The United Nation’s Universal Children’s Day was established in 1954 and is celebrated on November 20 each year to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children and secondly, to initiate action to benefit and promote the welfare of the world’s children.
However, various nations celebrate the day on different dates with Nigeria observing hers on May 27, every year.
In Benue state, as part of activities to mark the 2019 Children’s Day celebration, wife of the state Governor, Dr. Eunice Ortom through her pet project, Eunice Spring of Life Foundation, ESLF, organised a literacy competition, the 4th in the annual literacy project.
The theme of this year’s celebration is “End Malnutrition, Protect The Future of The Nigerian Child”, in addition to “Promoting love for reading, creative art for expression and hand-on skills development in children.”
Speaking at the event, Ortom said the Benue Children’s day literary project competition is designed to emphasize the healthy balance that needs to exist between the curricula and extra-curricula development of children.
She also noted the inclusion of the “Read Aloud” initiative for primary school participants saying the aim of the competition was to encourage the children develop skills in key areas like spelling, writing, speaking, art work and science.
Ortom said it was to particularly encourage gifted children who have worked hard to develop their talent without recognition and encouraging others aspiring to develop themselves.
“We are also keeping faith with Goal 4 of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals Universal Vision to seek and ensure quality and equitable education for all”.
She, therefore, urged the children to take their studies very seriously advising them to imbibe a culture of reading good books in order to develop and build skills that can add value to their lives.
Earlier, Mrs. Ortom hosted a small group of some selected school children and their teachers where she read a book aloud to their hearing.
She said there is no better time than now, to teach the children how to read, not just any book but those that will give them positive direction and teach them good lessons of life.
She thanked her partners for their interest in the development of the Benue child and expressed the commitment of the Ortom led administration to develop the children and restore their confidence in the society.
Earlier, the Executive Chairman, Benue State Universal Basic Education Board, BSUBEB, Dr. Philip Tachin, thanked Mrs. Ortom for her interest in ensuring that the children are rooted in science subjects.
He stated “Benue state is going to recover its lost glory in Education. We intend to teach the science subjects in Tiv, Idoma and Igede (Mother tongue) languages from next academic session.”
He said the board is translating science books into native languages explaining that it is to ensure that the subjects are easier for the children to understand.
Tachin said further that Benue will take centre stage in the place of education in Nigeria and pledged maximum support for the wife of the governor and the project of moving the Benue child to the place of excellence.
The Executive Secretary, Teaching Service Board, TSB, Dr. Wilfred Uji, urged the children to take their studies serious to enable them take over from the senior generation when they leave office.
Also, the Chairman of Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA, in Benue state, Mr. Charles Iornumbe, urged the Nigerian government to strive to acquire the highest level of education for it citizens for the development of the nation.
Mr. Iornumbe thanked Mrs. Ortom for her effort in promoting literacy in the state and sued for a robust partnership with stakeholders to improve the reading culture among Benue Children.
About 34 primary and secondary schools participated in the event.
The literary competition featured spelling bee, timed reading, drawing, science exhibition, read aloud, song and dance as well as fruit games.
After the end of the competition, Divine Love Secondary School, Katsina Ala, was awarded the sum of N2 million for taking first position in the science competition, while Government College Makurdi and Queen of the Rosary Secondary School Gboko were awarded N1.5 Million and N1 Million respectively for second and third positions.