Distinguished Members of the high table,
Invited Guests & Schools,
Members of the Press,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.
I stand before you this moment to share with you as like minds in the education sector, our joy for yet another enviable feet achieved in our untiring efforts to make books more likeable, friendly, affordable and easy to access as a primary option for school pupils and students including the reading population.
Education they say is the passport to the future, and the preparation for a successful future starts from today. The fulfilment of such desire has however been marred for some by various factors, including policy, economic, environmental, and socio cultural challenges over the years in Nigeria.
According to the statistics from the Roadmap for Nigerian Education Sector released about five years ago, and an alignment of same with the ones released by the World Bank in the same period, total expected student enrolment for pre-primary to secondary school was 66.19m whereas total students enrolment was 30.7m or 46.4%. With an estimated yearly increase of about 2.5%, the actual student enrolment should be in the region of 34.5m as at 2015. Out of this figure, public school enrolment was estimated to be 85% or 29.3m while private schools accounted for 5.2m or 15%. This leaves invariably about 39.85m eligible pupils and students out there roaming the street or into other vocations.
With students enrolment of 34.5m, and an average spending of N10,500.00 on book purchase by each student, a whopping annual sum of N362.5b should ordinarily accrue to the publishing industry. But does the industry receive this? It is doubtful that 10% of the amount accrues in real term. This is a worrisome situation. We are no doubt aware that apart from the government efforts at providing instructional materials through UBEC, most students in the public schools hardly have access to books on other subjects not provided by the Commission, due largely to the low disposable income of most Nigerian parents and guardians. The effect of this is the resultant poor performance of such students in their examinations, both internal and external. But for the approach adopted by the private schools of making the procurement of books and other instructional materials mandatory, the situation would have been the same.
Since the incursion into our society of the global system for mobile communications, (a.k.a. GSM), and the daily increasing technological innovations, the trend has changed tremendously and the education sector was not left out, whether for good or otherwise is everybody’s guess. In a way, it has exposed the new generation of students to series of opportunities in educational developments though not without consequences. A large chunk of students spend precious times with gadgets for irrelevancies thereby shortening the normal required time for their books. The effect of this behaviour is poor performance in academic endeavours.
In a bid to stem the tide of this frightening trend, we, in Evans have ventured into the provision of e-books with the use of the same gadgets being used for irrelevancies to bring books closer to the students. Let me admit that there have been e-books all around; there are however a distinguishing feature between Evans e-books and the ones you’ve known. While the known ones give you access to fiction and non-fiction titles, Evans e-books provide you with core classroom titles in all subjects contained in the education curriculum at all levels of education in addition to fiction and non-fiction titles. Invariably, students can now access and read our Modular English and other subject series at more of give-away prices at their convenience through the various devices whose applications are android or blackberry based, just to start with. Of great interest is the availability of time usage options for book purchase. A student or any reader for that matter could opt for 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year or buy for keep options, all at modest and affordable prices.
In a tortured and vulnerable economy like ours, we see this as our additional contribution towards improving the education standard through the provision of easy access to books at affordable prices.
This product is complementary to the schools’ efforts at ensuring outstanding performances by pupils and students and should therefore be keyed into by the government, owners and management of schools as well as parents and guardians.
It is in the light of the above therefore that I am delighted to welcome you, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen to this epoch making event. Permit me to express my sincere appreciation to you all for creating time out of your busy schedule and in spite of the short notice to be here. While wholeheartedly thanking the schools from within Ibadan and environs, I must specially recognise the extra sacrifice made by our stakeholders from Lagos, Osun, and Ogun states. This is a demonstration of your loyalty to Evans and we will ensure that the relationship is better strengthened.
Be rest assured that in Evans, your quest for quality books and instructional materials is guaranteed and will be readily available to time.
Alhaji Lukman Dauda