In line with her drive to curb illiteracy, promote academic excellence and to reduce the number of school drop-outs, Adetoun Akitoye, the Author of the book: “How Students Can Fly in Colours” started the journey with the distribution of free copies of the Book to students across Nigeria. Granted by her, she is driven by the passion to improve the learning standards of students in Public Schools. She was inspired to write and publish this book as a Corper posted to teach in a Community School in 2015.
“Literacy arouses hope, not only in society as a whole but also in the individual who is striving for fulfilment, happiness and personal benefit by learning how to read and write. Literacy… means far more than learning how to read and write… The aim is to transmit… knowledge and promote social participation.” – UNESCO Institute for Education, Hamburg, Germany
Statistics (by UNICEF) have it that approximately 10.5million children are out of school in Nigeria of which 60% are girls. This figure makes Nigeria part of the country with the highest number of students who are out of school in the world. As remarked by the Federal Ministry of Education to flag off the 2015 World Literacy Day, it is worthy of note that 54million Nigerians are illiterates.
Supported by the Give-To-Schools Team of Mademoiselle Foundation, led by Adebayo Ajayi, she launched the Give-To-Schools Project in Ilorin, Kwara State with the dream to distribute 5000 copies of the book to Public School Students and to award 100 Scholarships. The team therefore began this journey with the distribution of 300 copies of the book to students and the awarding of eighteen scholarships to indigent students.
Following the success of this event, the Give-To-School Team of Mademoiselle Foundation is embarking on a Monthly “Community Reading/Literacy Program” to promote the education and literacy in local communities, thereby enhancing academic excellence for students through the free distribution of copies of the book: “How Students Can Fly in Colours” to students in the Community. This Project will be launched in Mushin Local Government on April 27, 2016. The Community Project has been designed to incorporate stakeholders in the Community to contribute to education and literacy in the Local Government. This Project is in partnership with Idea Builders Initiative, Association of Nigerian Authors, Lagos Chapter, Education Department of Mushin LGA, Standard Group of Hotels, Mushin, Mushin Youth Vanguard and Aiyetoro Community Development Association, Mushin.
As remarked by one of the partners, “even though there is a fair improvement in our Education System, more still needs to be done”. In the past 15-20 years in Nigeria, 62.45% of failures have been recorded in National Examinations. The World Bank survey also records that 60% of pupils in Nigeria above grade 4 cannot read complete sentences and in the recently concluded WAEC (West African Examination Council) May/June 2015, only 38.68% of students had 5 credits including Mathematics and English. The Guardian Newspaper dated April 9, 2015 retorts the inability of Nigeria to meet Global Educational Goals and the frailty of the educational sector puts Nigeria among the 32% of countries in the world that has not achieved ANY of the Education For All (EFA) six goals as stipulated by UNESCO in Paris, France.
Adetoun Akitoye, who is also the Founder of Mademoiselle Foundation explains that even though she knows that the journey to raising the academic standard among Public School students is going to be a long one, with the help of the Mademoiselle Foundation Team, she’ll walk it, starting with her Local Government.
The movement by the Mademoiselle Foundation Team holds the legacy of Dr Kofi Anan’s dedication to Literacy. In the words of the 2001 Nobel peace prize winner: “Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope, a basic tool for daily life in modern society, a wall against poverty, a building block of development and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity”
Press Release by Adetoun Akitoye of Mademoiselle Foundation