Following the benefits derived from the establishment of 367 community reading hubs in the two local governments of Enugu State by Excellence Community Education Welfare Scheme (ECEWS), stakeholders have called on the government to sustain the programme.
The programme which came into being following the disruption of academic activities across the world by COVID-19 pandemic, was established in Aninri and Isi-Uzo local governments as a Continuing Learning through Alternate Home and Community-based Platform Project.
Speaking at the Closeout/Exit meeting at held at Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board, Enugu, the stakeholders the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) chairmen for the two local governments urged the state government to ensure that the project was sustained even as the ECEWS was leaving.
The NUT Chairman of Isi-Uzo local government, Agbo Valentine noted that the scheme brought huge help to the people, stressing, “the introduction of this alternate learning has helped us a lot. I thank ECEWS, UNICEF and others for this programme and I pray the government and the communities not to allow it die. Let us try to sustain it.”
His Aninri colleague, Udoji David noted that “with the activities of ECEWS and UNICEF school enrollment has risen in our Council area, so please let it be sustained.”
Earlier, ECEWS’s Project Coordinator for the scheme, Mrs. Catherine Osho, had said it was meant to help school children catch-up with lost academic grounds, disclosing that a total of 23,943 children were reached through the programme in the Council areas.
She disclosed that out of the 367 Community Reading Hubs, 175 was established in Aninri and 192 in Isi-Uzo just as 12,737 children were reached in Aninri and 11,206 were reached in Isi-Uzo. Also the capacity of 894 teachers was built, 502 in Aninri and 392 in Isi-Uzo to provide psychosocial support to the children.
Osho added that the scheme equally strengthened 387 School-Based Management Committee (SBMC) members (185 in Aninri and 202 in Isi-Uzo) “to improve sanitation and hygiene for safe school return, abolish gender-based violence and support home-based learning and monitoring activities.”
Learning materials she said were equally provided for the pupils, stressing that the project aimed at ensuring that children who were not reached during the lockdown period got an opportunity for catchup/remedial learning and that learning continued at home and in the community.
State Commissioner for Education, Prof. Uche Eze and the chairman of ENSUBEB, Ikeje Asogwa who were represented separately expressed the state government’s appreciation for the scheme, describing it as a well thought-out one.
Prof. Eze who was represented by the Director of Schools, Mrs. Ayogu Margret, said, “During the lockdown, we had pupils taught through the radios and television stations. But a lot of them didn’t have access to the media. That’s why this scheme was rolled out. Thank you for the number of pupils you were able to reach.”
ENSUBEB Secretary, Dr. Hyginus Eze who represented Asogwa described the choice of the two LGAs as best “because they are boundary communities with Ebonyi, Abia and Benue States which most times do not have access to radio signals in Enugu.”
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