The IFOMSSA Awards

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BACKGROUND

The “Ifedioramma Okafor Memorial Secondary School Academic (IFOMSSA) Awards”, includes two of the five educational programmes of the OCI Foundation (others include the Cyfed Undergraduate Scholarships,  the Cyfed-Bradley Hope Undergraduate Scholarships, and the Annual JAMB Awards). The IFOMSSA Awards are annual events designed to grant one-off financial (or equivalent) awards to secondary secondary school students preparing for their school certificate examinations (both junior and senior).

 

The award for the senior students is called the Senior IFOMSSA Awards, and would cover the fees for eligible students preparing for the  West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) or the National Examination Commission (NECO).
The Junior IFOMMSA Awards, on the other hand, would cover the fees for selected students from eligible schools preparing for the Junior School Certificate Examinations (JSCE).

The IFOMSSA Awards were established in 2016 (with the first set of awards given in 2017) in memory of the late Mr. Ifedioramma Isaac Okafor (1939 to 2016), who was the father of the OCI Foundation Founder, and was a firm believer that Education holds the key to limitless successes, not just for individuals, but for the society at large. Inserted is a video documentary of the 2017 program, showing speeches from the 2017 recipients, their parents, their teachers, and some staff of the OCI Foundation.

The idea behind the IFOMSSA Awards is to encourage the recipients and spur ALL students from the eligible schools towards the attainment of greater academic successes. It is hoped that the recipients and individuals from eligible schools will achieve high academic performances that will, hopefully, confer on them the eligibility to be considered for the Cyfed Scholarships when they get on to undergraduate tertiary programmes.

 

Since it was introduced in 2017, the performances of the students in the benefitting schools have improved significantly with respect to their Senior and Junior Certificate Examinations. This observation is based on feedbacks from the school authorities, but an independent analysis by the OCI Foundation will be carried out from 2020.

 

The OCI Foundation was further pleased to learn that one of the inaugural recipients of her 2017 IFOMSSA Senior Award gained admission into a Nigerian tertiary institution in 2018. In 2019, over 5 of the past recipients were offered admissions into different Nigerian tertiary institutions, and we are optimistic that the numbers will continue to rise. These are youngsters that would not normally dream of attending universities, let alone live those dreams. As a matter of fact, these candidates, as are other IFOMSSA scholars, will all be eligible for the OCI Foundation’s Cyfed Undergraduate Scholarships.

 

Up till 2019, the IFOMSSA Awards was limited to State Government-owned schools in the Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra StateNigeria. However, from 2020, all the schools in the Otuocha Educational Zone (which also includes Anambra West and Ayamelum Local Government Areas), will be participating. This is in keeping with our promise that the eligible schools will be expanded with time.

THE SELECTION FORMAT

Every year from 2017 to 2019, each of the ten eligible schools nominates three of her best students preparing for the aforestated examinations, and all the nominated students from these eligible schools will undergo a one-off exam called the IFOMSSA Challenge. From 2020, all 26 schools from the Otuocha Educational Zone were allowed to nominate (see individual years below for details). The examination and selection criteria are based on strict protocols developed between the OCI Foundation Officials and the  Otuocha Zone of the Anambra State Post Primary Schools Service Commission, PPSSC, who are in charge of the educational activities in Anambra East LGA of Nigeria. Only the top ten candidates from the IFOMSSA Challenge gets the award (70% Merit; 30% Catchment for Nsugbe indigenes). From 2018, the Foundation ensured that each of the 6 towns recognized under the Anambra East LGA had a winner in the final list. This implied that, where the needs arose, the best performing students from towns which had no winner represented in the final 10, received the award, alongside the original 10 mentioned above. Also, a maximum of 2 students from each town could make the merit list, while Nsugbe Town were allowed a maximum of 3 students in the Final 10 (whether based on merit or on catchment). It should be noted that these numbers recognize the towns of origins of the students, not the schools from which they are registered.

 

These measures were put in place to ensure maximum community participation, and that all communities benefit from this scheme. They ensured that no town in Anambra East LGA was left out as the students in the area are lifted and encouraged to attain academic excellence.

 

The Junior IFOMSSA Award is limited to the best of Nsugbe origin (the home town of the OCI Foundation Founder) that are enrolled at the Community Secondary School, Nsugbe. The best five students (based on academic performances in their penultimate class) was selected in 2017, while the best 10 were chosen in 2018. However, from 2019, ALL students of Nsugbe decent, who are enrolled at the Community Secondary School, Nsugbe, will get the award.

 

The OCI Foundation aims to continually liaise with the management of the eligible schools, as well as the relevant examination bodies and Education Ministry in the concerned locations to ensure that the IFOMMSA Awards would always meet the stated objectives of the Foundation.

THE 2017 AWARDS

The inaugural awards were disbursed to the winning pupils on Thursday, March the 9th, 2017, at a ceremony held at Aguleri, Nigeria, and attended by all the 15 award recipients, their parents, concerned school principals, zonal and state staff of the PPSSC, as well as the representative of the OCI Foundation (Barr. Steven Ononye, the Foundation’s Legal Adviser).
The video of the event, as well as that for the prayers said for the repose of the soul of late Ifedioramma I. okafor during IFOMSSA Challenge (held on January 25th 2017), are both shown below.

THE 2018 AWARDS

The second (2018) IFOMSSA Awards is scheduled to hold in March 2018. The IFOMSSA Challenge for the 2018 Awards was successfully held on Wednesday, January the 24th, 2018. The results will be released ahead of the award ceremony. Pictures of the 2018 IFOMSSA Challenge are available HERE, while pictures of the 2018 Award Ceremony are HERE. A video slideshow of the IFOMSSA Awards, its full documentary, and the closing prayer for the event, are  all shown.

THE 2019 AWARDS

For the first time, winners from the 2019 IFOMSSA Senior awards will also have their Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) Examination registration fees automatically covered, once they indicate interest in proceeding with this exam. From 2020, the IFOMSSA Senior Awards will include all the schools from the Otuocha Educational Zone (Anambra East, Anambra West, and Ayamelum Local Government Areas), and not just Anambra East LGA as is currently the case.  This is in keeping with our promise that the eligible schools will be expanded with time. Pictures from the 2019 Award Ceremony be found HERE, while those from the 2019 IFOMSSA Challenge can be seen HERE.

The video slideshows from the 2019 IFOMSSA Award Ceremony and the IFOMSSA Challenge are respectively available via the links below.

THE 2020 AWARDS

As was promised the 2020, the IFOMSSA Senior Awards included all the schools from the Otuocha Educational Zone (Anambra East, Anambra West, and Ayamelum Local Government Areas), and not just Anambra East LGA as was the case in 2017, 2018 and 2019.  This is in keeping with our promise that the eligible schools will be expanded with time, and this will be the new format from 2020 onward. Pictures from the 2020 event can be found  HERE, while a video slideshow and speech from the Foundation’s President, as well as a brief history of the IFOMSSA Awards, are available below.

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