By Joseph S. Ansumanah
The United Bank for Africa (UBA) has, on the 21th May, 2018, donated 150 literature books each to three secondary schools in Freetown. The schools that benefited from the donation were the Sierra Leone Grammar School, St. Joseph Secondary School and the Annie Walsh Memorial Secondary School.
Addressing the pupils in the three different schools, the Managing Director, UBA Chinedu Obeta, said UBA is a Pan Africa Bank and it started operation in 1949 as French British Bank and the Head office of the bank is in Nigeria. He added that the Bank is currently operating in 20 African countries and also in United Kingdom (UK).
Giving the background of the project, the MD informed pupils that the UBA Foundation was established in 2006 with the main aim of giving back to communities where they operate to enhance their social amenities, boost education and empower people socially and economically.
He said, over the years, the Foundation has discovered that most pupils are not in the habit of reading, adding that the reading culture of pupils has dropped drastically and it is because of that the Foundation feels they should embark on donating literature reading books. The books will be placed in their libraries. The main purpose is to encourage pupils to discover the art of reading. He informed that the Foundation started the donation of books in 2011.
He emphasized that, the reason why most pupils perform poorly in internal and external exams is because they don’t read and most of the pupils are now concentrating on social media to read.
He told the pupils that reading is important.
“Reading will broaden your knowledge and improve your vocabularies. You will also stand a chance of having a successful career,” he noted, adding that pupils must develop the habit of reading.
Speaking to pupils in the three schools, the Board Chairman, UBA SL, Emerica Karefa-Kargbo, said even though the literature books are not part of the present school curriculum, they are donating the books to encourage pupils to have the habit of reading and also promote their skills.
She maintained that the Reading Africa Initiative programme of UBA is part of their corporate social responsibilities; by giving back to communities like scholarships and donating books. She encouraged the female pupils to concentrate on their education and put aside all unnecessary things.
She made it clear that education is the key to development and called on the school authorities to encourage pupils to learn. She disclosed to the pupils that, later this year, the bank will organise an essay competition for secondary schools, in which the bank will award scholarships to winners and also other prizes.
The Principals from the various schools expressed appreciation to the bank for supporting their schools and they assured the bank that they will encourage their pupils to always read the textbooks and promised that they will take good care of them.