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Black Jaguar Book Club Launches “Festival Of Knowledge Campaign”, Takes Book Reading To Public Primary Schools

Pupils of Station Primary School, Agbani, Enugu State.

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By Chelsea Chinenye

According to a recent report, primary school education in public schools in Enugu State is suffering from a severe literacy crisis. In fact, it has been discovered that 90% of primary six pupils in public primary schools are not able to read for meaning.

Ekulu Primary School in GRA Enugu has been cited as a prime example of just how grave the situation has become. Upon a research team’s visit, it was observed that most of the primary six pupils were functional illiterates. This means that while they were able to read words, they could not comprehend the content.

This distressing situation has been highlighted in the 2022/2023 Reading Research carried out by the BLACK JAGUAR BOOK CLUB. The findings of the report were released on June 23, 2023, and clearly indicate that the country is experiencing a devastating setback in the area of literacy- the foundation block for all education.

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As the situation continues to worsen and impact an increasing number of children, it is hoped that this crucial issue will receive the attention it so desperately needs. With this, there is hope that urgent actions will be taken to resolve the literacy crisis and give every child in Nigeria the opportunity to receive a proper education.

The results of the recently-released 2022/2023 Reading Research report indicate that the literacy crisis in Nigeria is far more widespread than previously believed. Extrapolating from data collected in Enugu State, the report estimates that a staggering 88% of primary six pupils in Nigeria’s public schools cannot read for meaning.

These alarming statistics have spurred the Founder of the BLACK JAGUAR BOOK CLUB, Onyema Okoani, to take action. The 2022/2023 Reading Research was coordinated by his organization, which aims to ensure that by the end of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) year 2030, all Nigerian children aged ten and older will be able to read for meaning.

As part of their efforts to promote literacy in Enugu-East Senatorial District of Nigeria, the Agbani Community-based Book Club has distributed over 4,000 new books and conducted 70 classroom programs in pursuit of SDG’s 4 (Quality Education). The group believes that cultivating a culture of reading should not be a difficult task, and that all Nigerian children should have access to quality education.

It is hoped that the findings of the 2022/2023 Reading Research report will serve as a wake-up call for policymakers and educators in Nigeria to address this critical issue. With the support of organizations such as the BLACK JAGUAR BOOK CLUB, it is possible to give every child in Nigeria the opportunity to learn to read and develop the skills they need to succeed in life.

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In light of the recent report on the literacy crisis in Nigerian primary schools, it has become increasingly apparent that early literacy education is of paramount importance. Research has shown that children must be taught how to read and comprehend what they have read from their early formative stages. When pupils are denied this ability and only pushed to learn when they reach secondary school, it becomes difficult for them to catch up with their peers who are successful learners.

To combat this issue, The BLACK JAGUAR BOOK CLUB is committed to engaging and transforming children in public schools into habitual readers, with the hope of increasing literacy rates across Nigeria. However, they have discovered that during their research, very few teachers in public schools actually enjoy reading or engage with literature themselves.

This presents a significant challenge, as a love for reading cannot be instilled in students if their teachers are not exhibiting that same passion for literature. It is a common knowledge that if the teacher is not reading himself, he can not encourage students to start reading.

However, the situation is different in some private primary schools in Enugu state. For instance, a particular school has implemented a program called “DEAR,” which stands for “Drop Everything And Read.” Every day, for the last half-hour before the school dismisses, everyone in the school – including teachers, headteachers, and other staff – is required to drop whatever they are doing and read. This has created an atmosphere where reading has become part of the school culture, and students are naturally motivated to read.

The BLACK JAGUAR BOOK CLUB believes that this revolutionary program can inspire a love of reading and drive up literacy rates in Nigeria’s public schools. It is essential that Nigerian educators and policymakers adopt such measures and prioritize early literacy education if they hope to address the literacy crisis in the country.

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The BLACK JAGUAR BOOK CLUB has reiterated the importance of reading amongst teachers in Nigeria’s primary schools. The organization believes that if teachers are not engaged in reading, it will ne impossible to instill the interest in their students. It is clear that in order to address the literacy crisis in the country, reading initiatives must be prioritized.

It is especially critical to encourage reading at an early age, and the BLACK JAGUAR BOOK CLUB is committed to providing age-appropriate reading materials that will appeal to children enough to keep them reading, even when they are not encouraged by their parents or teachers. The club’s picture book stories are designed to captivate the imagination and grasp their attention, making reading a leisurely activity and not a punishment.

The organization has called on the Federal Ministry of Education and their state counterparts to promote the reading and writing of children’s picture books in basic schools across Nigeria. Furthermore, they have urged public and private organizations, donor agencies, and private-minded individuals to aid them in their reading revolution by sponsoring a new campaign tagged “Festival of Knowledge” (Nkanu for Nigeria).

