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Renowned educator, Modupe Oni calls for digital adjustment in schools

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Modupe Adeyinka-Oni

Renowned educator, Modupe Adeyinka-Oni has called on government, parents and other stakeholders to work jointly to prepare Nigerian children for the future of work.

She made the call during her media tour to top Lagos radio stations on Saturday.

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According to her, the millennial and ‘Generation Z’ children across the world, are naturally wired to think and act differently, stressing that it is critical to understand and adjust the Nigerian child to fit into the future that is imminent.

“The world economic forum once said primary schools are preparing young children for jobs that don’t exist.

“So the whole paradigm has to shift from knowledge-based to skills and competency. But there’s a big resistance from parents because they want the books, they want to see what their children have written. But the whole idea has changed. “It’s no longer about what they have written, but what they imbibe and what they feel on their souls. And so we have to prepare our parents to help prepare the children because the future of work is so different, it’s technology-based and so our children have to fit in,” she said.

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Considering the core values of the school amidst the changing climes and caused by COVID-19, Oni said social distance has forced schools across the world into the place they have been resisting.
She said: “It has opened our eyes to prepare human resources for a different type of engagement.

“We have discovered that it is better for children to be engaged and not just to be given information, they have to be involved in the learning process. We understand now as parents have also found out that dialogue is very important, we don’t tell them to shut up anymore, rather we answer their questions by forcing them to think deeply about the question.

“And that’s how we are developing the problem solving, inquiry and critical thinking that they need because that’s what the future is all about.”

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While hinting at the best way for schools to engage in corporate social responsibility activities, Oni advised that private schools in Nigeria should adopt low-income ones around them, saying it is important to bridge the gap between the elitist school and the community schools.

“We have to come up with community programmes that will promote this.

“There are new values our schools can add in terms of child nurturing and cultural values. Right now, we know that our children are digital natives, so we have to understand how we engage them using the digital tools that they are already born with. Their memory takes picture of everything.

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“Standard Bearers Schools is introducing the podcast system to the school. We are incorporating podcast because one of the things we found *out when we returned to* physical school* was parents saying to us that after days of working with them, they couldn’t deal with the idea of bedtime stories. So we decided to turn that into a product. We are going to have a podcast where we are reading the bedside story to children to help them get into bed early,” the educator said.

She also advised that teachers, in this digital age, should come into class with open mind and be ready to teach and also learn along with the children.

“They have to understand that everything they learned in their respective school of studies and age differences should be put aside at this critical time that the world is changing.

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“We are in a time where everybody is a life-long learner, so they going into an environment where they will have to subject themselves to learning along with the children. You have to connect with them and get along. I used to tell my teachers if your students are not talking about you at home, if they cannot say the gospel according to Ms this or Mrs that, you haven’t connected. We are dealing with the ‘Z- Generation’ and there’s nothing we can do, but to meet them in their own space. They need to know what the future is for the children and understand who they are preparing to fit into that future,” she said.

Oni spoke about her school raising Godly-Tech-savvy children, stating that Standard Bearers Schools is a faith-based institution where they teach tenets of faith, not just through reading the bible, but through all digital tools to guide and develop the minds of young children.

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“We make morality a culture for them. Even when they graduate, we still invite them and relate with them as a family.”

Dupe Oni is one of the very few women who have helped shape the society using the most powerful tool available, education.

She saw the 21st-century shift in perspective about education and technology, as a tool to socio-economic relevance in the evolving digital space, which opened opportunities for people in the tech-compliant space and she’s been at the forefront of the campaign for digital skills.

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