Advocating use of local languages in the education system

Published in Vanguard newspaper on June 13, 2016
NIGERIANS have advocated for the adoption of major local languages in the country as official languages for teaching and learning to ensure proper assimilation of subjects by students. The participants at a one day seminar on Skills Building, Career Mentoring and Development for students in Government Secondary School in Nigeria agreed that solving language barrier in learning process would go a long way to improve standard of education and enhance value orientation.

Mr Obasi Sunday, one of the participants at the seminar organised by the Skills Outside School Foundation in Abuja told Vanguard in an interview that use of local languages in teaching and learning by countries like China, India, etc. facilitated their advancement socially and technologically. According to him, “If Nigeria continues in the light of what we are doing today we are not going to see the light of the day in terms of advancement.” The Programme Manager of SOS, Bar. Ann Eze, noted that several factors contributed to the poor standard of education in the country. She maintained that every child in Nigeria is talented, disagreeing with the submission by some quarters that Nigerian graduates are not employable. Ann, who explained that the workshop was to equip growing up students with requisite knowledge needed to assist them in choosing their long-lasting career, disclosed that the foundation would still give scholarship to disadvantaged bright students

For more information, contact:
Skills Outside School Foundation Communications Team
E-mail [email protected]

The 2014 Bridge Program

Published in News Ghana on December 20, 2014
To pose a long-term solution to the challenge of youth unemployment in Nigeria and the pervasive disconnect between employable skills and the demands of the ‘Alternative Labour Market’ i.e. the private and the third sector – Private Organisations, Multilateral agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations, the Skills Outside School Foundation was founded by Miss Halima Ibrahim Abba during her NYSC year in June 2014 to provide Employability Skill building, Career Mentoring and Scholarship opportunities to disadvantaged youth in Nigeria. The projects by the foundation run for free for bright motivated deserving disadvantaged youth in Government Secondary Schools on the basis that they lack access to opportunities and funding though are very bright and deserving. The foundation was also inspired by the premise that most unemployment intervention programs are targeted at university graduates where very little can be done to enhance employment prospects and are run for a fee which many disadvantaged youth cannot afford. The foundation’s projects are currently based in Abuja with a rollout program to other states including Ogun State currently in the pipeline. The foundation has ambitious goals of providing regional interventionist programs to tackle youth unemployment drivers peculiar to various regions in Nigeria through job enhancement opportunities, funding and entrepreneurship opportunities.

Selection of participants is through a rigorous merit based process that involves interviews, recommendations from head teachers and academic excellence. Diversity considerations – gender and geopolitical zone are also accounted for to ensure a balanced group.

The flagship project of the Foundation tagged ‘The Bridge Project’ commenced as a group community development service project deployed by three Corps members – Ms Halima Ibrahim Abba, Ms Hauwa Ibrahim and Ms Amina Jibrin. The pilot was conducted from February 2014 to September 2014 for 20 select Government Senior Secondary School students in Jabi and Wuse Zone 3 Abuja. The program involved three aspects:

1. Soft skill building workshops – communication, teamwork, leadership, problem solving and commercial awareness over 10 weeks with trainers.

2. A professional mentoring program where each participant is assigned a professional mentor to provide them with on-going career support, mentoring and guidance. A Career Mentoring Open Day in May 2014 with 25 professional mentors providing one-on-one advice to each of the participants provided a chance for the participants to discuss their career interests with industry experts. The foundation supports all career interests range from professional careers such as in Engineering, Law and Medicine to niche careers such as media and performance arts and innovative entrepreneurship.

3. An Inter-School Competition in September 2014 organised for the participants with the theme: “Nigeria and Us, A Social Challenge, A Possible Solution”. Each team presented their solution to a social challenge chosen and developed by them over the project cycle. The presentations ranged from topics on Exam Malpractice, Gender Parity, Achieving a regulated housing market in Abuja, to Impractical education and inadequate reading culture: focus on laboratories and libraries. The winning team of five participants from GSS Wuse Zone 3 received computer tablets and their education sponsored to the end of secondary school including WAEC, NECO and JAMB fees; while the tuition fees of other participants would be paid by the foundation for a year.

The foundation continues to monitor the progress of the 20 participants through a robust monitoring and evaluation process to follow them into tertiary institutions where more advanced training will be offered through the SOS Careers Program. The SOS Careers Program will provide access to networking events, CV and cover letter drafting skills, mock interview skills sessions, technical and soft skills training, career simulation games/exercises and professional development training. This program will also aid in placing the participants in internships, shadowing opportunities and insight days in various industries to develop the participants’ commercial awareness and competence skills. Thereafter, participants will be connected with independent recruitment advisers and recruitment organisations such as Career Solutions Africa, the foundations’ key partner for placement into the appropriate jobs. The Foundation is running the bridge project for 2015 with 60 students from GSS Jabi, Wuse Zone 3 and Garki. 

Funding is provided through the Sponsor-A-Child Scheme where donors are encouraged to sponsor participants of the bridge project who require assistance to complete their secondary education or who are unable to further their education to tertiary institutions due to financial and social reasons.

