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LONDON MET UNI - A convenient store of knowledge or not?

Have you read in amazement about the impending deportation of about 400 Nigerian students studying in the United Kingdom? Pretty sure you have! Am I surprised? I'll say....yes, a little bit. My opinion aside; the reason for this deportation is that the London Metropolitan University has administrative challenges.
The UK Border Agency (UKBA) announced on Wednesday that the University lost its Highly Trusted Status for sponsoring international students. More than a quarter of the University’s foreign students did not have permission to be in the UK, the Immigration Minister said. Foreign students sponsored by the school to the UK now face eviction if they fail to secure an alternative sponsor within two months, starting from Thursday(yesterday).
It is partly for issues such as these that I was inspired to begin writing a blog! Our future depends on EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION!

Did you read that? The University had lost its 'highly trusted' status for sponsoring' international students??? Surely a large portion of the London Met Uni foreign students will be Nigerians as we are now prone to seeking foriegn degrees.
What does this tell us? If not handled properly, a lot of dreams and hopes may be shattered. I can't seem to stop thinking that this didn't have to happen if we had a lot more quality universities. Our higher education is largely unsought for by a good number of Nigerians in recent years. When Nigerians school  abroad, they come back home and command higher-paying jobs, so why not!. 
Today, dear Learning Craft readers, let me not begin another eulogy of the obvious solutions that WE ALL know isn't rocket science. Please read some comments from affected students culled from 'punchng.com'.
'Some people come from poorer backgrounds… parents have sold their homes or land and made huge sacrifices to get them here,’ says London Met student facing deportation.
Lilian Owhor, 20, from Nigeria, is about to start her second year reading forensic science.
She said, “I’m really worried because this is my future. 
“I have come in today to get my transcripts, as I will have to see if I can transfer to another university.
“I haven’t been very happy since yesterday. My friends have told me to have hope. 
“The university have said they would help us. I contacted them yesterday before the final decision was announced but I haven’t spoken to anyone yet today. 
“I haven’t told my parents. I am just hoping I don’t have to go back to Nigeria. My fees are around £11,000 per year. I have already spent a lot of money on my education here.”

You be the judge.


Groomology 101 (School Success)

Don't get it twisted (in my D'Banj voice), school success begins at home. This goes to all - uncles, aunts, intending moms and dads, moms, dads and grannies.

Interests are important. Interests well groomed translate to skills. Skills become passion. Passion drives perfection. The Chimamanda Adichie's, Asa's, Mikel Obi's, Bez's, Mary Onyali's etc...imagine Nigeria full of skilled and passionate citizens.  
Let the child find books that interest them. Don't overlook graphic novels, magazines, recipe, cook and comic books or even books that will not interest you BUT interest them (books that are informative). The idea is for them to keep reading. You should chat about what they are reading in /out of school topics and get more books to support. The best gifts for children/teenagers are the gifts of books, you should try it.

Encourage critical thinking. Help them succeed by asking questions, make them give examples and assist in understanding concepts taught but please DO NOT force answers. We (the teachers) can tell at the 'bat of an eyelid' who supplied those answers.......yes, we  can! Watch out for those 'elusive' lesson teachers too! Some just want to get gone, so always find out yourself what the kid knows. Critical thinking helps children perform well in school at EVERY age.

Have routine talks with the school counselor and teachers. Ask a lot of questions that will throw more light to the child's personality. Create a challenging academic schedule that would deepen success skills but make sure to strike a balance. Do not put too much pressure but encourage them such that they gradually master skills that will help further studies. In summary:

  • be involved
  • reinforce at home - 20 minutes a day will make a huge difference
  • communicate concerns and questions
  • lead by example


'I represent Naija'....I will go for gold!

Olympic medalist Falilat Ogunkoya, who is an ambassador for the West African School Sport Union(WASSU) was quoted as saying that “the only way we will stop recycling athletes is to build from the grassroots. I was discovered in primary school and went on to represent Nigeria for close to 20 years........WASSU's plan is to generate more talents from the primary to the secondary, so that Nigeria and West Africa will once again become a powerhouse in sports.” She said this last year when WASSU's games were about to be hosted in Lagos.

 'She was discovered in primary school'. It's a no-brainer! This is the kind of precedence that shouldn't slip completely out of the structure of our school systems. In my secondary school (a federal government school), there were star students in all games, I mean ALL. I see talents everyday that I'm not skilled to train-and that hurts. I can barely run to save my life! So, how can the many P.E teachers around the country be aided to build these talents? Consider this. 

