The Aid for Rural Education Access Initiative (AREAi), a non-profit organization launched a new project tagged, ‘AREAi Exam Fees Bursary Fund’, conceived to aid payment for transition exams like West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE), National Examination Council (NECO) and Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) for students in rural communities. The project was initiated out of the desire to ensure that every child transitions swiftly from one level of education to the other without financial constraints.
Falling behind on exam fees is a fear that many students face, and with a large percentage of students in transition classes particularly in government owned secondary schools, it’s a scary reality for these students. The ‘AREAi Exam Fees Bursary Fund’ will ensure that every child in underserved communities can access funds to pay for transition exams and their pursuit of quality education is not jeopardized.
Speaking during the first phase of disbursement to 50 students of Government Secondary School, Apo, Abuja on Friday 7th May 2021, the Chief Executive Director of the organization, Prince Gideon Olanrewaju emphasized: “Since education is the bedrock of any society and a springboard for development in a complex and competitive world of today, any factor that tarnishes the outcome of the learning process must be fought standstill by all stakeholders and well meaning Nigerians”. The AREAi Exam Fees Bursary Fund is a culmination of donations from all and sundry in the bid to ensure quality education for every child.
Highlights of the event were “Career Sessions” for students in arts, science and commercial classes geared towards giving them points of reference as they register for these transition exams and forge ahead in respective chosen endeavors. These sessions were conducted by the Director of Operations, AREAi, Ms. Motunrayo Fatoke; Monitoring Evaluation Accountability and Learning Officer, AREAi, Ms. Abiodun Omotosho and the Chief Executive Director, AREAi, Prince Gideon Olanrewaju.
Whilst acknowledging the kind gesture of the organization, the Principal, Government Secondary School, Apo, Abuja lauded the initiative as a welcomed development. “This will serve as an encouragement to other students in junior classes to never relent on their academic excellence”, he said. He further noted that while the bursary is innovative and commendable, much assistance is still needed to achieve the goals of enabling students transition easily to tertiary institutions without financial constraints.
In line with the overall goal of universal access to education, financial aids such as the AREAi Exam Fees Bursary Fund offer an alternative stream into education transition within limited resource and constricted budgetary environments, and represent an opportunity for those that may otherwise be financially excluded from pursuing their education aspirations.