Over 15,000 pupils and students in Anambra West Council Area of Anambra State have benefitted from the 2020 Anambra West Back to School Program.
The initiative which is sponsored by the member of Anambra State House of Assembly representing Anambra West Constituency, is targeted at assisting poor parents, foot the educational requirements of their children.
With its over 17 communities, Anambra West represents one of the topmost educationally-disadvantaged Local Government Areas in Anambra state, with very high poverty index.
At a ceremony to mark the 2020 edition of the program held at Umueze Anam, the school children were presented with educational materials of various kinds.
The Sponsor, Patrick Obalum-Udoba said the program which has become an annual event, focuses to address the challenge of lack of access to education which most children in the area face.
He said, “I started this initiative when I was the transition committee chairman for the Local government, having underscored the place of education in building a virile society. Over the years, we have provided succour to parents most of whom are peasant farmers in their efforts to send their wards to school. In the coming years, we hope to expand the frontiers of this initiative to accommodate more persons.”
Obalum-Udoba further urged government at all levels to devise more pragmatic initiatives to promote education in hard-to-reach parts of Nigeria as this will help ease the burden of poverty in those areas.
“Illiteracy and poverty are somehow connected and over time, it has been proved that with the right education and knowledge, societies have been unshackled the bondage of poverty. This is what government should look towards especially for our people who are disadvantaged in a lot of areas,” he noted.
Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano who was represented at the event by his Senior Special Assistant on Tertiary Education, Gloria Oguguo revealed that to encourage education in the hard-to-reach areas, his government has increased incentives to the teachers.
He assured that the State Government will partner the legislator to make the initiative yield better results.
“Education is a major enabler for my administration and that is why we have invested heavily in the sector. What Hon Obalum-Udoba has done is highly commendable and we will do whatever we can to advance the initiative,” Obiano promised.
The Education Secretary for the Local Government, Joseph Udeoba while commending the legislator for instituting the program, urged others to emulate him.
He also made a case for the recruitment of more teachers in the local government for effective teaching and learning.
“In Anambra West, we are short-staffed in terms of teachers. Even those posted to the hard-to-reach areas are unwilling to come here. We appeal that more teachers be employed in our council area, if best practices in education are to be achieved here,” Udeoba said.