Case Studies

Challenge Fund leads to surge in enrolment at St Paul’s


Mr. Matthew Oleka, HT, St. Paul’s Nursery and Primary School Awkumanaw

“The ESSPIN programme has really been impressive, if ESSPIN’s model is replicated around the state, it will go a long way to improve the standard of education in Enugu state” says Matthew Oleka, Head Teacher, St. Paul’s Nursery and Primary School Awkumanaw.

St. Paul’s is one of the low fee-paying mission schools participating in the ESSPIN Challenge Fund (CF) scheme and benefiting from its School Improvement Programme (SIP). Working in partnership with Christian missions and a group of non-government organisations, ESSPIN is giving impoverished children school supplies to enable them to attend class in selected mission schools. Teaching aids, and teacher and head-teacher in-service training are provided to the partner mission schools. In return, the partnering missions waive the tuition fees for those children selected by the NGOs from the poorest families to benefit from the scheme.

When the ESSPIN CF scheme began in July 2011, the school community was not very enthusiastic, notes Matthew - “There was this lackadaisical attitude
Mr. Matthew Oleka, HT, St. Paul’s Nursery and Primary School Awkumanaw
shown towards the Challenge Fund initiative and this made registration of the potential beneficiaries difficult at first. Eventually, 37 pupils were registered under the scheme in St Paul’s”. Now the CF scheme is recognised as a programme of great value and St Paul’s and other schools benefiting from the CF scheme are preferred over other schools. “People are quick to make recommendations for parents to enrol their children in St Paul’s” Matthew added.

Enrolment in St. Paul’s has increased by three-quarters, from 312 to 545 pupils within a year. “We have seen this amazing increase in enrolment since the Challenge Fund started in our school due to the success stories spreading around the Challenge Fund” says Mathew. This has put pressure on the school’s infrastructure to cope with the influx. But the community is stepping in to help.

“We now have a very active SBMC in our school. The SBMC is making serious plans to provide three classrooms to absorb the increased population. The SBMC provided 120 nursery chairs and 40 tables and plans to renovate the floors of the nursery section. The SBMC contributes monthly to the N111, 000 (£450) direct funding to schools we receive. Once they raised an extra N124, 000 (£500) to put electrical fittings in the school and make the environment more conducive for learning. All thanks to the Challenge Fund Scheme.”

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