Ladi-Lak @90: Stakeholders Highlight Benefits of Primary Education

Uchechukwu Nnaike

Author David Olusoga Fayemi recently brought together old pupils, teachers, current students of Ladi-Lak Institute, and other stakeholders for the launch of a book, ‘The Eastern Side of Town: A Ladi-Lak Institute and Lagos Elementary Education Story’, to mark the school’s 90th anniversary.

The event also featured a 90th anniversary commemorative lecture, ‘Elementary Education: An Untapped Panacea for National Rebirth’, delivered by Prof. Nwudego Chinwuba of the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos.

The author said Ladi-Lak was the first exclusive English speaking school in colonial Nigeria and was a model of what Nigeria was meant to be, because children from all divides attended the school.

He said the book was written to honour the memory of the founder, Rita Dove Hamilton, who died childless in 1962.

According to him, in 1999, when he visited the school with his set’s members, the deterioration level made them swing into action to fix the gate and renovate the toilets.

Subsequently, he said other sets joined, and the general old students’ association was formed. They embarked on a massive renovation of some structures. He added that some older members approached the state government, which has commenced renovation work at the school.
He appealed to the state government and other stakeholders to help keep the legacy and memory alive by transforming the school.

In her lecture, Chinwuba stated that education harnesses the faculties of the mind, brain, and body to reduce poverty, increase individual earnings, reduce economic inequalities, promote economic growth, advance efforts at maintaining the planet, awaken the human mind to a positive interaction with the brain, and separate the human from savage man.

She said it also plays a significant role in people’s culture because it is the qualitative training of the mind that drives existing culture to fit into the aspirations of the current generation while providing room for future generations to engage as well.

The book reviewer, Prof. Tundonu Amosun, a former deputy vice-chancellor of Lagos State University, said the book is essentially the history of Ladi-Lak Institute, but the author chose to embellish it with several other details that dwell on the spread of Western education in Nigeria from its origins to its general outlook and philosophy today.

He added that the accounts reflect the author’s commitment to the restoration of the historical facts of the peculiar primary institution in Nigeria.

One of the old pupils, Mr. Sheks Ladipo, said he was fortunate to be admitted into the school in 1960 when the proprietor was still alive and the standard was high.

He expressed delight that the old students and the state government are working to transform the school and restore its high standard.

Apart from facilities, he said there is need to tackle the rot in the sector, in terms of returning the lost values in the society.

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