In the past, brand positioning was alien to the Nigerian education sector, but over the years, the emergence of private institutions spanning the crèche, nursery, primary, secondary and tertiary education has changed the landscape.
The relevance of any brand, even in the education sector is said to be judged by criteria like presence and voltage. A strong brand can also be described as one which has market leadership, viable brand perception, high top of mind recall and visible presence in the marketplace.
In today’s world-class education setting, one can visualise the distinctiveness of a brand from the most imaginative classroom experience. Imagine a chain of events and lessons that generate eclectic results; results of smart graduating students that incite smiles across classrooms, homes and bedrooms of satisfied parents. All these and more are what KIA Lakeside Academy, a crèche, nursery, primary and secondary school in Abuja is poised to generate.
Like all premium education institutions across the world, it is their branding that stands them out of the pack. This branding includes not just their uniqueness in architectural structures, but their distinctiveness in offering quality education to the students with ripple benefits to their parents, families, communities and the nation.
It is this offering of quality facilities and faculty that distinguishes KIA Lakeside Academy among its peers. Recently, the school was officially dedicated to God and formally unveiled to the public by the Primate, Church of Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, who prayed that the school be used to raise God fearing children. The school made the formal unveiling with a clear and strong declaration- I am poised to the lead no matter the competition.
Speaking at the occasion, the Chairman, Governing Council of the school, Prof. Oladapo Afolabi stated that the KIA Lakeside Academy which was established in Jabi, Abuja with just seven pupils at inception, has grown to 200 students. He said the school was established in 2008 as Lakeside Academy, but was renamed in memory of the late Kunbi Irene Adebiyi (KIA), who lost her life in the unfortunate 2013 Dana air crash.
“Kunbi was a prodigious child in whom the parents, friends, family members and well-wishers were well pleased. Kunbi was someone who cared for others, especially the less privileged. She graduated with BSc in Economics and obtained a master’s degree in Development Economics. She also had a Postgraduate Diploma in Development Studies from the Harvard University.
“In pursuit of her love to care for others, she established, quite early in life, a non-governmental organisation through which she sponsored and provided succour for the less privilege persons in Nigeria and Ghana. Her major goal was to give them a chance to survive and grow to become their best in life.
“She spent most part of her time in the rural communities interacting with rural dwellers, in a bid to seek for avenues to uplift their lives and give them a chance to actualise their dreams, even in the face of their prevailing circumstances. She was like a shoulder for the poor to lean on. She did not like to see people suffer. So, all through her life, she fought to lift less privileged out of their poverty.”
Afolabi added: “This school is established in her memory. She will live forever in our hearts and in the hearts of all those she sought to give a wing to fly their dreams. The goal of this school is to continue from where Kunbi stopped. KIA Lakeside Academy is designed to give all Nigerians and every other people the opportunity to access quality and affordable education. The school is not established for profit making.
“The goal is to offer world class education to all who are opportune to apply and gain admission here. The facilities in this school can compare with the best anywhere in the world. The teachers and administrators are carefully selected and recruited based on high standards.”
He encouraged parents and guardians to seize the opportunity offered by the school to access quality education for their children and wards.
In his remarks, the special guest, the Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Umar Gambo Jibrin commended the Proprietress, Mrs. Titilayo Adebiyi and her husband Prof. Dan Adebiyi for establishing such a quality and impressive educational institution.
“Education is key to development. We encourage people and institutions to partner and collaborate with government in establishing great institutions like KIA Lakeside Academy that promotes development both for the individual and for the society”.
He said the government is willing at all times to support endeavours like this. “We will support KIA Lakeside Academy and any other private institution that seeks our support to enable our children receive the best educational training possible for the development of our country.”
The students demonstrated the strength of character on which the school was established as they recited poems, danced and dramatized the core values of the school. In one of the drama skits, they showcased their desire for a united Nigeria. While as in the dance which encapsulated the message ‘the future is here’ weaved in the same concept of the unity of Nigeria they performed different dance forms representing the six geo-political regions of Nigeria.
It was interesting and instructive to watch students from mostly the south-east and south-south regions perform excellently Fulani dance steps, just as students from the northern region performed the atilogwu or the Yoruba dance to the admiration of the audience.
Most observers would find it touching that behind the story of such a great loss can emerge this team of suave, counter-intuitive thinkers and creators who constantly try to re-create a school that is becoming a world class educational brand. In this era of persistent complaint about the standard of education in Nigeria, most onlookers would be expecting brand savvy parents to ensure that their children benefit from the initiative.