The events marking the 10th anniversary of the Inoyo Toro Foundation was observed in Uyo recently. In marking this milestone, the Foundation put in place a number of programs to make the ceremonies one which will be remembered for some time to come. The occasion was preceded by a drama production on the eve of the 10th anniversary commemoration. The play, put together by a professor and students of the theatre arts department of the University of Uyo had as its title “Adiaha Obong”. It pitches the resilient affront of Ekondo women against the brazen force of traditional patriarchy”.
Friday, November 3, 2017 was the day of the anniversary event. By 10am, the beautifully lit and well decorated foyer of the Le’ Meridien Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort had started receiving guests who had turned up for the occasion. Hitherto, the annual teachers’ awards ceremony had been held at the Nwaniba Hall auditorium of the Hotel. During this year’s event, the entire lobby of the hotel had been cordoned off, and replaced by an array of beautifully decorated tables and chairs. This was meant to cater for the upsurge in the number of participating schools and the attendant influx of students, teachers, mentors and other guests. The Foundation welcomed contingents from 90 schools for the anniversary event. A leap from the previous year (2016) which recorded 60 school contingent.
As is customary with the Annual Awards and Mentoring Program, a two hour period was dedicated to the mentoring clinic. Mentors, drawn from accomplished professionals, captains of industry, entrepreneurs and business people had a two hour interactive session with contingents of their adopted schools. It was an opportunity for life’s experiences to be shared, a few words of advice and exploration of areas of intervention for the betterment of the learning process in the schools. A number of schools’ mentors did not show up for the program. However, the Foundation was not taken unawares, as provision had already been made to have volunteers, who readily stepped in to mentor those schools which were in need of such resources.
The awards program commenced with a welcome speech by the Chairman of the Screening Committee, Dr. Eno Joshua. He traced the ten year journey of the Foundation and intimated the audience of the assessment and selection criteria of award winning teachers. He narrated that the quality of assessment for the awardees were dependent, amongst other things on:
- Appraisal of the learning facility and environment
- Availability of modestly equipped laboratories for science subjects and libraries
- The score of the school in external examinations
- Assessment of teachers based on his/her productivity and professional competence in his teaching subject area.
The final screening test of the teachers is in two parts. A WAEC/NECO curriculum based aptitude test and an oral interaction between the resource persons and successful candidates form the fulcrum of the assessment for the teachers. Specific scores are outlined for those who claim first, second and third prizes. As a result of the scrutiny of the selection process, some prize categories were not awarded this year as no teachers met the recommended scores. This explains the absence of winners for the first and second prizes in English Language and Mathematics, absence of a first prize in physics, as well as visual arts in this year’s edition of the awards. The prize category for History returned but with very low participation. He called for sponsorship of this category to spur interest in its teaching and learning.
The Grand Mentors’ award challenges past winners to produce their kind through regular mentoring of other teachers in their subject areas. The award attracts a cash prize of N500, 000 (Five hundred thousand naira only). Of the number of mentors invited for this year’s screening event, five were successful in English Language, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Economics subject areas. There was no grand mentor for mathematics in this year’s event as no one attended the screening exercise for the year’s edition.
In the course of the 2016 edition of the annual awards, a category for recognizing and rewarding exceptional school principals was set up. The 10th anniversary event provided occasion for making the debut award for this category. The Screening committee in collaboration with the State Secondary Education Board generated a template for selecting school principals. It thereafter invited these principals to send dossiers of their respective inputs and achievements which response was then scrutinized based on earlier evaluation by ministry officials. Ten of them were shortlisted and then visited to appraise their claims by the Foundation’s team. Nine of them scaled that hurdle with different scores and were invited to the screening test, only which seven responded. Consideration was given to practical management and administrative competence. The best four were further subjected to oral interaction with two consultants. At the end of this process, a winner emerged. Mr. Godwin John Ekong of Government Secondary School, Afaha Eket who was recognized and rewarded with a cash prize of N500,000.00 (Five hundred thousand naira only).
The Chairman of the 2017 awards was Mr. Akan Udofia, Managing Director of Desicon Group. He was represented by Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Ajaya Sivan. The Chairman’s opening speech encouraged youths to take their education seriously as this is the foundation of growth in any society. He remarked that teachers are bows from which students as living arrows are sent forth. He also thanked the Foundation, who for ten years has been celebrating our unsung heroes and heroines, the teachers!
The highlight of the Inoyo Toro Foundation’s annual mentoring program and teachers’ award for excellence is the guest speaker’s address. The students, teachers and guests look forward to this item which is meant to inspire, encourage and teach. This year’s event was no different. The 10th anniversary edition had no less a personality than Major General Isidore Edet who is of Mbo, Akwa Ibom State extraction. He is the Commander, Infantry Corps (CIC), Nigerian Army College, Jaji. After being called up to the podium, the Nigerian Army Band added gusto to the event when it played their peculiar welcome beat to herald their own. Maj. Gen. Isidore took the audience down to his roots. He recalled life growing up in his native Ewang. His beginnings were humble, but he navigated the circumstances of his background to be where he is today. Central to his speech was the need to exhibit zeal and passion in whatever endeavour notwithstanding the circumstances of one’s birth, parentage or location. The teacher and general shared with his captivated audience his top 4 strategies for accomplishment in life. These are:
- Having a passion
- Persevering until your dreams are actualized
- Having a good character
- Faith in the Almighty God
The General concluded his well-received speech with a quote from the revered Mother Theresa of Calcutta in the following words: “we are but pencils in the hands of a writing God; it pleases him to write success or failure.”
