As a top notch educational institution in Nigeria, Pace Setter Academy, Abuja has continued to champion the revival of the country’s culture through education to foster peaceful co-existence and bequeath the knowledge of cultural heritage to the youths. Paul Obi writes on such efforts as witnessed during the school’s recent cultural day
With Nigerians embracing more diversity, it has become to sustain the country’s cultural aesthetics. The best way to attain such feat is through educating the young ones about their respective cultures. Catching them young while in school is also another means of ensuring that the children are in tune with their cultures and history effectively.
It is in that light that the Pace Setter Academy, Abuja is collaborating with UNESCO to deepen the knowledge of cultural diversity among its students. With several branches spread across the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, the school intends to reach many young Nigerians to showcase the beauty of culture in schools and through education.
To put that to action, Pace Setter Academy recently organised a cultural day for its pupils at its premises in Zone 7, Abuja.
Speaking at the event, the Chairman, Mr. Kenneth Imasuangbon explained that there is so much culture can do to the Nigerian society, adding that there are several multiplier effects culture could bring to the society.
“The development of Nigeria will be located in character and behavioural pattern of our people, we are one people under God, though we are divided, we are stronger together. From Kano through Port Harcourt, Benin, Lagos, Ibadan, you can see that we are interwoven; the culture of Nigeria is saved.
“The motivation to me in Pace Setter Academy is that we can inculcate the unity of our people, the greatness of our country and the strength of Nigeria through culture into our children early in life. This will trigger oneness, peace and development. This is a country so endowed by God. So, we are loving people, we are a people with good heart.
“Through our cultural day, we are driving culture into these children so that our tomorrow is seen today. We are building these children in the next 50 years. You can see the Ibibio child, you can see the Hausa child, you can see the Delta child, you can see the Igbo, Yoruba and Calabari children here, it is not for today, but for generations to come,” Imasuagbon maintained.
Also speaking, the Principal, Pacesetters Academy, Wuse, Mrs. Vivian Akukwe said “it is good that we celebrate our individual culture while knowing that we need to come together and be integrated to have a viable society. We can’t have development if we don’t recognise the differences in the different groups we have and the different countries and their cultures.”
Akukwe added: “If you look at all these cultures, we all have something that unites us. When we look away from those things that seem to separate us and concentrate on the things that unite us, we will have a viable society. Nigeria will really be great as well as Africa and the entire world. It will make our economy better and there will be development and our kids will have a bright future.”
According to UNESCO National Professional Officer on Culture, Ifeanyi Ajaegbo, culture plays an essential role in education and peaceful co-existence. Ajaegbo observed that the essence is “to celebrate cultural diversity as a way of inculcating culture into young people and ensuring that Nigeria has a peaceful coexistence. When we recognise that we are from diverse cultures right, it will be easy to tolerate each other and accept that we are different human beings but living together, basically unity in diversity.”
On the contributions of the UN body, he said “UNESCO is actually a technical agency of the United Nations furthering education, science, culture, communication and information. When I talk about our culture and schools, they all fall within what UNESCO is meant to do for the UN. We have programmes in education and we have for culture that deal with schools at all levels.
For instance, UNESCO is working with the National Institute for Cultures Orientation (NICO) to set up cultural clubs in schools and we have convention that guides what we do. What is happening here today is part of UNESCO’s mandate and we have been supporting schools technically and with our presence.
Speaking further on UNESCO’s collaboration with Pace Setter Academy, Ajaegbo said: “Pace Setter is one school in Abuja that I see that has this kind of day at this level. Our presence shows that UNESCO is partnering the school in trying to get our younger generation to accept our culture as it is. What they can do is get cultural activities included in their curriculum either attached to another subject or a stand-alone course and UNESCO can support them in developing such curriculum.”
For some guests at the event, cutting across Liberia, Japan, Indonesia and China, teaching Nigerian students about the cultures of other countries was the right thing to do.
Speaking to THISDAY, the Secretary of Information and Social-Cultural Affairs, Indonesian Embassy, Rizqi Adri Muhammad explained that “the importance of the event is for the children to become exposed to international culture. I am happy we are invited and the kids are being told about the diversity in cultures which are the various people, the foods and costumes.
“We are here to introduce to them the culture of Indonesia and we have been here for long. We came to showcase lots of things about Indonesia. At this early age, it is important to expose them to these cultures now and it won’t leave them,” he said.