Raising Globally Competitive Students

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Peace Obi writes on the effort by Bridge House College to nurture students that can hold their own anywhere in the world through the ‘sixth form college’ model

“Think local, act global” is a promotional mantra for the local content law in Nigeria. But it is also the catchphrase of Bridge House College (BHC). BHC is an institution born of the desire to bridge the gap in the quality of education, which often cause Nigerian parents to send their children abroad, to the Ivy League colleges, in their quest for the best educational qualifications.

BHC higher education or sixth form education was born. curtail capital flight, and reduce brain drain, the

That Nigerians go as far as Europe, America, and other distant lands in search of education at levels as low as post-primary is no longer news. For many Nigerians, the incentive is mostly the insufficient number of schools offering the sixth form college system to students in Nigeria.

BHC as Service Provider

It was in response to the need for global standards anchored on the sixth form college system that a number of schools and other educational service providers in the country, including BHC in Ikoyi, Lagos, rose to the occasion. The school has thus far helped parents narrow the gap in making a choice as regards to the quality and standard of sixth form education for their kids.

At the school’s 14th annual lecture and prize giving ceremony held recently, there was a general expression of satisfaction by parents and guardians regarding the quality of education received by their kids and wards.

The college in its 2018 prize giving ceremony sent forth 170 flag bearers into a new phase of life and responsibility. Realising the appreciable transformation that has taken place in the lives of the youths which left them academically, physically and psychologically ready to take on the future, the parents could not but show their appreciation. Their joy was full and palpable, especially as the graduates’ excellent performances in both external and internal examinations told the story better. Beaming with pride, joy and a sense of fulfilment, the parents spoke glowingly of the institution.

For the fresh graduates, their experiences and the overall outcome of their stay at BHC can be likened to that of a beautiful design by an experienced potter. To many, their blurry academic path got lightened up, leading to the discovery of who they are and what they should become.

Wise Counsel

Chairman/CEO, BUA Group, Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu, CON, who chaired the occasion, noted that the 2018 graduation ceremony was a celebration of true success. Rabiu whose son was among the 2018 graduating class, congratulated the graduates and commended them for their academic prowess that has earned them laurels, scholarships, and admission into different universities and other institutions of higher learning in and around the world.

The business mogul also commended the BHC management for a sustainable tradition of churning out world-class leaders annually. He stated that the college is a suitable representative of Nigeria’s local content in education.

In a chat with THISDAY, the BUA Group CEO disclosed that his attraction to BHC was its standard and quality of education. He noted that his discovery while searching for a good sixth form college within and outside the country proved that Nigeria is truly blessed in BHC. Rabiu called on Nigerians to encourage and support the institution, adding that it is globally competitive.

He said, “I am very impressed and I am proud of this college. That is why my children are in this school. We must patronise our own. Before I brought my son to this school, I checked all over and I found out that it is a good school known for its quality anywhere in the world. We (Nigerians) must do more to encourage them because what we have in BHC is comparable if not better than what you may find outside the country. More importantly, the school is located here in Nigeria. You have the opportunity to see your child maybe every weekend or every month. You know what is involved when they are outside the country, more importantly, they are getting a quality education that truly prepares them for the future.”

In his advice to the graduating students, the BUA CEO urged them to desist from all forms of social vices. He warned the youths to shun the enticing but destructive path of drugs. According to him, millions of destinies have been destroyed by illicit drug consumption. He called on the youths to be good ambassadors of their families, school, and country. He counselled, “Wherever you find yourselves, you must continue to be an excellent ambassador of your family, your school and more importantly, be a good ambassador of our great country, Nigeria.”

Reliable Bridge for Higher Education

For Mr. Abiodun Olofin, whose two children were among the 2018 graduating class, BHC has actually been a good and reliable bridge in higher education. According to him, the family chose BHC based on its stance on discipline, which he said is exemplified in the college’s policy on use of smartphones, time management, among others. He said, “Before our choice of BHC, we had gone around to assess five other sixth form colleges. What resonated with us was the BHC message of being an ‘academic bridge to higher education.

“This to us was not just an ordinary message as the school is replete with the evidence of being a true bridge. From the picture of past graduands, the school architectural design, general atmosphere around the school. What stands out the most and ultimately led to our choice of BHC is the discipline exemplified at the college, also the school’s prohibition of the use of smartphones, a major distraction of the 21st century.”

College Ambassador

In the words of the college ambassador, Abubakar Gobir, “I was the most unlikely candidate for the position of college ambassador. I came to Bridge House College in 2016, a confused boy with average grades. Now, I leave as a young adult with an acute sense of direction and purpose to achieve my future potential. For me and for many of us, our time here has equipped us for a tough life ahead and has provided the experience required for us to be able to conquer any challenge we may encounter in the future. Bridge House provides a representation of the diversity and dynamism of any world-class educational institution around the world.”

