Fadayomi: ICT Education is Key to Education’s Future

The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Atlantic Hall Secondary School, Chief Eniola Fadayomi, speaks on the education sector’s challenges and what the school offers to make a difference in this interview with Dike Onwuamameze. Excerpt:

How do you view the state of education in Nigeria?

We have been scrambling for a new educational system, but I think that we have gone further than we are giving credit to ourselves. It is unfortunate that we are still at a stage where we are having ASUU’s strike in the university. I believe that there will be better and greater communication between our universities and government to prevent this kind of thing. I also believe that teaching is a very important profession. For us at the Atlantic Hall, we place a very high premium on the quality of our manpower. We know that the person has to be well satisfied in two ways- in terms of remuneration and also in terms of job satisfaction.

There is this general opinion that the intakes into the university are not adequately prepared for university education? ​

That is where the quality of the secondary school a child attends becomes very important. Honestly, I cannot speak for other schools. But I know from our own point of view at Atlantic Hall that the quality of our own students is well above average in terms of academics, in terms of behaviour, standards, and culture. But I will suggest that schools should look at the quality of their teachers and their job satisfaction because they will affect their output. ​

What is your opinion about the declining reading culture in the education system?
That reading culture is very important, and we need to nurture it. Reading is something students should get used to for their exams and mental nourishment. It should be encouraged as a culture. Schools have to train children to enjoy the concept of learning.

What is your view about parents that want students in the university in their early teen years? ​

Education is not just passing exams. In Atlantic Hall, we do not allow entrance into our school below the age of 11 because we believe that they must have a certain level of maturity before they can enter the school. Maturity, before a child enters secondary school, is important. Some schools abroad even insist on 12 years. And I believe the same for the universities because maturity is needed to take advantage of all the learning offered at the university level.

What difference is the Atlantic Hall making to improve educational standards in Nigeria? ​

We create a conducive learning environment for our students. We remove all those pressure points for our students and teachers as they live within the school premises. We also make sure that we conduct continuous training for our teachers and even take them abroad, sometimes to just get exposed to other kinds of climes. All of these improve the quality of what is being offered to the students. ​

What areas is the school focusing on?

We are putting more emphasis on ICT without compromising on where we are coming from. For students, the first foundation and platform have to be your English Language and Mathematics. English is the communication language that you need to articulate and express yourself. It is very important to give students a good base and groundwork in English and Mathematics. We also ensure that students who have special skills and talents in certain areas are encouraged to pursue them. ​

How do you apply ICT facilities in your educational system?

We have put in a lot of resources to ensure that we have improved our internet reception, and our teachers and students are provided with laptops to ensure that they are abreast with the technologies that are evolving.

What is your view about the claim that ICT holds the key to education’s future?

We cannot avoid ICT because it holds the key. So, we must be well plugged into it. One must have all the devices and be conversant with them. We do not have much choice about it, and that is the point I am making. So, we must be prepared.

Is Nigeria ready to provide the necessary infrastructure to support online learning? ​

We cannot be ready enough. That is why I am appealing to our government and private sector to really gear up because of the onslaught that is coming. We have to expose ourselves to what is going on around us in a controlled manner because the world is now a global village. We want to make it clear that children must be given this opportunity.

How is the Atlantic Hall encouraging girl-child education?

When you talk about a girl child, you are talking about giving her opportunities for education because a girl child’s development is anchored on the kind of education and exposure that are given to her. It is very important to support a girl child, and my emphasis is on education so that they can make an impact wherever they go.

Bullying, cultism, and rape are now commonplace in secondary schools? ​

Bringing up children is a 24-hour job that requires total dedication, and even after we have done everything, we must also not relent in prayers. We must keep them occupied because the devil makes work for idle hands and also let them understand their boundaries.

How do we make quality education affordable and accessible? ​

This is very important. We do scholarships even though our fees are high. And I want to use this opportunity to appeal to corporate bodies that also have a role to play in sponsoring the educational system as part of their CSR. ​

How do you define the concept of total education? ​

Total education allows students to discover areas they have talents for and are interested in pursuing. We are collaborating with the County University in Canada. They are coming to teach what is called experiential education, which enables students to learn how to find resources to educate themselves. The brain is very broad. So, students should understand what they want to know and how to zero in on them. It may be entrepreneurial studies, which we are involved in at the Atlantic Hall.

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