Malcolm X said “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”
The United Nations 4th International Day of Education was celebrated on the 24th of January, 2022. Quality education is pivotal in the transformation of any society. It ensures that we are equipped to build a more sustainable, inclusive, just and peaceful future. However, this future can not be achieved in isolation. This is why bringing education to the point where it is valued in every society would include a shared endeavor from governmental, non-governmental and civil organizations alike. It calls for a collective formation and involvement of all sectors, educational or not.
Accordingly, The Sapphires Development Initiative (TSDI) decided to contribute her quota to achieving quality education in the South Western part of Nigeria. We put together collective efforts and creativity and produced an encompassing movement in 4 different South Western States of Nigeria including: Ekiti, Ogun, Ondo and Oyo States. Altogether, we reached out to over 3000 students in 15 schools of 6 different rural areas from the 24th to 28th of January, 2022.
In Ekiti state, 3 schools were enlightened on the importance of education and a total of 400 students were reached. In these schools (St. Augustine, Oye Ekiti, Our Lady of Apostle Oye-Ekiti and Iworoko Grammar school, Iworoko), the students shared their thoughts on education and what could be done better.
Meanwhile, simultaneously, TSDI volunteers were in Ogun State carrying out the same activities of enlightening and spotlighting the voices of both students and teachers. In Ogun State, 2 schools (Salau Comprehensive High School and Odeda Local Government Nursery and Primary School) were visited reaching over 500 students.
In Ondo State, 2 schools (Idanre High School and Funar Secondary School) were visited as well with the same mission of increasing the value placed on education and to CHANGE COURSE and TRANSFORM EDUCATION. A total of about 500 students were also enlightened on the importance of education and the benefits of committing themselves to it.
In Ibadan, over 1600 students were reached in 9 different schools (St. Michael Secondary School, Upper Standard College, African Church Grammar School, Leo Community Grammar School, Apata Grammar School, Adifase Secondary School, Covenant College, Oludare Heritage School and Bibiire International Comprehensive College).
Additionally, the facilitators and volunteers in these 4 states taught the students and teachers a slogan during the students forum. This was to internalize and personalize the need for education. The slogan goes thus:
Call 1: UN day of Education!
Response 1:Spotlighting voices!!
Call 2: UN day of Education!!
Response 2: Changing course, transforming education!!
Call 3: The Sapphires Development Initiative!!!
Response 3: Impacting lives positively!!!
Furthermore, students voices focused on having quality teachers while emphasizing the negative aspects as lack of proper infrastructure i.e toilets, well equipped libraries and laboratories, insecurity, little or no involvement in sporting activities, teachers maltreatment among others.
The teachers on the other hand expressed their grievances with parents and their irresponsibility in placing value on teachers and education, they further voiced out that their remuneration could be better than what it is currently and that the government should look into it.
Conclusively, education especially in Nigeria calls for urgent intervention. The youths are fast becoming uninterested in quality education and the government and society needs to see this cause as critical and as a shared endeavor.
TSDI is committed to SDG 4- Quality Education. Hence, our enthusiastic involvement in reaching as many Nigerian child and youth with the information that Quality Education promotes all-round progress.