By Chinelo Obogo
The Lagos State government has partnered with Finland to boost the Ministry of Education’s, comprehensive school programme which was launched this year.
The state recently sent a group of selected teachers and coordinators in the programme on a two-week training course at Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) in Finland and during this time (18th April – 1st May, 2022), the group was immersed in the workings of an education system long ranked the best in the world. The aim is to pick up on teaching methodologies and strategies which could be incorporated into the State’s Comprehensive Schools Programme for the best possible results.
Finland is widely acclaimed for its student-centered approach to learning, and education in the Scandinavian nation is built on a guiding principle where teachers are encouraged to develop their inner skills; collaborate with other professionals to improve the national curriculum; and this makes for constant innovation.
Adebayo Sodiq, a teacher from Lagos Education District I1, alongside his colleagues, witnessed innovation first-hand when he sat in at a project presentation on recycling plastic to form rings, earrings, and other items at Ylojarvi Upper Secondary School. He said: “I was impressed by the confidence of the students and the obvious depth of their know-how. It was also an eye-opener on how learning can move from the pages of textbooks into practical and useful purposes.”
It is a testament to the flexibility of an education system where all learners are accommodated as to leave no dead end in the system. This is very similar to the vision of the Lagos Comprehensive Schools Programme and offers a specific equivalent in the Finnish JOPO Programme which is designed to help struggling students regain motivation and prevent dropout.
An Education District VI6 tutor, Bunmi Abiloye, said, “JOPO is like a mirror image of our Comprehensive Schools Programme, only bigger. With elements like activity-based and on-the-job learning, individual learning plans, as well as school camps, field trips, study visits, internships and team building that help expand and improve our scope.”
The second week of the course saw the group pay visits to Tampere High School of Technology, the Tampere Adult Education Centre, various vocational colleges, and JOPO Lower and Upper Secondary Schools.
On the impact of the training has made on the group and how it they plans to transfer such learnings to the Lagos State Comprehensive Schools Programme, Adejare Judah, another teacher in the group said, “The conventional school setting of teacher, students and classroom is history. The learning environment has become a much wider field comprising not just the teacher and students, and textbooks but also vocational and skills training incorporating input from other resource persons and technology. We plan to take what we have learned back to enhance the Comprehensive Schools Programme in Lagos State and Public Secondary School Education in Nigeria as a whole.”