The campaign will involve the distribution of new storybooks titled “Adorable Dora” to every primary six pupil in public schools across Nigeria. For the paltry sum of ₦1,500 per child, they will receive a new book to take home, in the hope of cultivating a love of reading and increasing literacy rates across the country. The BLACK JAGUAR BOOK CLUB understands that reading at an early age can help build a foundation for academic success and hopes to contribute to this cause.

The BLACK JAGUAR BOOK CLUB has emphasized the significance of reading children’s picture books in boosting the literacy rates of primary school children. Such initiatives can help young learners grasp challenging concepts without necessarily experiencing them firsthand. Additionally, picture books introduce children to new vocabulary and promote language skills that can aid in grasping different subjects in secondary schools.

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Moreover, reports indicate that many children in public primary schools have never owned a book in their lives. BLACK JAGUAR BOOK CLUB is determined to rectify this situation by promoting book ownership to ignite a love for reading in young children.

In light of this mission, the club invites the public to assist a child in any public primary school in Nkanu East/West LGA to read and own a book (Adorable Dora). A new reading session is set to hold on Tuesday, June 27, 2023, at Ubia Primary School near Augustine Nnamani Law School, Agbani, Nkanu West LGA, Enugu State.

The BLACK JAGUAR BOOK CLUB hopes that this call to action will encourage more public and private organizations, donor agencies, and individuals to join the reading revolution and take steps towards improving the literacy rates among primary school children in Nigeria.

The BLACK JAGUAR BOOK CLUB has released the contact details of individual who is available to provide more information regarding sponsorship opportunities. Anyone interested in contributing to the book club’s cause is encouraged to reach out and support this initiative.

For further sponsorship details, please contact:

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Pupils of Station Primary School Agbani, Enugu State

  • Onyema Okoani at 0803 673 8205

The BLACK JAGUAR BOOK CLUB is committed to promoting literacy and increasing literary rates among primary school children. The club believes that early literacy education is fundamental in building a foundation for academic success and aims to make this accessible to children across Nigeria.

It is hoped that potential sponsors will heed the call and support the club’s mission to distribute Adorable Dora storybooks to primary six pupils in public schools across Nigeria. With the support of public and private organizations, donor agencies, and private-spirited individuals, Black Jaguar Book Club believes that it can bring about a positive change in the country’s poor literacy rates. GMTNews

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Education

A Nigerian, Oghenetega Ighedo is UNISA’s First Black Woman Professor of Pure Maths

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Oghenetega Ighedo

Nigerian born Professor of Pure Mathematics, Oghenetega Ighedo, is the first black woman to obtain a PhD in Pure Mathematics from the University of South Africa (UNISA), in its 149-year-long existence.

She also holds a Master of Science (MSc) in Pure Mathematics from the University of Ibadan and a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Industrial Mathematics from Delta State University, Nigeria.

Prof Oghenetega Ighedo is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of South Africa (UNISA).

“I was inspired by my mother – a retired maths teacher. I saw the way she was going about teaching it and when I grew older, I thought the way she did maths was interesting and I wanted to see if I could do it like her.”

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“My decision to study pure mathematics was also motivated by the fact that not only are there few black pure mathematicians but there are fewer black women who are pure mathematicians.”

“I encourage young women not to let adversity and challenges deter them. When I started my PhD I was already married, I had two children and was expecting my 3rd child. In spite of being a mother and a wife, I was able to complete my PhD within three years,” said Prof Oghenetega Ighedo.

~ womenpowerafricanetwork

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Education

Educators’ Platform: Nigerian teacher wins Facebook award

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Peter Ogudoro

Award comes with a one-month learning tour of the Scandinavian countries including Finland

A Nigerian teacher, Peter Ogudoro, has won an award by Facebook for developing a “most helpful and engaged educators’ platform called Nigerian Teachers.”

This is contained in a media release made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) by the platform, Nigerian Teachers.

In a statement released by the platform, the award by Facebook makes Mr Ogudoro a member of the multinational corporation’s elite group of 131 outstanding community managers in the world.

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The platform focuses on online teacher training and attitude modification, has over 240,000 teachers from around the world and provides free continuous professional development opportunities to them.

“The platform is a peer-support community for teachers who use the platform to follow trends in teaching, classroom management and school leadership.

“Parents also use the platform to learn effective parenting styles that enable them to collaborate with teachers for the global competitiveness of young people,” it said.

The statement said that the award was given under Facebook’s Community Accelerator programme, under which the awardees receive resource support to scale up their operations and promote engagement within their communities for a better world.

