In marking the third International Day of Education on Sunday, UN Secretary-General, António Guterres paid tribute to the resilience of students, teachers and families in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic that, at its peak, forced almost every school, institute and university to close its doors.
Although this disruption has led to learning innovations, he said, it has also dashed hopes of a brighter future among vulnerable populations.
The National Association of Seadogs (NAS) a.k.a Pirates Confraternity, has distributed100 pieces of uniforms and writing materials to Government Primary School Ikot Ndua Iman/Ikot Nkan in Onna, Akwa Ibom on Saturday.
This benevolence was made by its President, Eket Chapter, Mr Paul Ike, who said the gesture was in commemoration of the International Day of Education, in Onna local government council of Akwa Ibom state.
“We want to identify with you in this year’s International Day of Education and to encourage you to take your education seriously.
“Don’t play with your education, ensure you read your books, listened to your teachers and parents because you are the leaders of tomorrow,” he said.
And continuing, the UN helmsman said, “When education is interrupted, it affects everyone”, he said, and “all of us pay the price”, stressing that education is the foundation for expanding opportunities, transforming economies, fighting intolerance, protecting our planet and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
And with that in mind, the UN chief said that as the world continues to battle the pandemic, education – as a fundamental right and a global public good – must be protected to avert a generational catastrophe.
Even before the pandemic, some 258 million children and adolescents were out of school, the majority of them, girls. Indeed, more than half of 10-year-olds in low- and middle-income countries were not learning to read a simple text.
“In 2021, we must seize all opportunities to turn this situation around. We must ensure the full replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education fund, and strengthen global education cooperation”, the Secretary-General explained.
“We must also step up our efforts to reimagine education – training teachers, bridging the digital divide and rethinking curricula to equip learners with the skills and knowledge to flourish in our rapidly changing world”, he said, adding: “Let us commit to promote education for all — today and every day.”
Ike observed that about 70 per cent of the pupils of the school, do not have uniforms while some are wearing torn uniforms, adding that the initiative was the association’s little way of contributing to the development of the economy, as education was very important to any nation.
“For schools we have not visited, we will visit them in subsequent edition as we encourage schools to take their education seriously.
“Our assistance cuts across, primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. This gesture doesn’t end with providing school uniforms, writing materials but we also go to some schools and work on infrastructure that has dilapidated,” he added.
Responding on behalf of the Teachers, Mr Etukudoh Essien, thank the association for the gesture, saying the benevolence and love towards the pupils of the government primary school was commendable.
“Your benevolence is so much that we really appreciate it because so many of these pupils, their parents can not afford their uniforms but your kind gesture and love to the pupils is appreciated.
“Please consider those who have not benefitted in your gesture to ensure that all the pupils are carried along in your next coming,” he pleaded.