By Hammed Shittu
A former Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi has tasked stakeholders in the education sector on the need to effect balance in the opportunity provided in the management of students in public and private schools in the country.
Abdullahi, who was also a former Commissioner for Education in Kwara State, stated this in Ilorin, during the spelling competition, organised for over 100 schools in the state, held at Queens School Hall, Ilorin.
The competition, which he sponsored, was jointly organised by the Saving Dreams Foundation.
According to Abdullahi, “the current situation where there is discrimination in the management of education sector would not yield positive results for the teeming youths.
“All our children either in the private or public schools, must be able to have access to quality education facilities without minding the parental capabilities of the students, as this would boost their academic excellence.
“Such access to the needed infrastructural facilities without minding the status of any student would assist them to attain their goals and this would go a long way to move education forward in the country.”
The former commissioner, who also awarded scholarship to six students that emerged winners, said the gesture was meant to boost the quality of education in the state.
Abdullahi announced university scholarship for the three winners in the senior secondary school category, while senior secondary school scholarship was awarded to winners in the junior secondary school category.
He said the need to effect balance in opportunity provided for students in private and public schools informed his decision to sponsor the event.
Abdullahi, who promised to make the championship an annual event to improve the education standard of the children, stressed the importance and power of good education.
He urged the students to study hard so that they could be useful to their parents, family and the community at large.
“I realise that education of children should not depend on economic status of their parents. This is causing imbalance in access to quality education in Nigeria.
“Meanwhile, nothing in my background suggested that I would be what I have achieved today except for quality education.
“I am being addressed as a former minister and commissioner today due to the power of education. That means you will have a very bigger opportunity if you study hard,” he said.
Also speaking, the founder of the foundation, Mr. Abdullateef Abdulkareem said the event was conceived to help improve the dwindling quality of education in the country.
He called for the upgrade of public schools to ensure that the students also gain quality education.
The competition, he said would improve the learning ability of the participants, particularly in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic that led to the closure of all schools.
Prof. Sulaiman Ambali of the University of Ilorin, who was the guest speaker, said education is synonynous with any development, hence it should not be taken with levity.
“No nation can develop more than its level of education and thereby every stakeholder must contribute to fulfill this thrust,” he said.
He commended the sponsor for his staunch belief in quality education.
At the end of the competition, Aminat Yahaya of University of Ilorin Secondary School won the first prize in the senior category, Sofiat Ayuba of the Federal Government College, Ilorin emerged second, while Turawa Kamaldeen of Ansar Islam Secondary School came third.
In the junior category, Abdulrahman Ridwanah of Government Day Secondary School, Okekere emerged the winner and Sanni Habidah of Government Girls Day Secondary School, Okesuna came second, while Mohammed Garba of Government Day Secondary School, Okelele came third.
The winners in the two categories went home with N50,000 while the first and second runners- up got N30,000 and N20,000 respectively.