Canadian College Partners Grace School on Soft Skills, Problem-solving Education

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Peace Obi

Determined to reverse the trend of churning out unemployable graduates from Nigerian universities, the Loyalist College of Applied Arts and Technology, Ontario, Canada is collaborating with Grace High School, Gbagada, Lagos to offer students critical thinking skills, problem-solving and hands-on education to make them employable and self-reliant after graduation.

The Director of International Education, Loyalist College, Jim Whiteway, while meeting with SS2 and SS3 students in Lagos, said the college will offer a two-year programme commencing in September 2020 for students who excel in their SSCE examinations.

Speaking on the college’s choice of Grace School, Whiteway said: “A thorough research was made on what schools will be interested and the ones that really have the reputation in terms of the strength of the graduates and dedication to students’ success. I found Grace School qualified.”

On the gains of the college, Whiteway stated that Loyalist is a tight-knit group of unique and talented individuals, coming together to build a brighter future.
“The people you meet will be a part of the college experience as they all study together, learn from each other and forge a relationship that lasts a lifetime. The students will also have the opportunity to network with industry professionals, who will give words of wisdom and provide valuable mentorship.

“The college offers international students the ideal combination of academic excellence, extra-curricular activities and experiences. The credential of Loyalist College is well recognised internationally, it is something that any student can take to any country in the world and will be accepted as a post-secondary credential.
“The opportunity for international education is critical. An employer in the workplace wants someone with international education and experience.”

Whiteway said the Nigerian child stands to gain a lot in terms of having better chances of employment. He added that the programme touches on developing business acumen, teamwork, leadership, critical-thinking skills, problem-solving skills, which are parts of the skills that the students will acquire during the two-year study programme at the college.

He said at Loyalist College, students are engaged in hands-on activities and practical application of the theoretical knowledge of what they are doing.
“It’s all part of working as a community, it is not just sitting in the classroom, taking lectures, notes and writing tests, but being involved in project, communities and working groups that are actually industry-involved.”

Whiteway added that it provides students all around the world the ability to come to Canada to experience a different culture, gain knowledge and receive a valid and internationally-recognised credential and to return to contribute to their country.

Corroborating Whiteway, the Executive Director, Grace School, Mrs. Olatokunbo Edun said as part of the Nigerian delegation of school-owners on tour of 10 universities in Ontario, Canada in 2017, she was impressed with what she saw at Loyalist College.

“I was moved by the passion to give students the best. So, I decided to bring him here to talk to them and I think that by going to Loyalist College, they are getting the best. September will be the first year, we really have to test-run.”

Speaking on the challenges Grace School faces in Lagos, Edun said private schools wriggle under the weight of multiple taxation, adding that in most advanced countries, governments give subventions to private schools, but in Nigeria, there is no subvention and private schools are over-taxed with so much harassment.

Edun stressed that the problem in Nigeria is not lack of jobs, but lack of competent people to do the jobs, adding, “we churn out a lot of unemployable graduates. Some of them go for these courses without seeing the equipment they will use and yet you expect them to go out and get jobs.”