State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) has commended Lafarge Africa for its intervention in the education sector through its the National Literacy Competition (LANLC), designed to raise the standard of literacy among pupils in public primary schools between the ages of 9 and 13 years.
The fifth edition of the competition, with theme, ‘Bridging the Literacy Gap Together’, is organised in partnership with the respective State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEB) in all 36 states of Nigeria and the FCT with the support of Ovie Brume Foundation.
It will hold its regional run-offs across all six geopolitical zones of the country in Abuja, Enugu, Cross River, Ogun, Kano and Gombe in October, while the grand finale, will hold on November 15, in Lagos.
Briefing journalists, recently in Lagos, the Executive Chairman of Lagos SUBEB, Dr. Ganiyu Sopeyin who was represented by the Director, Co-curricular, Mrs. Bunmi Oteju expressed delight about the intervention saying it has impacted positively on the children over the years.
She assured Lafarge Africa of its collaboration saying, “ the competition has impacted so much on the children because of the benefits. As a result, we have seen the enthusiasm in them towards reading.”
The Director of Communications, Public Affairs and Sustainable Development, Mrs. Folashade Ambrose-Medebem said the company’s understanding of the role education plays in the development of any society, inspired the need to engage the children on critical literacy skills at an early stage.
She added that the initiative by her organisation, is an intervention in the country’s education sector in line with it’s sustainability strategy which also complements the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 on quality education.
She said since the inception of the competition, over 500,000 primary school pupils in 886 schools across 544 local government areas have been impacted, adding that her organisation intends to double the figure this year.
“Currently, public primary schools across the 109 senatorial districts are being coached in reading and writing in preparation for the competition; progress made as a result of this intervention will be evaluated and state run-offs to select the representatives from each state has already begun across the country.”
The Head Sustainability and Brand Lafarge Africa Plc, Mrs. Temitope Oguntokun expressed concern about the literacy gap among children in some communities it had worked with.
“As volunteers, when we go into communities, we see students in primary five still struggling to read and write and that is why we are trying to bridge the literacy gap in Nigeria, ” she said
She said over the years, there have been lots of mentoring and coaching programmes in partnership with SUBEB and Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), adding that with the partnership, the organisation has been able to reach more than 700 local governments in the country.
“We understand the need to be able to work with other partners. Improving literacy levels in Nigeria is essential to a better future for the next generation. We can’t do this alone,” Oguntokun stressed.