151 pupils from six primary schools in Nyiev Tiev Baraku Educational District, Benue State, Nigeria became the first beneficiaries of Sesôr Foundation’s Educational Support Programme following the payment of their First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC) fees.
The beneficiaries and their families, who had gathered at the Nyiev Primary School, Ichol in Kwande Local Government Area, Benue State on 7th December, 2011 to witness Sesôr make the announcement, were excited to be recipients of this support.
Aondowase, one of the beneficiaries in Primary Six, said, “I am very happy to be counted among those Sesôr has chosen to assist. I will continue my education till I become someone so that their work today will not be a waste”.
Community elder and a guardian of another beneficiary, Mr. Tyohon thanked Sesôr, saying, “ I have been living in this community all my life (63 years) but have never witnessed an occasion of such joy that has touched so many families. May God continue to provide for Sesôr so that others like us will continue to benefit”.
Speaking at the event, Sesôr’s Benue State Programme Manager, Ms. Tracy Shima, noted that the importance of education for children and our communities could not be overstated and urged every member of the Kwande community at home and abroad to think of how they could make their own contributions towards ensuring that all children attend and stay in school. She thanked Sesôr’s supporters for making the programme possible and stressed the Foundation’s commitment to working to empower individuals in communities so they can lead productive lives and contribute to societal growth and development.
The FSLC is an important certificate in Nigeria. It proves that the holder is literate and has undergone primary education. It is required for certain clerical jobs and is also a basic requirement for entry into junior secondary school. The Federal Government had, in 1999, restructured the educational system from 6-3-3-4 to 9-3-4 and included Universal Basic Education (UBE) where every child is to undergo 6 years of primary education and then spend a further 3 years in junior secondary school.
While UBE is free, pupils are still required by various school districts to cover some administrative fees at the end of the first six years in order to obtain their FSLC. Sesôr’s research found that pupils in primary schools may need to pay anywhere between Naira 220 – Naira 3000 before they can obtain their FLSC. These fees, which are the cost of a dinner for many city dwellers in Nigeria, may be too high for families in rural areas and could cause a child to drop out of the school system after 6 years of primary education without their FSLC.
Sesôr started operations in 2009 and is piloting its work in the Nyiev community in Kwande Local Government. Sesôr kicked off its work by providing relief materials in 2010 to families in the Nyiev community affected by the 2009 Nyiev-Nanev communal crisis. Sesôr believes in teaching communities and individuals how to fish instead of simply giving them fish.