Funmi Ogundare

The Grande Oakbridge Montessori School, Lekki, Lagos, recently inaugurated its permanent site with a charge on parents not to relegate the cost of running education to private school powders alone, but through collaborative efforts from them and organisations.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Executive Director, Mrs. Hannah Obalade said people most times have the mindset that private school owners are making money, saying that if one’s visions are not properly engineered, one may soon be out of business.

She recalled her vision of establishing the school 25 years ago saying, “the words of Nelson Mandela ‘education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’ was the initial motivating factor. I felt then that I must be a change agent. I have also been trained as an educator having obtained certificates from Grade Two Teachers’ College and a college of education. I just needed to read more and bring the vision to fruition.”

According to her, after 10 years of preparation, the school wasofficially inaugurated on September 12, 2005 with a mission and vision to provide a platform where children will imbibe a culture of academic distinction, standing tall and making a positive mark on everyone they come in contact with; and provide a world-class education that is functional and effective, enabling each child to unleash his God-given potential.

She also recalled her experience in the first one year of the school, saying that it was tough and that the school had challenges with enrolment of pupils as it operated from a rented building with six three bedroom flats, but with less than 10 pupils.

“Destiny and Blossom were the first childern to register in the nursery. We had to employ different strategies to improve the enrolment. At a point in time, we visited and supported Arrow of God Motherless Babies Home in Ado Road, Badore. Some of their children were offered full and some partial scholarships;worthy of note is one of them, Samuel Ogo who secured admission to Greensprings Secondary School here in Lekki onfull scholarship. Our hearts rejoice that we were able to make indelible mark on their educational pursuit.”

Obalade stressed that morals should be an ingredient in educating a total child, adding over the years, the school monitors the academic performance of its pupils even as they move from one school to another.

“Many of our children have gained admission into reputablesecondary schools and we have good reports of their excellent performance. Our education system especially the public schools have been challenged, so we came to build the bridge that will save children and their future.”

She commended the school’s board of directors for their support and for using their wealth of experience to administer the school while thanking parents for believing in the management.

The Chairman of the school, Mr. Yinka Obalade, who emphasised on ensuring the totality of the children, said the school has dedicated teachers that train them in ballet, music and sports, adding that they are also exposed to competitions outside the school that would make them compete favourably with their peers.

“We offer holistic education to the children in terms of the training they get. We are also trying to build an entrepreneurial spirit in them by including entreprenaural courses in our curriculum. This is to give a first hand experience to pupils in preparing them to own their business in the nearest future.”