The shift in paradigm from hard-work to 'I can get rich quick' or/and the short cut syndrome is a stain we can erase. We start by talent hunting from the early years of these young stars. Build a structure that will secure support for their education through scholarships up to university level. We can also encourage these talents in primary to secondary schools by developing a reward system for their hard work and dedication. This is done by organizing regular incentive based local school competitions- This will also help to promote the values of hard work. Enough with 'you really don't have to work hard'! Yes, it seems as though success is now equated to a government appointment gotten by hook or crook, (and even that wont go round). The reality is glaring: Countries that have invested in building 'institutions' for sports have a sound Sports Education curriculum and of course results to show for it.



'History' has been removed as a subject from our secondary education curriculum. It implies that our children will grow up without understanding the various makings of their country and how her constituents evolved. They will be unable to appreciate the various cultures in their country because they have been denied formal access to information about their past. 

History serves us the opportunity to have a sound understanding of our past, understand how our current challenges occurred and gives the framework to invent solutions.

Do you remember the stories of the Kanem Borno Empire, the Oyo Empire, Nupe Kingdom, Oba Ovonramwen, King Jaja of Opobo, Queen Amina of Zaria, the Aba Women's Riot or the Republican Igbo societies? I certainly do! 

Are our secondary school children appreciative of these past kingdoms and history? These are good stories to learn from. Don't you think that a people who do not 'know' their history are bound to repeat some of its mistakes?

How was it then possible for such an important subject to be removed in the secondary education curriculum? Did our society suddenly drop into Earth - no past?

Edu-Info: Re-validation of Private Primary Schools. Wow!

I read an information that gladdened my heart. It is a reformatory process that I have long wished to see begin in Education in Nigeria. Now, how well this will be carried through will leave much to be desired; however I am sure that the words/actions have set a precedence. It was a clear call to all private primary school proprietors in Ogun State Nigeria by the State government to enlist all approved primary schools in the state on a website.  The State intends to officially  lock up all unregistered private primary schools.  The title of the warning read: OGUN STATE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY:  REVALIDATION OF REGISTRATION OF PRIVATE PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN OGUN STATE. Have you been in any of what I'd term 'corner-shop schools' in many hidden parts of our States in the country? They exist because the public schools are currently in hibernation! There are standard requirements to setting up a school stipulated in our National Policy on Education. I am hoping that this is a work-in-progress. It is always rather worrisome even devastating to see 'short-cuts' allowed to thrive in our school system. 


"My child is hyperactive!" (Restlessness in Children)

Chinedu is a child who is always active, cannot pay attention to what is being said to him and does everything without thinking of the consequences of his actions. He is always on the move and exercises zero restrain, touching objects within his reach and exhausting all caregivers around him. He is easily distracted, does not finish tasks and often talks excessively. He has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD).

Research findings by Russell Barkley shows that on average, there are 1 to 3 children who have ADHD in every classroom of 30 students and 3 to 6 more boys are diagnosed than girls. This implies that there are more children with ADHD than we want to think...alarming! Many researchers agree that the problem of restlessness is in the growing brain of the child where the ability to withhold responses develop unusually later than normal but specific causes are not categorically known.
Parents are advised to;

  • notice the behavioral pattern of their child
  • get educated on the nature of special needs for the child
  • support the caregivers who are challenged by this experience by giving more useful information on managing the child
  • explain the importance of the teacher's behavioral responses around the child. This is absolutely important because the reaction of the teacher/caregiver is relevant to academic and social improvement.
Some ADHD get better with age especially in mild cases studies suggest. About half may manage their behavior, between 33% to 50% will continue till they are adults. The most persistent type of behaviors displayed are in learning challenges and disobedience.

I understand that many parents are unaware of this condition in our country. Those who know may not be totally accepting of it. If a parent finds that they have a special-needs child, it certainly isn't out of place to get the caregivers and the school fully involved. If parents provide complete information about their child, a lot more children will be successful at school. No one should be worried about them being treated with special attention, when that's exactly what they require. It is important to note that ADHD can be mostly outgrown, the essence of this piece is to improve the learning potential of our children.


