While the super-rich in Nigeria who had stolen enough by manipulating loopholes in the public and private sector to send their wards to the best schools in Europe and America to prepare them for the ever dynamic world are doing that with impunity, the families of the downtrodden are sentenced to the public schools that educationists and policymakers said are in comatose, writes our correspondent LINUS ALEKE.
“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today”. – Malcolm X
The aforesaid quote by an African-American Muslim minister, human rights activist, and spokesman for the Nation of Islam until 1964, Mr. Malcolm X succinctly captured the philanthropic focus of Felistas Foundation’s supports to indigent pupils of the agrarian community in Nsukka local government area of Enugu State
Regrettably, the era of the social stratification that classified Nigerian society into three strata, and substrata in-between is far from the current reality.
According to sociological findings, society is divided into three groupings, vis vis “Upper class”, “Middle class,” and “Lower class”.
The upper class according to scholars is divided into, upper and upper-lower while the lower class also has upper lower and lower-lower.
Regrettably, these stratifications have been eroded by current reality as the structure had collapsed into what is known today as the super-rich and the poor.
However, while the super-rich are now enjoying the status hitherto enjoyed by the only middle class, the lower class still maintain its original stratification of uper lower and lower lower, while the middle class has fizzled away.
It is nonetheless, instructive to explain the sociological concept uper lower and lower lower. When a family is classified to belong to uper lower, it means that the family have the capacity to navigate the basic human needs of food, shelter and clothing to even sending their kids to school to prepare them for the future.
Unfortunately, those that fall within the lower lower strata are more or less confined to the circle of poverty as the status of poverty is automatic to them by birth.
Those born into this class have little or no hope of moving out of poverty except by devine intervention.
Scholars in sociology explained further, “It takes the grace of God for a Child born into the strata to escape from the circle of poverty. This is because it is impossible, humanly speaking but being that there is nothing that is impossible with God, we made bold to say that a child born into this strata can escape from the circle by divine intervention”.
Adding flesh to the concept of “divine intervention,” the scholars said that there is “social mobility” in social stratification.
Social mobility they explained is the process where by a man or family moves from upper class to middle or lower class or vise versa.
They added that there are factors that facilities these mobility. The factors include level of income, education and and occupation. The scholars further argued that the type of job a man does is dependent on his level of education and that also determine his income at end of the month.
“If a man is well educated, it influences the kind of job he does and the kind of job a man does determines his income. Therefore everything boils down to education.
Giving future explanation to the divine intervention concept, the scholars, explained that unless a child born into the lower lower class can only escape poverty if a school, church, multilateral organizations, good spirited individual, or a foundation give scholarship to a child from this type of family, he is doomed to poverty.
It is however, on the premise of the foregoing that a journalist, Ikem Okuhu, has donated a total of 8,000 exercise books to 1,577 primary school pupils in the seven primary schools in Nkpunano, Nsukka, in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State.
Chief Okuhu in a statement said that the donation which is the third since the journalist’s family launched a foundation known as Felistas Foundation three years ago in memory of their mother, Mrs. Felistas Ugwu, brings the total of exercise books donated to schools in the area to 18,000, adding that the donation is aimed at providing at least five exercise books to each of the pupils in the benefiting schools.
“This year’s donation, which had the Education Secretary of Nsukka Local Government Area, Mrs. Jane Asadu, in attendance also witnessed the donation of 2,000 biros and another 2,000 pencils from a community leader, Chief Ignatius Ugwu in support of the project,” the statement added.
Speaking during the handing over ceremony, held at the Community Primary School, Nguru Nsukka, Ikem Okuhu, explained that the donation was designed to provide relief for the poor families who struggle to provide basic stationery for their children and wards in the public school system in the area.
Okuhu, who is also a public relations practitioner, said the challenges faced by parents in the education of their children has continued to bother him and his family, lamenting that the continued economic downturn in the country has been having adverse impacts on the ability of parents to provide for the education of children.
Going down memory lane, he said, “My family has committed to the educational intervention as a means of sustaining the memory of our mother, who, in her lifetime, made feeding the poor in the community her major preoccupation.
“When our mother was alife, she made providing for her neighbours, especially the poor in the community her major task. Our family was such that, as hard as things was, food was considered something to share with each and everyone. As a means of sustaining this legacy, we decided in 2018 to make this donation annually, knowing how much poor parents struggle to get their children through primary education”.
He also expressed delight that since the intervention began three years ago, school enrollments in the area has been on the increase and called on other public spirited individuals and groups to join in the efforts towards revitalizing the public schools in the state.
On her part, the Local Government Education Secretary, Mrs. Jane Asadu, commended the family for the initiative and urged other people to join hands with the state government in the drive to improve the fortunes of public schools in the state.
Asadu commended the state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for his steadfast commitment towards the revitalization of education at all levels in the state, saying the governor had since he assumed office in 2015, rebuilt hundreds of classroom blocks in all parts of the state.
“Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has been consistent in revitalizing the school system since he assumed office. His attention has especially been on the primary school system and all over the state, he has continued to provide modern infrastructure in our schools and efforts such as this one will go a long way in supporting his efforts along this line,” she stated.
She also commended the Chairman of Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board (ENSUBEB), Mr Ikeje Asogwa for all his efforts in lifting the infrastructure fortunes of primary schools in the state.
Also speaking on the occasion, community leader and Chairman of Nguru Nsukka Development Union, Chief Ignatius Ugwu, appreciated the gesture of the journalist and pledged his support and those of other leading community leaders towards the revitalization of the primary schools in the area.
Mr. Ugwu extolled the virtues of the late matriarch of the Okuhu family for the exemplary life she lived and urged the people of the community to strive towards leaving a lasting legacy, especially such that would leave lasting impacts long after they had passed on.
It is on the premise of this to that I confidently conclude with the words of a medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher who became one of the most prolific and influential Torah scholars of the Middle Ages, Maimonides, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.