•Govt should raise standards in education, principal pleads
By Rebecca Opaluwa
Corona Secondary Schools, a major secondary school in Nigeria, recently rolled out the drums to celebrate its silver jubilee. The event took place at its expansive school premises in Agbara, Ogun State.
After successfully providing qualitative education to young Nigerians in the last 25 years, it was agreed that Corona indeed deserved a toast.
The event, held between Sunday November 19 and Monday, November 20, 2017, was graced by several eminent personalities. It began with the school’s 2016/2017 Academic Year Speech and Prize-Giving Day. The annual event celebrates students and staff for their excellence, achievements and good conduct.
Dignitaries at the event included the dean, School of Transport, Lagos State University, Prof. Samuel Odewumi; chairman, Corona Secondary School Board, Mr. Niyi Yusuf; chairman, Corona Schools Trust Council, Mr. Adedotun Sulaiman; chairman/guest speaker of the event, Prof. Peter Okebukola, former executive secretary, National Universities Commission and pro-chancellor, Crawford University; chief executive officer, Corona Schools Trust Council, Mrs. Adeyoyin Adesina; and the principal, Corona Secondary School, Agbara, Mrs. Chinedum Oluwadamilola
The following day witnessed the inauguration of Corona Secondary School, Agbara, as a pasch-schule of the Goethe Institut. With that, Corona has become the second pasch-schule (partner school) in Nigeria. Among eminent personalities at the event were Mr. Ingo Herbert, the consul-general, German Consulate, Lagos, and Mrs. Friederike Möschel, director of the Goethe Institut, Lagos.
The school principal, who has been with Corona for 25 years, noted that Corona has continued to maintain its culture of excellence among staff and students over the years, insisting that it has continued to churn out good results and great graduates.
“Corona Secondary School is the only secondary school of Corona Schools Trust Council. And the council stands for providing ‘World Class Education.’ And being a trust, the ownership structure is different. Because of this, the school does not have a proprietor. So every teacher is a stakeholder and we always bear this in mind that whatever ‘I do, I do it for myself.’
“Again, because it is a trust, it does not spare any expense in training the workforce, in providing facilities for the schools. There is this culture of continuous improvement. That is the major reason the secondary arm and other arms have maintained their record of excellence over the years. As at today, people who have worked here for over 15 years are almost 50 per cent. We have people who started from inception and are still here,” she said.
She recalled that 90 per cent of the students made distinctions in the 2017 WASSCE, among other impressive results. She said that, in June, Corona became the only school in Nigeria and the second in West Africa to be accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) in the United States. In addition, the school’s recent partnership with the Goethe-Institut would afford the students more opportunities for higher education and scholarships, though German was already being taught in the school.
“The world is a global village. Most of our students go abroad for their university education, and in the process of searching for universities abroad, we realised that in Germany there is quality education with little or no tuition fees, but language is a big barrier. They have schools that teach in English but you have to speak the language to live with them.”
She also said that officials of the Goethe Institut inspected facilities at Corona before the agreement with the school: “They have sent many materials to teach German, ordered equipment and furniture for the language room for us. It is an initiative that stated in 2008 and other countries are benefiting from it, including schools in the US and Europe, because it gives the students the opportunity of getting into good schools, getting scholarship offers, going for excursions, teacher exchange programmes and a whole lot.”
Oluwadamilola regretted that education inspectors in Nigeria lacked the capacity needed in these modern times.
“They ask questions about things that no longer exist. You can’t be inspecting people with the aim of raising and maintaining standards and you are like two decades behind. Inspectors should get up-to-date education.
“One of my dreams is that, one day, there will be a thorough cleansing of the education sector just like the banking sector. When that is done, more than 80 per cent of private schools will close; they don’t have qualified teachers or facilities. We have schools sharing compound with mechanics. We have traders setting up schools and all sorts of things.”
She stated that the school authorities instil discipline in students by eliminating all forms of distractions and ensuring that students are always engaged in school work, extracurricular activities or community service.
According to Oluwadamilola, many students of Corona have been supporting public schools in the state with books, construction of classroom blocks, science laboratories, toilets, boreholes, and donation of furniture, among others. She said students use their pocket money and also do some minor jobs in school to earn money for community service.
The principal stressed that the school would soon initiate new programmes for the benefit of students and society.