By Justina Auta
A 45-year old man was among 42 graduates that obtained the 2019/2020 Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE), under the FCT Department of Mass Education (DME) Adult literacy programme.
Malam Zakari Yau-Salihu, a businessman, said he chose to acquire formal education to enable him communicate, manage his resources and ensure he was not left behind in the society.
Yau-Salihu, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of the graduation ceremony of the 2019/2020 FCT DME programme in Abuja.
“I grew up in the north and migrated to Abuja to look for money, to take care of myself and my family.
“When I arrived Abuja, I found it difficult to communicate with people because of lack of education. My business suffered setback because people do not understand what I am saying because they don’t speak my language.
“I couldn’t read, write or even speak English language because I didn’t go to school.
“So I decided to go to school and one of my friends told me about the FCT department of mass education in Karu, where I started in 2011 and registered at the primary level.
“I spent three years in primary and wrote common entrance to secondary level, where I did my junior school exams before proceeding to senior secondary school.
“Today is our graduation day and it is a great day for me,’’ he said.
He said despite the challenges and discouragement from family members and neighbors, he was able to endure for over 10 years to enable him acquire formal education.
Yau-Salihu said he was already preparing for the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) examination to enable him further his education to the university level.
He explained that majority of his classmates were married and older than him, but that did not hinder them from learning patiently from the much younger facilitators, who taught and groomed them for several years.
He encouraged others to also seize the opportunity to acquire formal education, which would enable them become better citizens, and have alternative source of livelihood.
“Mt advice to my fellow students, illiteracy is a serious thing, you cannot become a useful person to the society without education.
“Even when you have money, if you are not educated, that money will not be useful to you and you will not know how to manage it well.
“My advice to others is to be patient, come and register yourself in adult education school so that you can learn. Those that have registered already, should be patient, priorities your needs and make sacrifices.
“Forget about the challenges, even in your neighborhood, they will challenge and discourage you, but based on your determination you can make it.’’
Mrs Victoria Nwanyieze, the Zonal Coordinator, FCT Department for Mass Education, Karu, said they had the mandate to provide adult literacy and vocational education for residents, who seek to improve their knowledge.
Nwanyieze said the society had gone digital, hence the need for people to acquire education, “my advice is that they should come here, as it is not too late to learn.’’
She expressed optimism that the awaiting results from the National Examination Council (NECO) would be successful and enable the students proceed to the university.
Also, Hajiya Hajarat Ayande, Director, DME, FCT Education Secretariat, said 28 of the graduating students were female, while 14 were men, married and business owners that needed formal education to sustain their businesses.
According to her, the department had rolled out a programme for them to attend free pre-JAMB training to enable them secure admission to further their education at the university.
While commending the support of the FCT Ministers, the Director reiterated their commitment to improving access to quality education.
NAN reports that other highlights of the day included a debate, drama presentation, poem recitation and dance by the students.