Foundation seeks support for Public Education; holds Quiz Competition in Lagos.

Some education experts have called on well-meaning individuals and organisations to support the federal and state governments to improve the quality of education by adopting schools or funding programmes to improve teaching and learning.

They made the call at the 2023 Lagos State Children’s Quiz Competition for Junior Secondary School Students oragnised by the Queen Irene Onwuka Peace Foundation with the support of the Federal and Lagos State Governments at the University of Lagos, Akoka, with the theme, “Educating the Nigerian Child Importance of Peaceful Coexistence.”

Against the backdrop of trending issues of drug abuse, bullying, and gangsterism in the entertainment industry, the educators at this year’s Lagos State Children’s Quiz Competition said that proper education could help to shape the future of children and that the job should not be left alone for the government.

In a keynote address, the Permanent Secretary in the Lagos State Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Mr Abimbola Abolaji, represented by the Director of Special Duties and Innovation, Mr Olufemi Asaolu, said most children attended public schools and that the government could only do its bits to impact the lives of the children.

Mr Asaolu added that well-meaning individuals should support the government to tackle issues of drug abuse and gangsterism that had reared their ugly heads in the entertainment industry.

“When we talk about drug abuse, children are not taking it in the corner. They are taking it along the streets, and people are there looking at them. So, correcting them, training them is the job of everybody. As a team we must train the children if we want a better society,” said Mr Asaolu.

The immediate past Commissioner for Education in the state, Mrs Folashade Adefisayo, lauded the quiz competition, saying it helped the children to improve their critical thinking.

“It is of immense value because it deepens their curriculum and they are learning. It looks like fun; it is an engaging way of learning,” the Commissioner said.

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Professor Folasade Ogunsola, represented by the University Librarian, Professor Yetunde Saheed, said education plays a major role in a child’s development, and children should be taught the importance of healthy competition.

The organiser of the quiz competition, a United Nations Peace Ambassador, Queen Irene Onwuka, founder of the Queen Irene Onwuka Foundation, said beyond donating school items to disadvantaged students, the competition aimed to improve the student’s self-esteem and imbibe them with the belief that they too could achieve great things.

She said, “Peaceful coexistence is very important. We are preaching one Nigeria. We should not allow tribalism and religious conflicts to divide us. And for children, we should teach these things at a life shaping age when information is absorbed the most. At this early stage, they would have that mindset of growing together and building that Nigeria we are praying for.”

Twenty public junior secondary schools across the six education districts of Lagos State participated in the quiz competition, with Oriwu Junior College Ikorodu walking away with the first prize of one million naira, Unity Junior Secondary School Oshodi came second with five hundred-thousand-naira cash prize, while Ajao Estate Junior Grammar School Isolo bagged the third position and went home with three hundred-thousand-naira cash prize.

Master Lemboya Abdulrahim, who led Oriwu Junior College Ikorodu to the top prize, congratulated fellow contestants and said he was proud of his feat. Side attractions at the competition included spoken word poetry and a cultural performance.

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