An organisation under the auspices of Tongston Entrepreneurship Holdings has awarded an estimated amount of N1.7 million cash prizes to students and educators at the 1st North-East Festival of Literature, Culture and Creativity, to further deepen its support for education in North-East Nigeria
The executive director and chief executive officer (CEO) of the organisation, Engr. Bello Tongo, while delivering his speech, stressed the need for entrepreneurial education in schools, for sustainable socio-economic development in the country.
He said that the need to support education in the North-East region becomes imperative because the region has been the hardest hit in Nigeria, with high levels of insecurity and poverty, saying that the North-East also has the highest illiteracy rate in the country.
According to him, the lowest rates being 31.9 per cent for males, and 14.9 per cent for females both recorded in Yobe State in the North-East, have female primary net attendance rate of 47.7per cent.
“The education deprivation in Northern Nigeria is driven by various factors, including economic barriers and socio-cultural norms and practices that discourage attendance informal education, especially for girls.
“Therefore, the North-East Literacy Festival marks an important first step in reinvigorating the literacy levels in the region. The core objective of the Festival was aligned with Tongston’s core values of personal, economic, sociocultural, and sustainable development,” he said.
He explained that Tongston’s core proposition is premised on chronic unemployment, underemployment,t, and unemployability amongst youth with basic/tertiary education, driven largely by the nature of the education system not preparing youth for the world of work, business or government.
“The focus is on building entrepreneurial thinking abilities whilst integrating media, finance and business to produce entrepreneurs that can drive sustainable socio-economic development in our nation and continent.
“It was on this premise that Tongston pledged its support to the students. As part of Tongston’s service offerings, and the centrality of the sustainable development goals as one of its core values, thereby provided free career and business advisory services to three tertiary students and winners of the various categories in the festival,” he said.
The students were drawn from three tertiary institutions being the Gombe State University, Adamawa State University and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi, with the students also receiving cash prizes of N50,000 each.
The event featured lectures, literary and entrepreneurship workshops, exhibitions, cultural night, and three competitions in the Prose, Poetry and Drawing categories at each of the primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
Students and educators across primary, secondary, and tertiary levels were represented from the five participating States of the North-Eastern zone of the country.