The Community Accelerator Programme was designed to guarantee about one year of sustained support for the award winners’ communities by Facebook.

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Mr Ogudoro created the group in 2016 as a positive response to the frustration he experienced while trying to get education policymakers in Nigeria to adopt and promote learner-centred approaches to teaching and effective career management systems.

It noted that Mr Ogudoro’s methods could save the country billions of dollars and make Nigeria a net exporter of educational services.

Mr Ogudoro expressed gratitude to Facebook for the award and revealed that he was scaling up the platform to help governments around the world to train and retrain teachers for globally competitive education.

“Through globally competitive education, we can deliver the pace of development that will banish poverty, and guarantee a more inclusive, prosperous, and harmonious world.

“I am excited about the fact that a powerful tool for the promotion of functional education in the world has come from Nigeria, a country that has been facing enormous development challenges for decades.

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“The award will provide me the platform for a one-month learning tour of the Scandinavian countries including Finland with a focus on their education system,” Mr Oguduro said.

Mr Ogudoro is an alumnus of the University of Reading in the United Kingdom where he earned a PhD in Education with emphasis on Career Management, Attitude Modification, and Diffusion of Innovations in Education.

He has also benefitted from elite education development experiences at over 10 research-intensive institutions across the world.

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Education

Senate recess: Senator Nnamani goes to school

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Senator Chimaroke Nnamani

The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has embarked on its 2021 annual recess. Barring any unforeseen circumstances that may warrant emergency resumption, the recess will last two months. It offers opportunity for the federal lawmakers to return to their constituencies to give account of their stewardship, retrospect or review the journey so far, in order to project into the future. This is ordinarily the norm.

However, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, representing Enugu East senatorial zone, a medical doctor and teacher, is taking a different perspective. While most senators embark on the vacation, Sen. Nnamani goes to Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) to teach in the Department of Physiology, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, College of Medicine. He will, however, do so pro bono.

In March 2020, the foremost state university appointed Sen. Nnamani as a visiting professor of physiology, obstetrics and gynaecology. This, ESUT said, was “in approval and recognition of his works, research and promotion of maternal and child health.”

The university’s registrar, Dr. Leonard O. Khama, confirmed this in the appointment letter to Sen. Nnamani.

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In the letter, the registrar told the senator that “as a visiting professor, your duties include block teaching, students’ supervision and research in your department and such other related assignments as are consistent with your status.”

Reacting, Sen. Nnamani said it was another window to contribute to the health sector by helping to train medical personnel and give back to society. The former two-term governor of Enugu State said: “I will make my contributions to the university using the available time during recess in Enugu to provide teaching, research and guidance to students.”

He said he would focus on maternal and foetal medicine, obstretrics, gynaecology and medical physiology as well as special clinical areas such as foetus surveillance and complications in pregnancy.

The appointment as a professor, he reiterated, was another opportunity to impart knowledge on the younger generation of healthcare providers bringing his American health system and Nigerian experiences to bear. The twin advantages, he said would enrich the knowledge of his students.

Sen. Nnamani, a graduate of the University of Nigeria, Enugu Medical School, is a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, diplomate of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and fellow of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria. He belongs to a number of professional societies such as the Society for Perinatal Obstetricians, American Society for Cell Biology and Society for Gynecologic Investigations, among others.

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It is to his credit as the governor of the Coal City State, between 1999 and 2007, that ESUT moved from the old campus in Enugu to its permanent site in Agbani, which he built. Sen. Nnamani also transformed the then Parklane Specialist Hospital into a modern and well equipped teaching hospital and college of medicine for ESUT.

It should be noted that, since his return to the Senate in 2019, Sen. Nnamani has made the issue of maternal and child health the centre of his legislative advocacy. He is also an unrepentant promoter of education for the girl-child. He is in the forefront of the campaign against violation of women and children’s rights.

He abhors all forms of discrimination against women such as early or forced marriage, child labour as well as obnoxious harmful cultural practices, including genital mutilation and denial of right to inheritance.

Informed decisions through sincere dialogue and legislative advocacy, Sen. Nnamani believes, would put Nigeria in a better stead for the good of all.

Hate or love him, Sen. Nnamani is a phenomenon, an ideas man and an irrepressible stakeholder in the politics of Enugu State since the return of democratic rule. His Ebeano political empire has continued to produce the state governors, senators and virtually all the political office holders in the Coal City state, since 1999.

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Even in the forthcoming 2023 general election, it is almost certain that the Ebeano family would dictate the pace in Enugu politics, based on the unfolding political dynamics. Nnamani unarguably holds sway. (Sun)

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