Generational Flag Bearers

The guest speaker, Founder/CEO of Rise Network, Mrs. Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji, delivering a lecture titled, “Be a Flag Bearer for your Generation,” told the graduates that they must be different, despite coming from a society that believes so much in stereotypes. She noted that the world is earnestly waiting for the manifestation of a people with the needed capacity to drive development and proffer sustainable solutions for the world’s diverse needs.

According to the social entrepreneur, the graduates must realise that their own generation depends on them for the new discoveries, inventions, and creations needed to run the changing world. Adding that they must set aside rules that currently exist in the world to be truly flag bearers of their generation, she said it is important the youths know that there is no box anymore anywhere in the world and that they can’t afford to fit into any box.

Encouraging them to appreciate the changing nature of life, time and seasons, she said, “Growing up, the highest paying jobs were with such professions like medicine, law and engineering, but today, the highest paying jobs are in web development, artificial intelligence and Internet. They are in the space of virtual reality. So, the reality of your generation is interestingly different from my own reality and that of your parents. So, you cannot follow the rules that currently exist in today’s world, because you have got to break and amend them if you must stand out in life.”

Inspiring the youths with stories of those who tested failure before storming the world of success, fame, and fortune, the guest speaker said that “stories of failure is not told enough in this environment.” Encouraging the youths never to be afraid of failure, the social entrepreneur said that failure is not a bad thing, stressing that oftentimes it serves as a stepping stone to success.

She noted that with determination and focus, one can spring out of failure and eventually become successful. According to her, those who bounced back from failure into success used lessons learnt from it to improve their approach, practice, and procedures.

Speaking specifically to the girls, Akerele-Ogunsiji urged them to aim high and never allow themselves to be trapped in activities and affairs that will undermine the huge potentials inherent in them. “To the young girls, there is no reward for being a slay queen because men marry wives while guys date chicks and slay queen,” she stated.

Pathway to Relevance

One of the speakers, Ronke Onodeko, in her speech, encouraged the graduates to remain to remain focused in life. She told the graduates that they will achieve enviable heights in life if they have a positive attitude to life, be willing to learn, solve problems, avoid procrastination, build and nurture relationships.

Onodeko said, “They are places where you are going to find peace and money. Let me also let you know that money comes from the identification of a problem and finding an ingenious sustainable solution to that challenge. People who are making a lot of money from movies, music, and entertainment generally found or stumbled upon the space when Nigeria was lacking in entertainment. So, what is that you are going to be known uniquely for? What is that problem you can identify and find a sustainable solution to? That is the beginning of your wealth, riches, your uniqueness and your future.”

Nuggets of Wisdom

The guest of honour, the wife of former governor of Lagos State, Dame Abimbola Fashola, counselled the graduates to embrace their new phase of life with every sense of responsibility, duty and commitment required of them to excel. Warning them to carefully select their friends, Fashola said they should endeavour to make a checklist that will guide their vision in life.

She said, “Make a checklist and every day you go through it. Remember those things you post on the Internet is part of it; they don’t just disappear. Now, that you are going into the world, remember those values that have been inculcated in you from home, school, and religious places. Remember the child of whom you are. Remember also that every enemy was once a friend. Those things you cannot freely tell anybody, don’t do it. Please share your problem by finding somebody you can always talk to.”

Scholarship

Delighted with the 2018 graduating class outstanding records, the Executive Director of BHC, Mrs. Foluke Abdul-Rasaq said that the college was happy to celebrate the 170 young, determined, energetic, very brilliant and resourceful young adults who have successfully completed their courses of study.

She hinted that most of the graduates had already secured admission to some of the best universities in the world, adding that the college had no doubt on their ability to maintain impressive academic records wherever they go. “They have been well equipped here to face the academic and co-curricular challenges ahead. We are confident that they will all make positive impressions on their professors and colleagues wherever they go. They have imbibed the Bridge House spirit of academic excellence, enterprise, and discipline. We are particularly proud of our six students who recently received scholarship offers from 13 universities and still counting. Indeed, one student has garnered more than eight US university scholarship offers, each worth $58,000 a year. It is noteworthy that comparatively, Bridge House Students have consistently received more scholarship offers than other peer-institutions”, she enthused.

The college administrator, Carmen Latty, in her advice to the graduates, said, “We have fully equipped you to succeed in university and identify career; you must go and claim the highest laurels whilst making a positive change to the destiny and direction of this country and indeed, the world. I pray that very soon you will walk into any award ceremony, anywhere in the world and receive an award of excellence, or a standing ovation, not because you are the most eloquent speaker but because of hard work, discipline and determination and ambition, you excelled in your chosen profession to universal acclaim.”