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HomeEducationLET’S TURN IT AROUND: AN EDUCATIONAL PANACEA FOR NIGERIANS

LET’S TURN IT AROUND: AN EDUCATIONAL PANACEA FOR NIGERIANS

… A Platform To Rekindle Reading Culture In Our Youth

Ukpong UKPONG

There is a consensus that one of the major reasons why quality of products from Nigerian educational system is on steady decline is increasing apathy among the younger generation to reading books. They seem to be more concerned about meeting immediate challenges of living in an environment fraught with uncertainty and neglect to read since it demands concentration.
This poor attitude towards reading has great impact on overall national development and must be turned around through innovations that are contemporary and interactive so as to keep youths engaged.
While waiting for complete overhaul of the Nigeria’s archaic school curriculum, there are concepts developed by indigenous experts in education engineering, which could prove to be very interactive, engaging young minds and rekindling their interest in reading books.
One of such concepts has been developed by Sterling Edu-Consult, to contribute towards attracting young people back to their books and to the vast knowledge they need to be empowered to function optimally as citizens of the country and subsequently as leaders of tomorrow.
Being aware that government alone with its educational policies cannot successfully encourage reading culture in youths, the is determined to reconnect young people to their books and salvage the falling standard of education.
This response is to curb yearly cycle of announcing abysmal results in national examinations, growing cases of examination malpractice, poorly trained and unemployable graduates. As a matter of fact, the country stands to lose an entire generation to mass illiteracy these urgent steps are not taken to scale back the menace of lack of interest in reading.
According to the National Coordinator of Sterling-Consult, Mr. Benson S. Umoh, this national emergency is such that affects both public and private sector, as such there is need for intervention through collaborations between these sectors to tackle the situation and find a lasting solution to a common problem.
“We must make our people understand that the age we are in is driven by knowledge so we should do things differently to thrive, gone are the days when brute strength equaled success, today mental strength has taken over the world.
“This is the beginning in a series of projects envisioned to empower the people and contribute towards development of the country.
“Akwa Ibom is a launch pad of this innovative project, which started far back 2007 and has garnered endorsements and partnership from federal government specifically the Federal Ministries of Education, Federal Ministry of Information, Culture, Tourism and Social Orientation, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, Consumer Protection Council and National Orientation Agency. It is patented and registered with Corporate Affairs Commission”, Umoh revealed.
He maintained that Let’s Turn It Around is in line with the Akwa Ibom State government’s ‘dakkada’ philosophy since it is aimed at spurring the psyche of the people to rise up above every form of limitation to attain greatness.
“The future is here, a brighter future where our citizens become captains of industry, CEOs of conglomerates, and accomplished technocrats via gainful information. So, Let’s Turn It Around is only coming to buttress what Governor Udom Emmanuel is doing”.
Benson is enthusiastic that in a couple of years ‘Let’s Turn It Around’ will not only be a household name, but would have contributed immensely to reawakening the reading culture of Nigerians.
“The notion that black people don’t read is an insult on us because the best brains in most fields of endeavour are blacks, and we intend to add value to our young minds and empower the intellectually to prove such notion wrong.
“We will use the internet to impact gainful knowledge to our youths so that rather than spending time on junk online, they are given access to be educated because of the incentives attached to this project”.
“If our youths are keen on copying star artistes like Tuface, P-Square and others on televisions and internet, why should they not be attracted and given incentives to imbibe knowledge that will be relevant to their future accomplishments?” He quipped.
Let’s Turn It Around is thus created to reward participants from 9 years and above for reading. It is structured as a reality program online platform where Nigerians particularly, youths are directed to selected book of the month and pages under consideration from which questions are asked and those that answer correctly are rewarded.
Already, the online platform accounts “READ AND GET REWARDED” has recorded over 2million likes, 1.2 million visits and over 500, 000 active participants on both facebook and twitter, making it Nigera’s most interactive educational online portal.
Further on the reward mechanism, Umoh hinted that “the ICT Unit of Sterling Edu-Consult sends rewards, in form of airtime recharge, directly to winners via their facebook messenger; there are testimonies by Nigerians that have won these awards”.
Explaining further on the program content, Benson disclosed that the books used are approved by the Federal Ministry of Education and are used in setting national and international examinations like NECO, JAMB and WAEC; the books are free to download once the intending participant clicks on www.readandgetrewarded.com for free registration and access to participate in the online educational game.
Also speaking on logistics for an upcoming reality television version of Let’s Turn It Around and partnerships, Mr. Canice Ezirim, the executive secretary of the company, noted the huge interest the program has generated so far.
He however lamented that due to lack of the know-how on accessing proper information on the internet that should teach our youths to build their lives and career they have turned into a gambling generation, fritting away their time and meager resources on foreign bet companies.
“Our youths are looking for what to excite them and earn them a living wage, and where there is none they rely on platforms that promote chance over hard work. Surely, Let’s Turn It Around is redirecting the minds of our youths toward seeking gainful knowledge for the survival of our nation, and the essence of reading a book goes beyond the reward we provide to positively affect the mind of our youths .”
He emphasized the primacy of knowledge, adding that in order to make it more attractive and competitive, the company is going beyond rewarding with recharge card to doling out scholarships, overseas leisure trips and other forms of reward. To achieve this they have opened their doors for more partnerships.
“We are open to government ministries and agencies, non-governmental organizations, NGOs with similar objectives, foreign donor agencies like USAID, UNICEF, Ford foundation, Gates foundation and others interested in pulling humanity out of the doldrums and empowering them to function in society.”
“Most state governments in particular should be interested in this project because educating the minds of these youths will affect their productivity, reduce crime and build responsible citizens, we are happy that Akwa Ibom state government understands this”.

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