Nwani: At Meadow Hall, We Champion Holistic Devt of Children

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Meadow Hall Group, founded by Mrs. Kehinde Nwani, is an educational group with six subsidiaries; Meadow Hall Education, Meadow Hall Consult, Spring Meadow Edutainment, Meadow Hall Branchise, Meadow Hall Resources and Meadow Hall Foundation. Meadow Hall Education is one of the renowned educational institutions in Nigeria that prides itself as “the place to excel” in academics and multiple intelligences, as evidenced by the quality of education they offer through the British and Nigerian curricula. The school was recently awarded COBIS Patron’s Accredited Member status. Nwani, tells THISDAY the vision, focus and some developmental initiatives of Meadow Hall to ensure a well-rounded education and holistic development of children and why continuous teacher training is key to achieving this

What is your role at Meadow Hall Group?

I oversee the entire group and as the visionary, I continue to cast the vision, inspiring all members of staff to buy into it so that it becomes a shared vision and I also continue to monitor that we do not lose sight of the objectives for which Meadow Hall was set up. I am a social entrepreneur and I am passionate about the holistic development of children who are 100 per cent the future of our nation.

You were once a lawyer with extensive experience in the legal profession. What motivated you to go into the education sector?

Purpose and passion motivated me to go into the education sector. Yes, I practiced law for about 15 years but wasn’t fulfilled. I had studied law for the wrong reasons – it was a much more respected course and one I thought would guarantee me success, fame and glamour. This caused me to change from Education (which was the course I entered university to study) to Law after my first year in the university. I soon realised practicing law wasn’t for me, but God in his mercy brought me back to the place he had ordained for me, and now I have found passion, fulfillment of purpose and relevance. I am in God’s will and I am happy.

Tell us about the vision and objective of Meadow Hall. What are your contributions in improving the education system? What would you say are your major achievements?

The vision of Meadow Hall is to raise ‘change makers’ and our objective is to use education as a tool for societal transformation. Our contributions in improving the educational system include raising leaders, adopting the use of multiple intelligences, which allows children excel in their different areas of strength (which might not necessarily be in academics) thereby giving them tools that can help them succeed in future. Other contributions include our teacher training programmes like the Graduate Teacher Trainee Programme (GTTP), Meadow Hall Finishing School for Teachers (MFST) and Free Teacher Professional Development for teachers in public schools and low cost private schools. Through our foundation, we organise the Inspirational Educator Awards (INSEA) and hold education conventions for teachers. For more information, visit http://meadowhallfoundation.org/education-convention/

To nominate a teacher for INSEA, visit http://www.inseawards.org.

I believe the birthing of Meadow Hall Group, a parent company with six subsidiaries, which takes care of every relevant aspect of education is a major achievement and an idea that is unique to us.

Meadow Hall is fully committed to raising excellent, Godly and well-rounded children especially engaging in sports and other co-curricular activities. Can you tell us more about your sports programme?

We are involved in sports because we believe in the holistic development of children and providing opportunities for their development not just through an academic curriculum, but through an active engagement in sports. It is important to give the children an opportunity to engage in sports at an early age. As with most things in life, starting early is key.

Last year, we had the second edition of the Meadow Hall Football Camp with Daniel Amokachi, and we are looking forward to hosting another one in July this year. We also partnered with the International Tennis Academy for the development of our tennis programme. Finally, through one of our subsidiary companies, Spring Meadow Edutainment (SME), we are able to create avenues where the children can have fun while still developing their God-given talents.

What makes Meadow Hall unique for learning?

Our unique selling point is the delicate blend of the British and Nigerian curricula with the focus on the spiritual development of the children. It is this intricate blend, all in the right proportion that makes us unique.

Also, the Individualised Learning derived from the child-centeredness of our curriculum. Our teachers teach children and not just subjects, thereby going beyond the delivery of the curriculum. Our teachers’ knowledge and proficiencies in the subjects they teach is also a strong factor. We also acknowledge the fact that not every child will excel in the academics, hence our celebration of multiple intelligences in our pupils; this has become intrinsic to our curriculum.