September Jitters: Tips for parents of school-age children

Have you all fallen out of bedtime routine? Get back into your routine! A week before the first day of school is a good time to begin.
Shop for healthy breakfasts and lunches a week prior resumption, this will prevent the stress that comes with 'rush hour'. It isn't always fun to do that!
Some schools will give a list of school supplies, you could go do this shopping with your child ( but be firm to stay with the budget and NEEDS). Children must be taught the importance of shopping with a budget.
A week ahead, save time by stacking an arranged pile of uniforms needed so the children can easily grab it and go. Remember to match each uniform with a pair of socks and underwear.
Create a homework center where the child can study with easy access to materials needed.
Read as frequently as you can with your child and do oral comprehension skills. They don't have to be made to write ALL the time, it can be nerve racking! This encourages the child to want to read. Having mini-libraries can be useful.
Bus safety: If your kids are going to be using the School Bus, please, please do the right thing to speak about bus safety to the authorities and (in some cases) the driver. Use kind words whenever you get a chance to meet the driver and insist that he must adhere to bus safety rules.  Here in Lagos, I have seen far too many reckless school-bus drivers and I wonder how come they get away with it!
Parental involvement: This works magic - I can say this to you for FREE (as a teacher). Talk to your child's teacher REGULARLY about their educational and social development OR if you have some time, volunteer to be part of the PTA. A parent's involvement cannot be over emphasized, we all need to realize the heights to which it could jolt up our children's success.
          Hope you find this informative and useful.



I wrote about the six pillars of a good character and was asked if such a curriculum could be created. The ‘Character Counts’ educators have done an excellent job at developing them. There are sub-pillars (so to speak) under each pillar of the curriculum. Each behavior is thoroughly taught with likable aids and activities because learning through constructive play brings result. Let's see what it says.  

Be honest • Don’t deceive, cheat, or steal • Be reliable — do what you say you’ll do • Have the courage to do the right thing • Build a good reputation • Be loyal — stand by your family, friends, and country.

Treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule • Be tolerant and accepting of differences • Use good manners, not bad language • Be considerate of the feelings of others • Don’t threaten, hit or hurt anyone • Deal peacefully with anger, insults, and disagreements.

Do what you are supposed to do • Plan ahead • Persevere: keep on trying! • Always do your best • Use self-control • Be self-disciplined • Think before you act — consider the consequences • Be accountable for your words, actions, and attitudes • Set a good example for others

Play by the rules • Take turns and share • Be open-minded; listen to others • Don’t take advantage of others • Don’t blame others carelessly • Treat all people fairly

Be kind • Be compassionate and show you care • Express gratitude • Forgive others • Help people in need

Do your share to make your school and community better • Cooperate • Get involved in community affairs • Stay informed; vote • Be a good neighbour • Obey laws and rules • Respect authority • Protect the environment • Volunteer

If there is any doubt about the potential of this curriculum, there we have it - a simple platform to build upon.


Back to School (1)

Pictures and colors bring things alive to me. Imagine what it does for kids! I am passionate about learning, children, schooling and all the nice things you do with children. I am a mother who delights in seeing young children taking colourful strides to school. I understand that a lot of mothers are beginning to engage in back-to-school shopping, I'm doing same too. As I was searching for lunch bag ideas, I stumbled on a few I thought I could share with women....and men too. The truth is that some men are doing great at these things because I have witnessed a couple. So, have a look and maybe this could inspire you!
Busy bees
Makes me smile
For the love of Karate!
Isn't she lovely?
Hmmm.....a healthy yummy snack



One of our eminent ministers said a few months ago that Nigerian graduates are unemployable. The statement may seem presumptuous and even arrogant because it reeks of generalization. Was she taken out of context (even though she may be stating the obvious)? In my profession, I have come across a lot of what we like to term in common cliché ‘the half-baked graduates’. These people slap a blush into your face during simple conversations.

Hmmm....what happened during undergraduate days? How did they get to graduate (maybe even gain admission in the first place)? I hate to have to blame the system; but the system is to be dragged into this once again! The overall rot through early education to that stage is all a pointer to government's neglect. Students graduate from higher institutions without having ever used a computer. How can they fit into modern day working environment? You may fill in the blanks.

All this is clearly connected to our poor learning landscape. It is no surprise that more people squeeze their income to afford better education. Why? The difference is '7-up'(clear). Where are the English graduates who can write a proposal? Or Doctors who will administer a proper CPR? Have you seen Engineers who cannot perform simple algebra101? It beats me! We sure have our work cut out for us. I am trusting that we will get there!


