No fewer than 30 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the North-East, camped in the International Christian Centre for Missions (ICCM), have secured admission into tertiary institutions within the last one year.
The Director of the centre, Mr Solomon Folorunsho, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Wednesday at Ohogua, near Benin, Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo.
He said about 250 of the IDPs have also been registered for various external examinations for 2018 academic session.
“A lot have been achieved since they came into this camp about six years ago. I recalled that most of them could hardly communicate in English, but the reverse is the case now.
“I see determination and eagerness to learn in these children and we are assisting them in whatever way we can.
“They are people who believe in their country and also believe that the ugly incident that happened to them is an opportunity for them to be in a place where they can get what probably they wouldn’t have gotten over there.
“They are grappling the opportunities with both hands, they want to get to the height of all that is good here for the benefit of their people back at home.
“As I speak with you, we have over 30 of them studying courses such as Communication Engineering, Nursing, Biochemistry, Environmental Sciences in Universities like Edo University, Iyamoh; University of Maiduguri; University of Benin, among others.
“We have three of them who actually wanted to study Medicine but were given alternative courses to study.
“They had wanted Medicine because they felt they needed it to go back home to their community and help as Medical doctors.
“Though they have accepted the courses offered them, but they are still determined to study Medicine somehow,” he said.
Folorunsho who spoke on the challenge of funding the education of the IDPs, said it cost an average of N5 million to get the children registered for external examinations such as NECO, WAEC and UTME annually.
He said aside the 250 registered for WAEC and NECO in 2018, no fewer than 70 of the IDPs have also been registered for the 2018 UTME.
“Sourcing for fund to get them registered for these examinations is always a big challenge, just as procuring test books and note books have remained one of our biggest challenged to assisting these children realise their dreams of being educated.
“This particular calendar year has been most challenging to us. As I speak with you, we are still to get textbooks and notebooks for the children.
“We pay staff that teaches these children. We have qualified teachers we pay here. 95 per cent of them are paid by us. We need fund to be able to pay them.
“The state government donated eight blocks of class rooms that we are using as secondary schools now and that had helped us a lot. It is a high standard classrooms equipped with good chairs and desks.
“The state has also assisted in giving us waver in the state examinations we have been writing. We are grateful for that.
“This place is been run by donation from kind heart individuals, who come and donate towards the service we are rendering here to assist these children. This means, if people do not come, nobody gets anything.
“The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, has been very supportive of the educational pursuit of these children.
“We really appreciate it as he enrolled most of them for these examinations in 2017 and those he enrolled had just secured admissions to higher institutions.
“The money the speaker contributed and invested on these children had really assisted.
“We are happy and very grateful to him and also to let him know that these children are doing well and count on his continual support,” he said.
Folorunsho noted that from the over 2,500 IDPs in the Edo camp, only few of them were not attending school.
According to him, the huge number in school is because they have seen the benefit of education, even the widows have all gone back to school. They are in the pioneer class where they are taught on how to read and write.
He said that sometimes, some NGOs come to teach these women on various skills acquisition.