Onwude: Overhaul Nigerian educational system to reflect current realities
The Great Learners Academy, Gowon Estate, Egbeda, is today marking its silver jubilee. The proprietress, Chief Felicia Onwude, in a chat with GODSTIME MADOJEMU calls for reform of the education sector.
When was the school established?
It was established in 1994 and we are 25 today.
What are your goals and objectives?
Our goal is to raise children that are balanced academically, spiritually and mentally. Children that would impact their immediate communities and the world at large. Our vision is to have a first class school that will give qualitative education in Nigeria and beyond.
What is the most challenging issue confronting the school?
It is the poor payment of school fees, parents moving their children/wards from one school to another and parents putting pressure on us to register children that are not matured to write final examination to do so.
Others include difficulty in getting teachers with good knowledge of principles and practice of education. We cannot put this wholly on the teachers, but rather on government for scrapping Teachers’ Training Colleges that should do this.
What are your achievements so far?
We cannot list this in a hurry, but note that God, the Almighty, has been very faithful to us. Our children both at the primary and secondary school levels have been excelling in their external examinations — NECO, WAEC, and the Federal and State entrances. Our secondary school students gain admission into different universities immediately after they leave school. We have produced students that are in diverse fields — medicine, law, ICT among others.
We have won different awards in sports, quiz competitions and debates in Lagos State and at the national level. It is because of the various good things that the Lord has enabled us to do that we have the theme of the silver jubilee as: “Celebrating Our Opportunities.”
How do you see Nigeria’s current educational system?
Our educational system is nonchalant in the sense that our university graduates come out from school with no job. The system should be overhauled to reflect the realities of the times — politically, economically and otherwise.
We should encourage vocational schools; make our children acquire skills that would make them self-employed and job creators. It is one of the ways we can improve our educational system and the country.
A situation where the government’s attitude towards private is negative is counterproductive and discouraging for school owners. Government should encourage private school owners, especially those qualified to do so, with funds; give them grants and other incentives to make them run their schools well. This is so, because government alone cannot cater to the educational needs of the growing population.
What is your advise on how to improve the sector?
Education managers or stakeholders in the sector should always think of excellence, integrity and honesty. It is only through this that we can all build a solid foundation for our children and country.