occur, what can be achieved with a little bit of money and a lot of dedication and commitment from the school, from the implementing partners, and what we are seeing today is an example that will hopefully encouraged others to make similar investment.”
Meanwhile, the National President of JCI, Mr. Richard Ojo , said grassroots was where the impact lies, and where a country could be assessed and how the future of a country would look like.
“With this kind of project in which we are coming to the grassroots to encourage the young people and also to give a future to young leaders, I believe this is will go a long way. We must understand that government cannot do everything. We have done our own bit, it is now left for UBEB to ensure that this facility are well used for the benefit of the children
The 2017 President, JCI Abuja Unity, Joyce Lawrence, said prior to the intervention, the facility in the school was in comatose, adding that when she visited the school in January, the experience was nothing to write home about, because there were more than a 100 pupils in a class and the roofs were leaking.
“We will keep intervening on behalf of these less privileged until what looks like a privilege becomes their rights. We will continue to do our best until every child has access to quality education. I want to appreciate the Australian embassy for this grants, we have been doing it but today we are able to do it in a larger magnitude.”
Areas where intervention was done include; renovation of 3blocks of 8 classrooms, renovation of six toilets, donation of computers, textbooks, writing materials, conversion of manual borehole to solar, donation of chairs and tables.
Responding, the Director of Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB), Dr. Adamu Jatau, said the FCT administration appreciated what JCI has done in collaboration with Australian embassy to make the school look more attractive, noting that though the structures were there before, but were dilapidated.
“They have now been made attractive and that alone can attract enrolment, retention and completion of students in this school. The provision of basic education cannot be left to the government alone, it is the responsibility of all. That is why we always call on every spirited individuals, NGOs, to collaborate with us, so that we better the quality of education at the basic education level. It is when we do that, we now say we are making education affordable, accessible and qualitative for the young children that are coming up.”
The School Headmaster, Mr. Ashama Yanga, expressed appreciation for the intervention, saying that it still needs fencing to avoid incursion which might lead to destruction of the facility.