Libraries and the Learning Child

I grew up at a time when the community played a significant role in the upbringing of a child. My first visit to a Library was with an uncle who was at the university; it was an unusual experience. It stimulated my interest in reading, something I have continued to do till this day. I was about 8 years old, but it was a world I enjoyed being a part of; serene and orderly.

Current research on early literacy and brain development indicates that it is never too early to prepare children for success as readers. Libraries play a key community role in the distribution of early literacy information.

Suffice to say that Children need the opportunity to develop their reading and writing skills. Libraries can play a key role as children continue the development of these skills. Library collections are of major importance to the child and they include a good selection of materials (hard or soft copies).

 Libraries do not have to be big places. They can be small and carry comfortable furnishing for adults and children with basic ambiance (akin to the corner of a big room). These can be donated to small communities. We do not need National or honorary Libraries that cost a fortune but add no real immediate or medium term value to the average Nigerian child. Our children can develop a reading culture enhanced by facilities close to home. Early literacy skills lead to later academic success and early gaps stay throughout a child’s education. Let us  build  libraries. Literacy is freedom!


Lights! Camera! CHARACTER EDUCATION! (1)

Character counts.........yes it does. What is character? It is the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. I attended a training at AISL some years ago and encountered the program called 'Character Education'. Character education includes a broad range of educational approaches such as service learning, social-emotional learning and civic education. These share a goal to helping young people become responsible, caring, and contributory citizens. We have a semblance of this with our Moral/Civic Education and Social Studies but Character Education is based on six ethical values that everyone can agree on - values that are not religious, political or culturally biased. It is taught with fun activities so that it's enjoyable. Take a look at this: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. These six pillars are a measure of the qualities children learn to lead and imbibe as they form their personalities. I recognize that the effort expended on this type of endeavor requires sustainability. It is my understanding that a character-based society could begin from establishing such curriculum in schools. Down the road we can confidently say good bye Oga Boko & Co. More to come...


School Games on the spotlight - Physical Education

The Olympics was a refreshing period for me. I could not miss these rare live moments happening every four years. Wasn't Usain Bolt such a delight to watch? I watched and quietly rooted for our Nigerian athletes but was subdued by our apparent poor performance. I saw an interview of a female British gold medalist who was asked whom she would credit her success to. She mentioned a few names but picked the ONE person she would pin it to.......her P.E teacher. She said she was below average at core subject areas but excelled at Physical Education (P.E) and her P.E teacher believed and told her she would be successful. It got me thinking about these three things: dedicated teachers, a healthy P.E department and hard work.
Is it possible we prepare for about three to six months and expect to beat athletes who have exercised a lot of hard work and preparation for 4-8 years? I believe that not all children will be great at Math, Languages, Fine Art or core Sciences because success is diverse. Nigeria may have been able to churn out young successful athletes if the P.E departments in Primary and Post-primary schools were solid. What about a system that could groom children to be successful athletes from early years? There can be continuity in the school system to nurture them into maturity. I enjoyed watching 'prepared' athletes do their best during the games. Great job USA, China and my adopted team....Team GB!


WAEC Exam Palaver: the second-guessing game

The  May/June 2012 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) results in Nigeria kept me wondering whether or not the results should be a source of celebration.In the last four years, WASSCE results have been depressing. In the May/June 2009 WASSCE, the West African Examination Council (WAEC) said that about 26% obtained credits in English Language, Mathematics and at least three other subjects. In 2010, about 23% of the candidates obtained 5 credits including English and Mathematics. In 2011, about 30% had 5 credits and above in five subjects including English and Mathematics. The 2012 WASSCE saw an increase of about 8% from last year’s performance.
The increase still falls far short of standard expectation. What could be the cause? I am inclined to think that the problem with the results can be traced to the residual systematic failure in education reforms over decades. The time has come for a choice to be made by the government to begin serious systemic reforms in teacher training, proper curriculum implementation and structural development. A few states have begun the long stride towards these reforms by providing teaching aids/equipment and facilitation of training for their staff. It is my impression that therein lies the future of the health of our pre-university education. In this, I am confident.



