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    Foundation gives scholarships to 558 students

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    By Olufemi Oni, Ilorin

    A Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), Bayo and Bunmi Babalola Foundation (BBBF) has awarded scholarships to no fewer than 558 pupils, students and others during this year’s edition of the Foundation’s scholarship scheme.

    Beneficiaries of the 2022 scholarships from the Foundation, according to the Founder of the BBBF, Pastor Sunday Adebayo Babalola, comprise 69 pupils from Junior Secondary School 3 (JS3), 69 Senior Secondary School 3 (SS3), 188 students from tertiary institutions across the countryand 165 others, while the last edition of the scholarship scheme was held on October 12, 2021, and to date, a total of 1,853 pupils and students had benefited from the scholarship scheme.

    Speaking at the epoch making event at Omu-Aran, headquarters of Irepodun local government area of the state, Pastor Babalola said they were excited with the testimonies they were hearing and receiving concerning the scheme, particularly the progress of the pupils and students who were the beneficiaries of the scholarship scheme.

    He said: “We are grateful to God for the beneficiaries of the scholarships and urge them to keep the good flag flying. They must continue to be studious, diligent, hardworking and above all God fearing. They must continue to be good ambassadors of their families, schools and communities as well as this Foundation.

    “We are immensely grateful to God, the Great Provider, who has been providing the resources for the actualisation of this laudable programme.

    “We have made this humongous investment, not because we have all the money, but as our willingness to sacrifice and a show of commitment to the educational advancement of the younger generation. We believe in Luke 12:48 that ‘To whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.’ We believe firmly that every child should have good education as education is the bedrock of societal growth and advancement. Education is instrumental to the emergence of outstanding professionals, business tycoons, local government, state, national and world leaders. Without education, society, alas the world at large, will not only stagnate but also retrogress. Crimes, poverty, sickness, insecurity and total darkness will overwhelm the world without education.”

    The philanthropist described as mind-boggling that the strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had dragged for about eight months, lamenting that the strike has paralysed academic activities and frustrated many students in public universities. Reports, he added, indicated that the strike has led to human capital flights as some lecturers abandoned the nation’s university system in search of greener pastures abroad.

    He said: “Incessant strikes in the nation’s educational system have also resulted in financial flights as many affluent parents and guardians now send their children and wards respectively abroad or to private universities for education. This education tourism, like its medical counterpart, has put tremendous stress on the nation’s foreign exchange thus leaving the country poorer, adding more pressure to the scarce forex which would have been available for industrial, commercial and other purposes.

    “The government should honour the agreements it wilfully reached. Where, however, it is genuinely unable to meet such agreements, it should explain to get the buy-in of ASUU members as to what and how it can meet up.”

    To ASUU, Pastor Babalola urged them to also show some understanding of the nation’s current financial quagmire, saying Concerted efforts and sacrifices must be made by all stakeholders to ensure quality public tertiary education and that strikes are avoided so that the nation’s educational system would not continue to be in shambles.

    He rued the alarming number of out-of-school children in the country, lamenting the recent report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) that the out-of-school children in the country has increased from 13 million to 20 million, indicating that the huge amount spent by the federal government under the school feeding programme has not yielded the desired result. He queried: “Is there any wonder that the country is awash with banditry, kidnapping, terrorism, highway robbery, armed conflicts and all other vices that are killing our society?”

    Going by the increasing rate of unemployment and underemployment in the country, the Founder of BBBF said this is an indication that the country is sitting on a keg of gunpowder and “and if not properly addressed and when it explodes, God forbid, nobody knows who will be affected and who may be spared.”

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