The Borno State Learning Centre in Maiduguri has graduated 154 pupils who are mostly children orphaned by the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria’s northeast.
The children were trained in various ICT skills including robotics, coding and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The centre was commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari in April 2019 and is currently being managed by the Northeast Children Trust Fund.
The Fund was established “to create an ecosystem for homeless children orphaned by the conflict in the Northeast of Nigeria that will echo the lives of a normal child growing and thriving in a family.”
The centre, which comprises nursery, primary and secondary schools, currently has 525 children from Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony in Maiduguri, the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Trust Fund, Mariam Masha, said the pupils consist of 337 boys and 188 girls.
“The centre currently has 472 pupils at the primary level and 26 at the secondary level.
The 154 pupils advancing to secondary school took lessons in coding and programming, as well as web design and programming,” Mrs Masha said.
The highlight of the event was the demonstration of robotics, coding, and Artificial Intelligence by the pupils.
An excited Mrs Masha, who commended the students for learning so fast, said the learning centre is “more than just a school.”
She said the centre was “a place to nurture, empower and renew our children and I believe right here before us, is proof that the Northeast Children’s Trust can deliver on that mandate.”
She said at TLC, the teachers and caregivers “are not just knowledge transfer instructors but are facilitators of knowledge.”
“They have supported your learning and growth in very innovative ways which have unbundled the uniqueness in every one of you.”
She also thanked the Borno State Government for the support provided to the school.
“It has been largely successful through the support of our home here in Borno State. I must therefore recognise the government of Borno State through the various ministries, departments and agencies, our respected traditional leaders and other relevant stakeholders who are to mention; all of whom have played a critical role in the success we see today,” she said.
The vice-chairman of the centre, Hauwa Biu, a professor, called on the pupils “not to forget all the lessons you have learnt at the centre.”
“As you resume secondary school, make sure you take care of each other. Always remember that you are part of a large family and network of people who invested in your growth and success and are always willing and ready to support you.
“Our vision at NECT is to create a safe learning environment for children in North-East Nigeria and provide comprehensive support to vulnerable children affected by the crises so that they can become agents of socio-economic development in their communities and Nigeria at large,” Mrs Biu said.