Lafarge Africa Kicks off National Literacy Contest

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Under Teacher’s diary

Funmi Ogundare

In an effort to improve competence and knowledge among Nigerian pupils, Lafarge Africa Plc has commenced its fourth annual national literacy competition with regional run-offs which kicked-off this month.

Plateau State won the North Central regional finals of the competition and will represent the region in the finals in Lagos next month. For the rest of this month, other regional finals will hold across the other five political zones. The state run-offs held in September.

The competition, the fourth in the series, is in line with the organisation’s sustainability strategy; the 2030 plan, which among others affirms its ambition for the construction and enhance the quality of life for all.

The Head, Sustainability and Corporate Brand of the organisation, Mrs. Temitope Oguntokun, who briefed journalists recently in Lagos, said since it partnered the Ovie Brume Foundation and commenced the competition four years ago, the organisation has complemented government’s efforts in raising the standard of English Language in public primary schools, adding that pupils between the ages of nine and 13 are the primary target.

“Since the inception of the competition, over 200,000 primary school pupils across 244 local government areas have been impacted. There are also dedicated teachers working with the pupils and helping them to grow and become what they need to become. We are truly committed as an organisation to improving lives.”

She said the competition is being organised with support from the respective State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEB) and its implementation partner, the Ovie Brume Foundation.

The Director of Communications, Public Affairs and Sustainable Development, Mrs. Folashade Ambrose-Medebem, who explained the vision of the initiative, said “we want to help create more literacy enhancement opportunities for several indigent pupils across Nigeria. We have been doing this successfully for the past four years and we are quite pleased with the positive impact we have made so far. It’s all about touching the lives of all our diverse people in a sustainable way.”

She said the company understands the key role education plays in the development of any society hence the need to engage the leaders of tomorrow on critical literacy skills at an early stage.

Situating the competition in the overall sustainable development strategy of the company, she said “it goes beyond the company’s own business activities and plans to achieve this vision by focusing on four categories of action; climate, circular economy, water and nature and people and communities. Each of these classifications has specific actions and targets to ensure we achieve our ambitions.”

The grand finale for this year will hold in November in Lagos where six winners (three boys and three girls) will be awarded national prizes. Public school students from the 109 senatorial districts in the country are taking part in the competition. Tests will be conducted on essay/summary writing and spelling bee to evaluate the reading and writing abilities of the pupils.