Education is one of the core areas of the Nigerian society close to our heart as a Foundation. We believe very strongly in the value of a sound educational foundation in setting one up for success in life generally.
As a Foundation, because education especially for the grassroots communities is very close to our heart, we launched this Reading Competition as a part of our activities in commemorating the International Day of Education this year. This Project which is part of the larger Neoteric Engagement Project is part of our commitment and contribution to grassroots communities, particularly the youths, in the area of education.
The main goal of this Reading Competition is to start to create a desire for reading among early learners at the primary school level. Good readers from as early as primary education will make for great life-long learners that will be most beneficial to the society.
How did we come about the school? We understand that lofty as our Project is, we needed to start somewhere and then scale up. We chose a township community in one of the grassroots communities in Enugu State, called Ibeagwa.
We then embarked on a journey around the area surveying primary schools. We came upon 3 schools and were warmly received in just one of the 3 schools and that was the school we eventually settled for. We noted a hesitation on the parts of the schools once we mentioned that we were an NGO. We would later learn from the school where we carried out the competition that the reason for the hesitation was because NGOs have in the past acted in a manner that was not too forthright in their dealings with them.
Having found the school and obtained their permission to carry out the competition, we also obtained the permission of the parents for their children to take part in the competition. 43 parents consented for their children to take part in the competition. With the parental consent obtained, the stage was now set for the Competition. The students were visibly excited, as were we.
The Competition ran over a period of two days and was spread across Primaries 1 through to 6. The questions chosen were picked taking into account the stage of learning of each class. The first day was a written comprehension test which gave them comprehension passages with questions. This component of the competition was meant to test their ability to comprehend simple passages. (See some pictures of participants in this stage below)
From the written comprehension, we then marked and shortlisted the number to students who made 40 out of 50 and above, for the final round. 15 students out of the 43 made the cut and moved on to the next and final stage which was held on the second day.
This final stage tested the reading capacity of the shortlisted students. They were required to read the written comprehension they had answered the day before. The students read their own scripts. As they read, we were testing their fluency and phonemic awareness as well as their vocabulary. The students were so impressive and did excellently well; a testament to the quality of education the school is giving them. Watch the video of this leg of the competition here.
Up to this point, we had not revealed what the prize(s) we had come with was. The School kept asking us what we would be giving out and we simply told them small tokens of educational materials. We told them that the point of the competition was not the prizes but the principle we wanted to impact and so we don’t want anyone thinking there is a bonanza to cash out of. The reason why we did this is to ensure that only serious students who loved reading, for the sake of reading and not because there was money involved, took part in the competition. It is those particular students who are in love with reading for its sake that we want to invest in because they are the ones who can sustain the passion for reading and life-long learning.
So what was the prize or prizes?? DRUMROLLL!!!! We were giving out 5 scholarships for 2 terms!!! Thus 5 learners will receive fully paid up scholarships for 2 terms of school this year. The School and parents could not believe it when we unveiled this as the prizes. And you can tell that those who consented for their children to participate and whose children won the prizes were glad they gave their consent.
Having heard the shortlisted 15 read their comprehension passages and marked them, we had the unenviable task of having to pick out only 5 top readers out of the 15. It was not the easiest of tasks and had we enough finances we would have loved to give a scholarship to all 15 shortlisted students. There was however one learner that captured our heart and who we just had to look for an extra N5,000 to give her to encourage her. This was Chioma, the only Primary 1 student who made it to the semi-finals and who read so well that she was number 6 on the final list. The N5,000 was applied towards her school fees for the term.
It was deeply rewarding giving out the scholarships. Putting a smile on the faces of the learners and their parents made the whole Project very worthwhile. We chose scholarships because we learnt that the parents of several students were unable to pay the school fees and we thought what better way to help than alleviate that burden, should their child perform well in the competition. While it may not be much, we hope that this little seed in the lives of these children in this grassroots community will go a significant way in contributing to their future. For the rest of the students of the school, we gave them all an 80-leaves exercise book each, to remember our visit even as they write on it. For the 15 semi-finalists, they got 2 exercise books.
Finally, this Project would not have been the success that it was without 3 formidable members of our team whose tireless efforts saw these wonderful results – The Team Lead on the Neoteric Engagement Education Project, God’sgrace C. Ifezue, The Director of Programs and Project, Emmanuel I. Igwe and the ED, God’sglory Ifezue. The 3 exemplify the fact that you don’t need a large team to make impact and deliver excellently. You just need the right people, with the right energy and the right drive. The Foundation thanks them immensely for their contribution towards the success of the Project.
We would also like to thank all our donors and sponsors whose donations and contributions went a long way in making this Project a reality. Many thanks to Sandra Oge, Janet O. Darko, Mrs. Igwe, Godwin Ifezue, Godsgrace Ifezue (who is also the team lead on the Project), Emmanuel Ifeanyi Igwe (who is also the Director of Programs and Project), and of course our Founder and Executive Director, God’sglory Ifezue.
We thank the School Proprietor and management of Pneumalife Mission Academy for giving us the chance to make impact in their community. We also want to thank them immensely for the excellent work they are doing with their students and hope that they keep it up. The quality of the students we saw is evidence they are doing an amazing work in ensuring quality education for the children living in the grassroots community of Ibeagwa Nike, Enugu State.
You can also check out details of this competition across all our social media platforms – Instagram here; Twitter here; Facebook here; and LinkedIn here. Don’t forget to also like and follow us across these platforms.
2 thoughts on “Investing in Grassroots’ Basic Education – The Glory Ifezue Foundation Early Readers Primary School Competition.”
Wow! That’s an elaborate rendering of what actually happened, and we once more thank GloryIfezue Foundation for making it happen in our school, Pneumalife Mission Academy, Ibagwa Nike, Enugu. The children, their parents and in fact, the entire school are yet to get over the euphoria.
_Rev. Ujam Precious Jude
You’re welcome Sir 😊🙏 It was indeed a pleasure. Thank you for your very encouraging response and we continue to wish you and the school the very best and a blessed and productive year. We have no doubt that your students will go on to be excellent Nigerians and do you and the school proud. Keep up the great work Sir and God bless 😊🙏