Lagos has won the South West draw of the 2015 edition of the Ovie Brume foundation literacy competition. Lagos took the lead with a total of 50 points while Oyo state came second with 49 points.
Twelve pupils from schools in Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, and Ekiti states, who participated in the regional competition, were grilled in spelling of words, correct usages and phonetics.
While Ogun’s representatives scored 48, their counterparts from Ekiti and Ondo scored 45 each. Osun garnered 26 marks.
Then foundation also advocated an improved reading culture among primary and secondary pupils.
The Executive Director, OBF, Mrs. Iwalola Akin-Jimoh, said the research carried out by the foundation in some primary schools in the country showed that many pupils could neither read nor write.
She said the organisation administered questionnaires in the schools and their pupils found it difficult to read and comprehend the message.
Akin-Jimoh said this prompted the foundation to procure books in partnership with LafargeHolcim, while it also organised reading sessions with the pupils.
She said, “We have been to different schools and we have noticed that significant numbers of students in these schools cannot read and write.
“We administered questionnaires and some of them could not even read them nor write some of the responses. So, we discovered that this gap needs to be closed.
“What we decided to do is to bring books into schools, read with the kids, make sure they learn new words, keep journals of new words and learn how to use them.
“We did that for about two years in order to find out the literacy level of the kids. So, from a level of zero literacy level, it went up between nine and 63 where they are able to read and able to write.
“We formed a partnership with Lafarge because Lafarge has volunteers that have the capacity to go into the communities to work and also spend time with the children.”
Akin-Jimoh said the grand finale of the competition would hold in October, where winners from five other regions, and the one from the South-West, would vie for honour.
The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Mrs Olabisi Ariyo, advised the participants to continue to read their books.
She said, “You must strive to know something about everything. Do not limit your knowledge to what you have learnt in the classroom.
“Do not be a fish in the well that is limited by space.”
Ariyo, represented by an official from the ministry, Mr. Babatunde Onbekun, also appealed to administrators and other teachers to show more commitment towards meeting the educational needs of their pupils.