Welcome Address Presented at the Journalism Development Programme Award of Recognition Ceremony held at WestPoint Hotels, Wuse, Zone 7, Abuja on Friday, 30th August, 2013

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Gentlemen of the press and distinguished ladies and gentlemen! It is with a deep sense of appreciation   that I, on behalf of Development Communications Network (DEVCOMS), welcome you to this award presentation to worthy Nigerian journalists for the recognition of excellence and commitment to quality reportage and penmanship in Nigeria: The journalism Development Programme Award of Recognition in the education sector.

The JDP award is an activity under the Journalism Development Programme, which is supported by the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN), one of suites of the British Department of International Development in the country. Today’s award presentation is the second edition - a follow-up to JDP1 Award, which about two years ago, recognised the excellent performance of some journalists reporting the education sector in the country. You are her witnessing JDP2 Award, which this year will reward journalists in the state-based media who have proved themselves committed to the cause of quality journalism for quality education in Nigeria.

This award was instituted because of a need for the Nigerian public to be correctly conversant with the state of the country’s education sector so as to be able to make informed choices about the education of younger citizens as well as begin to ask questions around issues like good policies that will drive quality education, accountability in resource allocation, gender equity and others that can advance educational development and ultimate wealth creation in the country.

You will agree with me ladies and gentlemen, that the Nigerian education sector is facing multifaceted challenges. We can all have a glimpse into these challenges through a scenario that presented itself in Kaduna earlier this year. At an education summit held in Kaduna, the Kaduna state commissioner for education, Usman Mohammed, while trying to paint the picture of the quality of education that children were receiving in the state made a revelation and I quote:

”A total of 1,599 teachers selected from across the state were given primary four tests in Mathematics and Basic literacy. Only one of them scored 75 percent, 250 scored between 50 to 75 percent and 1,300 scored below 25 percent,”

Responses to this kind of challenge for instance can only come from all the stakeholders of sound education in the country. And these include parents, guardians, teachers, journalists, development workers, CSOs, and all well meaning Nigerians.

Meanwhile, in solving the problems in the education sector, especially at the community and state level, the role of journalists is pivotal to the roles of all the other stakeholders in the sense that the output of the media goes a long way to influence the choices and decisions that other stakeholders make in the course of their own response to the challenges. This is why today, Devcoms network and ESSPIN have invited you here to join in celebrating seven of the country’s finest professionals who have played their own roles very well.

You are therefore all welcome once again and I wish you a very lovely evening.

Bolaji Adepegba
Development Communications Network