Students seeking admission into SS1…could be required to produce evidence of three-month skill training
By Sam Otti
Students seeking admission into Senior Secondary School (SS1) at King’s College, Lagos, would be required to produce evidence of three-month skill training in three different careers or risk being disqualified. The new admission policy, which would soon take effect, was introduced to retool the students with skills for employment.
The Vice Principal (Academics), Mrs. Ibezim Elizabeth, who spoke on behalf of the Director/Principal of the college, Oluseyi Thomas, disclosed this during this year’s career fair organized by the Guidance and Counselling Department for the students of the Annex at Victoria Island, Lagos.
She said the two-day career fair was introduced to expose the students to the world of work and to inspire them to acquire employable skills outside the conventional classroom teachings.
“We want to expose our students to different career opportunities”, she said. “We invited experts to talk to these boys, especially those in JS 3 who would soon finish their Junior WAEC examination and go for three months holiday. Instead of sitting back at home and watching television, they should go for training at three different entrepreneurial centres, learn the skills before coming back to school to continue with their education, starting with SS1.”
The Vice Principal commended the entrepreneurial spirit of the students, noting that the hair cream, liquid soaps and other products they made were proofs that they would do more if properly trained in those skills.
“One of the students produced beads from paper. When you see it, you will think that bead was made from diamond. They are so creative,” she enthused. “Some of them made sockets and wood hangers. When they get home, they will share their experiences with their parents.”
Ibezim said the school would work out measures to commercialise some of the students’ products in line with the federal government’s policy to encourage domestic production.
“We will encourage the students to be producing soap in larger quantity for the college”, she said. “The kitchen, the dormitory section and others would use our soap for cleaning and washing. The hair cream to be used by our teachers would be made by King’s College students. If they can produce local wrappers (Adire), hand gloves and so on, why should we go to the market to buy imported ones?”
She reported that the school participated in the last national exhibition in Abuja, adding that some of these products would be displayed at any national exhibition for the world to see the entrepreneurial spirit of King’s College students.
Ibezim said that the three months skills training has been made compulsory for all JS 3 students, noting that proof of their participation in the exercise would be presented as part of their admission process into SS1.
“When they come for registration for SS1, they must present signed forms by all the entrepreneurs they had visited, stating the nature of training they underwent there, duration and so on,” she remarked. “There are so many skills to learn but we expect them to come back with only three.”
The decision to make skill training a prerequisite for admission was justified by the increasing unemployment among Nigerian graduates, she explained. She argued that such training has become a lifeline that would address the problem of joblessness and give hope to millions of youths in the country.
Ibezim said the college has well equipped laboratories, computer centre and workshop for basic technology for the practical training of the students. According to her, the emphasis on skill acquisition and entrepreneurship was a decision taken in the best interest of all the students.
One of the invited speakers at the event, Mrs. Oketayo Abimbola, who represented the Director General, Nigerian Mathematical Centre, Abuja, commended the programme, describing it as an eye-opener for the students.
Oketayo, who addressed the students on the importance of Mathematics, described the subject as the bedrock of knowledge, the backbone of other professions. She urged the students to conquer the phobia for Mathematics, which she said, could arise due to poor teaching methodology by some of the subject teachers.
“Our government is not encouraging teachers to put in more effort,” she lamented. “Most of our university graduates who might end up as teachers, are half-baked. In Nigeria, our graduates are after money, they are not interested in imparting knowledge in these students.”
She also blamed some parents for contributing to their children’s failure in Mathematics by not giving these young learners the required encouragement and support.
“China is ruling in Science and Mathematics in the world now”, she warned. “We sent some of our staff to China. The Nigerian Mathematical Centre introduced Mental Arithmetic. This helps students to use both sides of their brain. Regular training and workshops should be organised for Maths teachers. Mathematics in no longer a subject you can teach in abstract.”
As part of the school career fair, students of Home Economics department demonstrated their entrepreneurial spirit by displaying liquid soap, hair cream, hand sanitiser, beads, hand glove, and locally designed wrappers (Adire). There were also electrical appliances and other displays by students in science class.