The maiden edition of the Taraba State Schools Festival (TARASSFEST) has been billed to hold between November 11-13, 2021, in the state capital, Jalingo. The festival, which is being organised by the Hill-Top Creative Arts Foundation, Taraba State Branch, is the first of its kind in the state’s history.

The patron of the Taraba branch of the Foundation and organiser of the festival, Mr Terkule Aorabee, who is also the Desk Officer, Read and Write Campaign in the Taraba State Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Jalingo, explained the idea behind the conception of the festival thus;

“I was introduced to HIASFEST as a School Director last year by ANA Taraba Chairman. Since my classroom days, I have always been at the forefront of programmes that expose children to career opportunities. I was involved in We the People. Project Citizen, UNESCO Mondialogo Cultural Clubs, Debates, Fanta/ NCF Essay Writing Competitions, Maltina Reading Competition while I taught in the classroom. When I moved to the Ministry of Education in 2009, I organised the Jalingo Reading Campaign twice, which were not as successful as I expected.

When the invitation to HIASFEST came, I used my position as a School Director to enrol Helena Heritage Academy, Jalingo. We attended the Festival in Minna. The level of commitment of B.M. Dzukogi, Founder of Hill-Top Creative Arts Foundation, deeply motivated me to give another trial on getting people to support children and youth development. It is timely because students need to be given direction much more than before with education degraded by the day and shift school system.”

According to Mr Aorbee, the festival is being sponsored primarily by the Taraba State Ministry for Basic and Secondary Education and the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS), and with the support of the Education Resource Centre.

The Honourable Commissioner of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, the Founder of the Hill-Top Creative Arts Foundation, who is billed to deliver the keynote address, the National Coordinator of HIASFEST and distinguished personalities, are expected to grace the occasion.

The festival has over ten categories with several plaques and cash prizes to be won by the students, teachers, and schools. The competition is expected to be an annual event that promotes intercultural, religious and ethnic harmony amongst students who are the future leaders of the society.

TARASSFEST is an offshoot of the annual Hadiza Ibrahim Aliyu Schools Festival, which holds in Minna, the capital of Niger State, organised by the well-known writer Mallam BM Dzukogi. The festivals are part of the older generation’s resolve to repair the society and leave behind a better future for the next generation through the instrumentality of the child. They imagine that an innocent child is amenable to positive values that can shape their future if appropriately guided.