Hello friends sure you had a great weekend. To say I am excited today to be with you here is an understatement. Though, it was a very busy and eventful weekend for me, I fervently looked forward to this day to be with you.
The matters of our children are matters that are critical to the future of our nation. The focus of my Social Empowerment Advocacy is to see to the establishment of social support systems, which will guarantee the protection of the rights of the child, which are inalienable. The tool of achieving this awesome mandate is enlightenment. The purpose of enlightenment is to recruit you into a Child Protection Social Police, who will defend the cause of the child at all noble cost.
It is in this spirit that I have been sharing the 12 Attributes of a Child-Friendly Workplace. The Nigerian workplace must be in the forefront of creating social support systems for the protection of children. I have come to the painful but stout conclusion that except we commit ourselves to building formidable social support systems for child protection in Nigeria, our children have neither hope nor future.
Here is the 6th Attribute of a Child-Friendly Workplace: Scholarship for one or two children of (support) staff to attend the best of private schools. This attribute takes into cognisance the size and buoyancy of the company involved. But I believe that everything in the life of an organisation must begin with a policy. Even where a company is not in a position to give a scholarship to the children of support staff today, it must make it a policy and work towards same as the company grows. It may also consider partial scholarship as a humble beginning of full scholarship. The truth is, some small organisations have one or two support staff. It may never cross their mind to ask a support staff what school the child attends.
I know of many organisations, which give scholarships to indigent students. This is highly commendable. But I think that such charity should begin from home. It should begin from looking within the organisations to find children, whose parents cannot afford quality education and support them.
Why do I advocate scholarship for the children of (support) staff to attend the best of private school? I think proper education is critical to the advancement of every man and woman. Secondly I believe the learning environment is one of the most effective teachers of children. Many of our children are limited by their exposure. Their exposure determines their worldview. A child, who grew up in a dilapidated public school may never understand the place of order in life. A child of a driver in an organisation may not have the opportunity to attend the best of schools. If care is not taken, he/she may become a second generation support staff of another organisation.
One sure way to make a difference in the life of a (support) staff is not to give him/her wall clock, television set, refrigerator or even a car at retirement. I think one of the surest ways to make a difference in their lives is to take responsibility for quality educational training of one or two of his or her children. It will surely be very expensive compared to the contribution of the staff. But I think it should be considered as part of the organisation’s Corporate Social Responsibility, which will never be too expensive for the destiny of the child. A child or two, who are properly trained, may become the lifeline of the entire family of the staff.
Having worked in the school system for some years now, I have seen private schools, which the teachers cannot send their children because they cannot afford the school fees. In some instances, schools grant fifty percent discount in school fees for teachers. It is pathetic that the teachers are not in most cases able to pay the remaining fifty percent. The conclusion is that one or two of the children of the teachers are not able to attend the schools, where they teach. The question I keep asking is that how does the school expect the teachers to give their best when their children do not have the opportunity to taste the food they serve? If a teacher cannot register his child in the school where he teaches, what do we say about support staff like gardener, drivers, cleaners, security guards and the rest?
I make this advocacy today with a deep sense of responsibility, knowing that it is critical to breaking the circle of poverty in our land. We all know that the public school system has crashed. My advocacy today is not for a Father Christmas workplace, which gives without proper assessments. It is my humble opinion that the type of scholarship advocated here will be guided by a policy which will spell out in clear details the conditions of the scholarships to the children of support staff. The conditions however must not make the scholarship become an exercise in asking a camel to pass through the eyes of a needle.
I think what I have advocated today is a possibility for those who care. I will be here again tomorrow by God grace to share the 7th Attribute of a Child-Friendly Workplace. I urge you friends, Think the Child, Think Today, Think the Future. Have an INSPIRED day.