There are several ways to get involved with the Foundation including becoming a professional career mentor, donating to the Sponsor-A-Child scheme, becoming a member, partnering for the SOS Careers Program, providing contacts to Government Secondary Schools to participate in the program, providing technical partnerships and in-kind sponsorship. Contact us at [email protected] for further details.

For more information, contact:
Skills Outside School Foundation Communications Team
E-mail [email protected]

SOSF COLLABORATES WITH UNICEF, OTHERS ON INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL CELEBRATION

Published on Legit.ng on 10th October 2019

Skills Outside School Foundation (SOSF) is partnering with the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to deploy life and leadership skills training to primary and secondary school girls in the Federal Capital Territory and Kano State during the Girls for Girls Conference, running from 7th-11th October, 2019.

This collaboration is in commemoration of the International Day of the Girl as this year’s theme is, “Girl Force: Unscripted and unstoppable’.

With over 200 participants in both states, the aim of this training is to build self-consciousness in the girls and empower them with 21st century skills for global relevance through break out and practical sessions revolving around communication, critical thinking, teamwork, leadership and employability.

SOSF Senior Program Manager, Maureen Chukwuemeka says, “As a partner in this year’s celebration, we are glad that we have the opportunity to impart relevant skills on these young girls. Considering the pivotal role that women play in society, it is urgent that we empower girls for a brighter future. According to UNICEF statistics, about 50% of Northern girl-children are out of school, especially those of primary school age. This is why conferences such as this one, are important but beyond that, the demand for those who can proffer innovative solutions is on the rise. Hence, the need to equip these girls with 21st century leadership and life skills.”

Therefore, the conference as a whole, features sessions on:

1. The role of education in the life of a Nigerian girl: Overcoming distractions in school and being focused

2. Overcoming challenges and living for a brighter tomorrow

3. Creating consciousness in key duty bearers on their responsibilities in ensuring appropriate investments in girls’ education

4. Building self-esteem, self-control and keeping safe in our environment

5. Advocating free and quality compulsory education for all girls across Africa

The expected outcomes include:

1. Girls are enlightened on the impact of education and how to deal with challenges

2. Consciousness is raised in the girls on who they are and they should aim to attain maximum potentials.

3. Clear communication on improved attention to the education of Nigerian girls

4. Clear understanding of the status of girls in Nigeria. Girls are exposed on how to deal with challenges.

5. More girls are able to get access to education

This conference is also a call for solidarity on the struggle for 12 years of uninterrupted schooling for girls. As such, it will culminate in march/rally in Abuja on the 11th of October under the leadership of Pauline Tallen, Minister of Women Affairs.

SKILLS OUTSIDE SCHOOL FOUNDATION JOINS OTHER CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS TO INCORPORATE LIFE SKILLS INTO UNICEF COMPREHENSIVE TRAINING MANUAL

As a measure to entrench life skills in mainstream Nigerian education, the Skills Outside School Foundation (SOSF) has joined other non-profits and civil society organizations to work with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-formal Education (NMEC) towards integrating these core skills into a comprehensive training manual, for deployment across select states of the Federation.

In a 4-day regional network meeting held at Lafiya, Nasarawa state, between February 12th and February 15th 2020, 35 stakeholders drawn from various states such as Abuja, Niger, Zamfara, Katsina, Kebbi, Gombe focused on incorporating 12 life skills into the Girls for Girls, He for She and mentorship programs. These skills include communication, creativity, problem-solving and critical thinking, amongst others.

The meeting was geared towards:

  • Building an understanding of core transferable life skills and agreeing on the modalities of integrating them into the training manuals
  • Collectively developing the modules for the training manuals
  • Reviewing existing manuals and incorporating additional relevant skills
  • Presenting the final version of the training manuals and planning for the training of the life skill trainers

In the course of the meeting, SOSF led the stakeholders to understand monitoring techniques and how to track program impact as well as a model for deploying activity-based learning, harping on the fact that the quality of trainers determines the quality of the overall training.

Maureen Chukwuemeka, Senior Program Manager of Skills Outside School Foundation notes, “Understanding the pivotal role these skills play in the lives of young children ,especially those in primary and secondary schools, Skills Outside School Foundation is excited to be part of this project because we believe that with UNICEF rolling out life skills as a key component of its program in various communities, the competencies that young people need in today’s world will be readily available to them.

Therefore, we believe that our work with the UNICEF in the past four days will go a long way in equipping the younger generation for work and life. These are skills neglected by the education system in this country and so we are arming with these young ones with opportunities that the older generation did not have.”

With the regional network meeting over, SOSF is set to work with the UNICEF in the coming weeks for the training of trainers who will eventually deploy the program using the comprehensive training manual.

To this end, Skills Outside School Foundation remains committed to providing education, employability and entrepreneurship interventions that impact individuals in our global economy.

Signed by:

Angela Umoru

Media and Communications Officer

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