Review national allocation to boost education, says Babalola
The founder, Bayo and Bunmi Babalola Foundation (BBBF), Sunday Babalola, has urged the three tiers of government to invest more in education by transforming public schools into genuine centre of learning and strengthen vocational training to promote self-employment among the youths.
Babalola, who spoke at the 2019/2020 edition of the scholarship award in Omu-Aran, Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara, lamented the state of some public schools in the country, calling on government to review the national revenue allocation formula to provide more funds for the education sector.
He frowned at the high level of poverty that has forced millions of children out of school.
Babalola, who is a retired Deputy Director in the Directorate of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the presiding Pastor at the City of Light Church, Surulere, Lagos, recalled the recent statement of Education Minister Adamu Adamu that more than 16 million school age children were out of school, blaming the increasing number of out-of-school children on poor funding of education by the states and federal government.
“It is a shame and indeed a national calamity for some children to be learning under the trees or sitting on bare classroom floors in 21st century Nigeria. There is need for the three tiers of government to invest more in education to transform our public schools into real centers of learning and character moulding while greater emphasis should be placed on vocational training to promote self-employment among the youths. In all developed economies, vocational skills are key to mass job creation and reduction of crime waves,” he said.
On his part, the Olomu of Omu-Aran, Oba Abdulraheem Adeoti, Olomu Efon II, lauded the philanthropic gestures of Babalola and his wife not only in the education sector but also in the provision of boreholes and other social amenities for many colleges and compounds in the town.
The Olomu urged other well-to-do people in the community to emulate the BBBF founder and the Elisha Fabiyi Foundation, which pioneered mass scholarship awards in the town about three decades ago.
Chairman, Co-ordinating Committee of BBBF, Pastor Oladele Ajiboye, a retired Principal of Ofe-Aran Commercial College, Omu-Aran, hinted that since the scholarship scheme debuted with N2 million in 2015, more than N30 million has been distributed to 1,013 students drawn from secondary schools and tertiary institutions.
Given the increasing number of applicants for the scholarship awards, Ajiboye said the foundation increased its vote to N6 million this year as against N5 million each in 2017 and 2018.
The cleric commended Engr. Sunday Adebayo Babalola and his wife, Pastor (Mrs) Bunmi Babalola, for their initiative and resolve to sustain the scholarship scheme in spite of daunting national economic challenges.
He explained that the scheme, which was initially limited to Omu-Aran indigenes, has been extended to all eligible citizens of Irepodun Local Government Area of the state.
“We have touched lives in as far as Egudu, Ajemgbe, Ilala, Arandun, Ajase-Ipo and Eleyeooka, among many others.
“Let us pray together with the Babalola family that this programme will not be limited to this local government but will be extended to Kwara South Senatorial District and the entire state in future,” he said.
The Chairman admonished the beneficiaries and their parents to ensure judicious use of the scholarship awards, stressing that it was basically designed to reduce their financial burden.
“The best you can do to appreciate the BBBF is to use the given money strictly for the purpose for which it was meant,” Pastor Ajiboye emphasized, adding: “the money being given to you by this foundation is not for cell phones or trainer shoes.”
The awards ranged between N20,000.00 each for secondary school students and N30,000.00 each for tertiary institution student.
In his remarks, the National President of Omu-Aran Development Association (ODA), Chief Bisi Adeyemi, described BBBF as a major promoter of educational development in the town and environs.
Chief Adeyemi, who was formerly the Registrar, Federal Polytechnic, Bida, advised the awardees to maximally utilise the opportunity offered them by excelling in their studies.
“You should all emulate the principle of hard work and the culture of giving back to the society which has assisted your growth and academic advancement,” he added.
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