The anniversary’s programs were also interspersed with other significant moments. Seven Energy Group, which as part of its corporate social responsibility had been providing environmental awareness and education to select schools, were on ground to review the program. He took delight in the knowledge and training given students to guard against pipelines’ vandalization. The Company’s position was canvassed by Mr. Bassey Umoh, Deputy Managing Director, Upstream of the Company.
There were other high-points on the occasion worthy of mention. One of such was the accolades showered on the anniversary event by the pioneer guest speaker at the inaugural awards, Dr. Myma Belo-Osagie. She expressed excitement at the growth of the award event which has seen it occupy to full capacity the lobby of the Le Meridian Hotel in contrast to the small hall it started from a decade ago. The Niger-wives association also took the opportunity of the event to donate items to blind children in order to facilitate their education and remind the audience not to leave these ones behind in the push towards educational advancement.
The capacity audience waited patiently for the speech of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State. This paid off when His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel was called up to the stage for his keynote address. The Governor was represented on the occasion by Mr. Etekamba Umoren, Secretary to the State Government, who read the speech. The Governor lauded the noble gesture of the Foundation in organizing the annual gathering in order to celebrate teachers and give them a sense of worth. Central to his message was the need for teachers to inspire change, aside from impacting knowledge. He enjoined all teachers to be ‘Dakadda’ ambassadors in order to promote education.
The Inoyo Toro Foundation’s 10th Teachers’ Award and Mentoring Anniversary was a successful outing. Guests, Schools’ heads, Government, the private sector were unanimous in applauding the effort of the Foundation. Indeed, time was taken out to salute the founders, for the vision, tenacity and resources committed to producing the pride for which the Foundation is being celebrated. However, the huge gap in the sector which is in need of intervention was not lost on the audience. The undertaking to fill this gap is a collective one. It is in this context that the next level of the course of the Foundation’s intervention calls for the support of all and sundry to help lift to further heights the state of our education, for our children and generations unborn. The 11th anniversary takes place on Friday the 2nd of November 2018.
|Favour Leo Norbert||Uyo High School, Uyo||3rd|
|Iniobong Jacob Etim||Etinan Community Comprehensive Secondary School, Etinan||3rd|
|Michael Sunday Ekanem||Community Secondary Commercial School, Ikot Okubo, Uyo||2nd|
|Ndifreke Thomas Udoh||Community Secondary School, Ikot Abia Idem, Ikot Ekpene||3rd|
|Helen Godwin Mboho||State Secondary Commercial School, Okop Eto, Ikot Ekpene||1st|
|Francis Bassey Ube||Etoi Secondary School||2nd|
|Michael Joshua Udoh||Itam Secondary School, Obong Itam, Itu||3rd|
|Gabriel Matthew Ukpabio||Lutheran Secondary School, Ibakachi||1st|
|Godwin J. Akpan||McIntyre Secondary School, Utu Abak||2nd|
|Bassey Patrick Eyo||Apostolic Church Secondary School, Ikot Oku Nsit||1st|
|Aniekan Okonah Udoh||Sec. Sch., Itu Mbonuso, Ini||2nd|
|Uwem Okon Akpakpan||Comty. Sec. Sch., Eka Uruk Eshiet||3rd|
|Augustine Solomon Ekpoetor||McIntyre Sec. Comm. Sch., Utu Abak||2nd|
|Charles Mfon Otu||Comty. Sec Sch., Midim, Abak||3rd|
|Uduak Amos Akpanowo||Iwukem High Sch., Etim Ekpo||1st|
|Godwin C. Iyakndue||Comprehensive Sec, Sch., Ediene Abak||2nd|
|Anietie Mbom Okon||Comty. Sec. Comm. Sch., Ibiaku Itam, Itu||3rd|
2017 Grand Mentors Teachers Award Winners
|Silvanus George||Meth. Sec. Sch., Ibiaku Issiet, Uruan|
|David Ufot Jacob||Comty Sec. Comm. Sch., Ikot Okubo, Uyo|
|Joseph Anna Ubon||Comp. Sec Sch., Ikot Uneke, Ibiono Ibom|
|Imaobong Ekaette Ekaette||Christian Sec. Comm. Sch., Uyo|
|Kubiat Bassey Umoh||Comty Sec. Comm. Sch., Ikot Usen, Ibiono|
2017 Principal’s Award
|Mr. Godwin John Ekong||Govt. Secondary School, Afaha Eket|