A three-year old being compelled to write 1-100? I'm sure at some point we can count to infinity, but that's not the point! Number work grows overtime, it is the application of the sequence of these numbers that matters. They could literarily recite the same numbers like a magician. What would a three-year old need such skill for?  Through early years of life, children notice and explore mathematical dimensions of their world. They compare quantities, find patterns, navigate in space, and grapple with real problems such as balancing a tall  Lego block or sharing a bowl of biscuits fairly with a playmate. Shouldn't math at this very young age be concerned about building creative minds? It is bad enough that Math is considered one of the least favorite subjects. It is not even taught in our mother tongue to allow pupils appreciate it's sequences better. Pupils are taught by rote learning to recite and write 1-100 but if asked where 76 belongs on the line, they are confused. Let them use number and spatial  sense, establish real-life relationships of smaller numbers and perform simple problem solving tasks. Throw away the huge tasking numbers and create a mind that could re-invent Nigeria.

GOING, GOING, GOING........GONE? - Vernacular and our native tongue

The Association of the Teachers of Yoruba Language and Culture in Nigeria has condemned the alleged reduction of Nigerian languages such as Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba, from core to elective subjects in WAEC and the National Examination Council. The development had led to the reduction of candidates seeking admission to study these national languages in higher institutions. The recent retrenchment of Yoruba teachers in some state secondary schools has not been helpful. According to UNESCO, 'approximately 600 languages have disappeared in the last century and they continue to disappear at a rate of one language every two weeks. Up to 90% of the world's languages are likely to disappear before the end of this century if current trends are allowed to continue'. Saving our indigenous languages is a matter of urgency and is crucial to ensuring the protection of our cultural identity as well as safeguarding our linguistic heritage. Who is to blame? Government, traditional custodians or all of us? Looks like everyone who can speak an indigenous language has a part to play in this quagmire. Phew!


Genius or not?........Age appropriate learning

Our National Policy on Education refers to primary education as the education given in institutes for children aged 6 to 11 plus. There are lots of 4year olds beginning formal school (primary 1) . Have you noticed this trend? Age appropriate learning takes into consideration the natural developmental stages of childhood. Students learn faster and develop a life-long love for learning. It makes learning less of a chore.When teaching students the correct skill that matches his/her developmental level, they learn very quickly. If you teach something before the student is ready and able to process the learning, they will get frustrated, develop low self-esteem and come to hate not only that subject but also the whole process of learning. They will take that throughout the rest of their schooling. You may find that the 'rush-starters' (beginners at 4) fare far less due to the pressures of an early start in the long run. About 2.2% of the world's population are geniuses......let's leave the obvious statistics. About 98% of us are regular people. Geniuses learn far more effortlessly OR is Nigeria now full of geniuses?


When 'homework' takes center stage!

Excessive homework can create family stress, cut into family time and generate tension and tears among Nigerian children. Homework has become a tough issue for parents to deal with. 

Parents and tutors silently grumble at the thought of dealing with homework. The idea behind homework is to give the child an assignment that they could go home and try (without) having to receive active adult supervision. On the contrary, homework has become a 'google tour'. It even cuts into very late hours for some kids as parents struggle to get results. Children spend an average of 7-9hours in school on weekdays. I would expect that those hours were thoroughly used in imbibing the concept and skill that a homework checks; so why all the exhausting homework? Shouldn't homework be similar to  a pattern of checklists? By checklists, I mean a process where parents identify the progress of their child's work in the task given effortlessly. 

Parents should be allowed to spend more quality time doing other things with their children as against having to meet with the demands of a tedious homework. Who benefits from these homework? Teachers.......come on!

Excellence in education

Is the teacher a babysitter and a depository of knowledge filling children with all kinds of information? Or is the teacher a guide, facilitator and co-learner in a learning environment? Isn't teaching meant to be complemented with engaging parenting? Excellence in education will occur through modifications to the teaching and learning processes. Structural changes by education institutes go a long way too, but parental involvement is considered unrivaled. I have seen a good number of parents have huge expectations from teachers. Can there be real excellence without a close parent and teacher connection?


Education in Nigeria

I am a mother, child educator and curriculum researcher. I love to teach. My yearning for 'real' conversation on Education has led to the birth of this blog. Education is a life tool needed to survive in an evolving world. I have had the privilege of experiencing what Education should represent and how it could be applied. I welcome you to my world: passionate about contemporary concerns in Nigerian Education. It's a place I'd like to share my thoughts. I invite you to share your thoughts and take on issues pertaining our Education.