Also, our Assessment for Learning (AFL) practices focus on the concept of learning how to learn, whereby teachers as part of their assessment for learning practices promote self-learning. This is very important as the curriculum can become out-dated and some of the things the students learnt will also become out-dated, but the skill of knowing how to learn makes them into lifelong learners.

Students of Meadow Hall usually excel, especially in external examinations like IGCSE. What is the secret?

Our pupils are expertly and thoroughly guided on what subjects would take them through their destinations and beyond. This is because success is more likely if the level of interest is high in any endeavour.

Our teachers consistently demonstrate secure knowledge and proficiency to use our resources to achieve success in our pupils. We also include a lot of mentoring sessions to prepare our children psychologically before any exam (just as good football coaches do for instance before a match), psychological preparation is also important, as important as physical preparation.

Meadow Hall was recently awarded COBIS Patron’s Accredited Member status after receiving an excellent rating from COBIS Compliance and Accreditation team. How do you feel receiving such commendation?

I am elated and grateful to God. It was a lot of hard work and an extremely rigorous process of course but we ‘passed with flying colours’. The vision of Meadow Hall has always been hinged on excellence, right from the very beginning. Excellence drives standards and ensures continuous improvement. The COBIS accreditation process is simply an acknowledgement (external) of the quality of what we offer and one that we also needed to be sure we were doing the right things. The suggestions they also proffered are things that will certainly continue to place our institution over and above our competitors. It was very rigorous but our staff found it an exciting experience and to be honest, it is great to have moved from being just an associate member to becoming a fully accredited member of such a prestigious organisation as COBIS (Council of British International Schools).

There is no doubt we have a shortfall of qualified teachers in Nigeria. What are you doing at Meadow Hall to raise teaching standards?

We continue to raise the standards, not just for teachers in Meadow Hall but we have created an opportunity for all teachers in Nigeria through one of our subsidiaries, Meadow Hall Consult (MHC), the consulting arm of the group. The aim of the consult is to provide creative and innovative support to educational institutions and stakeholders.

Through Meadow Hall Consult, we raise the standard of teaching by providing consultancy services and conducting top-notch professional trainings and workshops to enhance skill levels, build human capacity and increase productivity. We organise programmes such as the Finishing School for Teachers and EDUCAMP. We also run a Practical Academy and Leadership Academy for teachers. We have a very vibrant team of 21st century skilled facilitators and educational consultants to handle these courses.

Since the government cannot do it alone, in what areas can the government partner with private entrepreneurs to improve the quality of education in Nigeria?

Capacity development of teachers is an important area where there has to be more collaboration with the private sector. Teachers are often referred to as the fulcrum of the education system, hence the need to engage them in continuous professional development programmes.

Education is integral, therefore the government cannot be left to saddle this responsibility alone. The private sector is needed in the adoption of low-budget public schools in need of educational resources and infrastructure.

You established Meadow Hall Edutainment Centre at Lekki Phase 1 to inspire and nurture creativity in children; can you tell us more about this?

Meadow Hall Edutainment Centre is essentially tailored to meet the needs of working parents by offering a one-stop centre for developing children’s talents in various areas such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), Bookarama (reading club), Afternoon Adventure, Learning Hub, Music Academy, Swimming, Babies’ room (crèche) and Language Parlour. In addition to these, we offer various programmes/events including fairs, camps, excursions and tours throughout the year. This is geared towards developing children’s multiple intelligences, expanding their learning experiences and widening their horizons.

You are the GMD/CEO of Meadow Hall Group with six subsidiaries. How are you able to handle all of these with your role as a wife, mother, social entrepreneur and a PhD student?

It is said that the safest place to be is in the will of God, because I am in His will, He gives me ability that is beyond me. People ask me all the time- how do you cope? It’s by God’s grace.

Also, I prioritize; I don’t try to be ‘superwoman’. When I notice that things seem to be slipping in a particular area, I quickly adjust. Also, I have a very good support system. I call these people my destiny helpers.

Special thanks also goes to my husband, who has been my support and greatest cheer leader. His help and understanding has gone a long way in helping me cope with all the things I juggle.