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SBS at 25: Modupe Oni calls for a culture of innovation among Nigerians

Modupe Adeyinka Oni, the founder of the Lagos-based early learning institution, Standard Bearers School (SBS) Lekki, shared remarkable experiences of the school at the 25th anniversary held at the school premise recently

Modupe Adeyinka Oni at SBS 25th anniversary

Modupe Adeyinka Oni, the founder of the Lagos-based early learning institution, Standard Bearers School (SBS) Lekki, shared remarkable experiences of the school at the 25th anniversary held at the school premise recently.

The event, which witnessed a huge turnout of old students, teachers, parents, and top influential education administrators and digital learning protagonists, was educative, informative, and entertaining.

The host, Modupe Adeyinka, took the guests through the journey of the little beginnings of the school and how it metamorphosed into a globally recognised institution within 25 years. She particularly recounted the COVID-19 experience that the school was able to control and bounced back from in a matter of weeks.

She said the school’s comeback from the pandemic wilderness was a testimony to the biblical affirmation that weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. She expressed gratitude to God for guiding and guarding the school and its community through the worst of the pandemic.

Describing the worldwide plague as a ‘beautiful time’ for SBS, Adeyinka- Oni said the period of the lockdown and restrictions gave the SBS family the opportunity to reinvent, step up their game and do everything that was hitherto attributable only to technology.

Modupe Adeyinka Oni at SBS 25th anniversary

Not only did the staff and students of the Standard Bearers School take the difficulties of that period in their stride, but they also made it a lifestyle, to the amazement of many observers, who marveled that children could do these things.

Adeyinka- Oni paid tribute to members of her staff for their dedication, loyalty, and professionalism, recalling her personal engagements with them and the students as they undertook various projects.

She defended her insistence on always seeking out the innate creativity of each of her wards. “I don’t know what your children are going to do tomorrow,” she told the parents who turned out in their numbers for the occasion, “but my job is to ensure that I put in them the seed and they understand that they can be anything they want to be and that there’s no limitation.

While addressing the economic crisis faced by the country, the founder called for a culture of innovation among Nigerians in general and her wards in particular. “We need to empower our children and teach them to think critically, to innovate, to ideate, and to create.”

She expressed the view that there is no problem in Nigeria that cannot be resolved with homegrown solutions and ingenuity. “The country is rich in solutions depending on which lens one chooses to look at it, a state of affairs that can translate to other kinds of wealth if properly harnessed. On the part of the children, such a focus on finding solutions is capable of creating real wealth in all its ramifications,” she said.

It is for this reason also, the educationist added, that in SBS, mere academic brilliance isn’t enough to assess the real, intrinsic worth of a child. The 21st-century economy is a global marketplace of goods, services, information, and ideas, and it demands more than just academic brilliance; it demands what Oni calls ‘Brilliance Plus’ – and it is that X-factor that has over the years set the students of SBS apart.

The school, she said, has long departed from the norm of ranking students according to their grades or positions in examinations. “These positions and attending grades don’t really determine their trajectory in life or their bottom line in business. The phenomenon in the real world of first-class academic stars working for third-class graduates has become something of a cliché.

I want that third-class student that can innovate and create, who is daring and believes in his/her abilities.

“I don’t want the first class who is going to say ‘yes sir’ to a boss all the time. I am building leaders. That’s why I put them on the stage – in readiness for the bigger stage of life,” she stated.

Looking ahead, Oni expressed confidence that the future of the Standard Bearers School would be even more glorious than its past. The journey toward that future, she said, will take a turn that nobody can imagine.

A teaser about what that future will look like in the coming days is a full-scale school production scheduled to take place at either the MUSON Centre or Terra Kulture (both in Lagos) in December 2022, in which both parents, children, and staff will share the stage. “If you can sing, come and sing,” Adeyinka- Oni urged parents and guardians. “It’s is not just for children; it’s the whole community.”

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