The Administrator of St. Gregory’s College, Lagos, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Ayeni, has appealed to the government to take education seriously by ensuring quality assurance as it pertains to the development of schools’ curriculum.
Speaking during the 89th founder’s day of the college, he said a lot of things that are in schools’ curriculum today are not in line with the African culture and are not good for the country. He said if people are well educated, it will reflect in everything they do.
Ayeni, who has been the administrator since January 2015, attributed the growth of the college to the grace of God, cooperation of the management team, old boys association and teachers. “There is a blueprint for the college and all we need do is to follow it faithfully. We are marking the anniversary in a simple way now and by next year, we are going to be 90. We are thanking God that the college is 89 years, has been running, standing and waxing stronger.”
He advised the old boys to keep up the good spirit and faith for the college that they love so much. “This is something we are all proud of. When we see them, it encourages us to continue.”
Asked if anything is lacking in the college, he said, “there is no perfect society, but the most essential elements that are needed in a secondary school and even beyond are here. Some people come here and say it looks like a university but for us, we are not there yet, we are still moving, our new science complex is coming up here, we virtually have all that we need, but like Oliver Twist, we are still asking God for more.”
The President of the Old Boys Association, Dr. John Abebe, said one of the things that have always driven the old boys is the spirit of togetherness and brotherly love that made them always want to give back to their alma mater.
“If you have the fortune of attending very good school, 50, 60, and 70 years ago and you believe in life that as a result of attending that school, you have progressed well in life, you will always want to come and give back what you gained to the betterment of others, the children and grandchildren who are coming after you. I have been an active member of the association for almost 40 years and I know from what I have seen and taken part in.”
He said the association is currently constructing a 12-laboratory building and once the building is completed and dedicated, it plans to change the old one to boarding house by next session.
“There is a huge plan which is going to continue for the next 20 years for total development. The secretariat itself that will have a boardroom where we will have meetings is on a one-floor level, my plans before the end of my tenure in the next two years, is to pull that down to be on the same level with this with an extra floor to do whatever we want to do. I am hoping that will be my donation as a parting gift to the school.”
He advised members of the association to “be your brothers’ keepers, have the love of each other in your hearts, do for your school as much as you can.
“My message is keep doing what you are doing right. Education will move forward once government, private sector and religious bodies all do it together, they have been left to do it alone and for some time, it failed woefully. Education should be in totality.”
An old boy, Sir. Steve Omojafor said the college has come a long way, adding that since it was returned to the missionary, it has grown in leaps and bounds.
“When I got to the college between 1961 to 65, in between when the Lagos State Government took over when and it was almost drowned for about five years, by the time we came back, we were able to phase out the Jakande students and our students took over, our luck was that no strange building were built.
Looking round the compound today, you can see the land bound that we have gone through, but the important thing is that we kept the school intact and raising and leading the children into the university.
“We are very proud of the college, we have kept ourselves intact and control admission, we don’t want the place to be filled up with children that we cannot control, so we are careful with the number of children we bring in and we can give them proper training, the type that we got when we were here. Generally we are proud of the legacy that the Catholic missionaries left behind for us and we are keeping that going and children who have gone through here are proud to be here and the progress that they are making in universities within and outside the country.”