….As Ezekwesili, Durotoye, others, at Meadow Hall summit, make case for qualitative education
Fixing up Nigeria through education
By Perpetua Egesimba
It was a gathering of best brains in the education sector when Meadow Hall Foundation (MHF), a subsidiary of Meadow Hall Group, hosted a two-day education convention to gain fresh perspectives and to address some relevant educational concerns in the country.
The theme of the event held at City Hall, Lagos Island and Meadow Hall, Lekki respectively was: ‘Transforming our Society through Education’, and had Nigeria’s former Minister of Education and former Vice President of the World Bank, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili as one of its keynote speakers.
Ezekwesili in her presentation said that education is the best economic policy, a take-off point in fixing the country, adding that low productivity and lack of competitive advantage are two key challenges the country is facing.
The former Minister narrated how Nigeria became independent ahead of Singapore and how Singapore is now economically ahead of us, noting that it takes education to make the citizens of a country more productive and more competitive. Since education is key to human capital development, we should use it to transformation our society, she said.
She emphasized that in dealing with productivity and competitiveness, we need to look at the role that education plays in empowering the citizens with the necessary cognitive capacity, the affective skills and the motor skills.
According to her, for nation building and society transformation, it is pertinent for teachers to pass down the 3 C’s to their students: competence which looks at mental capacity and the ability to complete tasks; character which stresses the importance of values, and capacity that looks at steadfastness and the ability to push through
She reiterated that if education which is the take-off point in fixing the society is fixed, everything about the values, skills deficit and poor performance in multiple sectors across our economy will be fixed.
Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Education, Mr. Obafela Bank-Olemoh threw more light on the discussion and what the state government is doing to enhance the quality of education in Lagos. Mr. Bank-Olemoh disclosed the key educative initiatives the state government is taking to transform the society because of its commitment to education.
He believes that once a person is educated, he will not remain the same. This is why the state is embarking on “Code Lagos, Ready, Set, Work” and Digital Library to increase academic knowledge of everyone in Lagos
“We are going to launch educatelagos.com which is an education portal that will be open to everybody, where people will have access textbooks from primary to secondary schools, including educational videos which are going to be free,” he said. “It is a deliberate effort to increase academic knowledge in Lagos.”
According to him, Code Lagos is big and the target is to equip one million Lagosians with the ability to code by 2019. He said the first centers would be opened in public and private schools, tertiary Institutions and public libraries in the state.
“We are doing it because it has been proven that if you are able to code, it changes your mindset totally from the way you think, the way you look at issues and you become a problem solver,” he insists. “Programming skills is a thing that can help average Lagosians.”
For Mr. Fela Durotoye, CEO, Gemstone Group and a board member of Meadow Hall Foundation, education is the fulcrum that the society drives on and any society that will transform itself must have a solid education and have education rooted in values.
Citing Bill Clinton’s comments in 2001 when he visited Nigeria and spoke about the wealth of a nation in the 21st century being calibrated, “not by what is beneath the feet but rather, by what is between the ears,” he said: “essentially, he is saying that it is not about human resources but about human capital. Human resource is population while human capital is human population and intellectual capital. So essentially, the wealth of any nation is tied to the level of intelligence of their people. Education is what drives the level of intelligence. Of all the different levels of education, having values is what prepares people not only to be able to read and write but equipped with the capacity to learn and be able to take decisions for the future.”
He urged educationists to demonstrate and uphold the right valued, to realize their position in the society and use it to pass the right values down to the students in order to transform society through education as it takes a whole nation to educate a child.
In her response, Head of Meadow Hall Foundation, Mrs. Kemi Adewoye, noted that the Meadow Hall Foundation’s passion for teachers and quality education led to the initiation of the education convention, which brought educational stakeholders such as teachers, head teachers, school owners, parents and community members, as well as government officials and policy makers together to discuss and learn ways to advance our society through education.
According to her, “Education is a vital tool for societal transformation and the quality of an education system can only be as good as the quality of its teachers.”
Meadow Hall Foundation is the non-profit arm of Meadow Hall Group, which supports communities, public schools, pupils and teachers through various developmental initiatives and programmes. Its vision is to advance the educational outcome of the Nigerian Child by enhancing teaching quality.