By Jet Stanley Madu
The maiden edition of education awards organised by Olowo Adebowale Lawrence of Zimogines Limited and tagged: The Prestige Nigeria Education Awards held recently at Classique Event Place, Ikeja, Lagos. The awards were bestowed not only on pupils and students who excelled in their studies but also on teachers and institutions who have worked tirelessly to uphold education.
The awards touched all spheres including television and radio programmes of the year. The Big Issue and Sharing Life Issues with Charles B emerged tops, respectively, in these categories. Both programmes are aired by TVC and its sister Radio station, Radio Continental.
Other categories are: Educational Television stations, Radio, newspaper and educational state of the year, which Lagos State clinched. Also honoured were distinguishing tertiary institutions and administrators who created prevailing atmosphere for learning. The best Vice Chancellor of the Year, 2015, was won by Prof. Abdul Ganiyu Ambalim, of the University of Ilorin.
In Adebowale’s view, government schools or what is referred to as public schools have better, well-trained teachers but lack good learning facilities. The lack of facilities, coupled with lack of motivation, he opined, in no small measure, hamper quality of the teachers’ output.
Despite these challenges, some government-established school braced the odds to win awards. Oriwu Senior Model College Ikorodu, Lagos, lifted the trophy for the “Best Secondary School in Lagos State” while Bonny Camp Primary School, Victoria Island, beat other Lagos primary schools to emerge first. Caleb International College Ikosi, Ketu proudly went home with the prize of Best Private Secondary School award while Lagooz Montessori School, Agege was adjudged the best private primary school in Lagos.
Speaking at the beginning of the ceremony, Managing Partner, Miss Toyin Oluwatoyian, remarked that the quality of an education system is a reflection of a nation and its people. She noted that Zimogines Limited, the outfit that organized the awards, “is taking out time to celebrate people and institutions that have, through thick and thin, stuck out their necks, to make Nigeria’s education system work”.
In a chat with The Sun Education, Olowo, the Chief Executive Officer, Zimogines Limited and the Project Director of the education awards, and also the Editor-In-Chief of the New Nigeria Times Education, a print and online print publication, revealed that the initiative was a three-year dream come true.
Giving reasons for instituting the awards, the education enthusiast contended that in the last five years, education in Nigeria has deteriorated.
“We want to celebrate education,” he said, while speaking on the goals of the award. “The education sector is designed to raise leaders but it’s a very challenging process. At present, public school system is more or less neglected. And most of the school administrators, the principals or head teachers, do just whatever to get by. They don’t really put in that extra effort. They don’t even go for competitions if the Ministry did not give them money. So, in selecting the best, we looked at the effort the school management is putting in to make sure their schools turn out the best.
“The judges worked with the Ministry of Education to pick the school that has been meeting these criteria. Again, in external examinations like WASSCE, how well did they perform? Some schools are known for poor results. But some schools are known for excellent results. So, there must be something they’re doing right.”
He made a case for students in government schools to have access to modern learning facilities to help improve their performance. “Government should provide learning aids in public schools, so that when students are exposed to developed environment, they can compete favourably”
Ayodele Daniel Dada of the University of Lagos emerged the best student while Okoye Kingsley and Olaniyan Gbemisola, teachers at High Light Comprehensive College and St. Gregory’s College respectively, were also honoured.