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CELEBUTORS Spotlight: Education is Giving back as PTA of St Saviours School Ikoyi, Lagos 'adopts' the Canal Primary School, Orile Lagos

Who are CELEBUTORS™ on The Learning Craft? CELEBUTORS™ include persons, institutions, groups and individuals who promote, support and inspire educational development in and for Nigerian Schools. Here are some CELEBUTORS™ we definitely want to know about.

Nine months ago, an unsuspecting set of school pupils and teachers of the Canal Primary School, Orile Lagos had strange visitors walk into their school. They will soon learn that they were all members of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) of the St. Saviours School Ikoyi, Lagos; who upon being told about the degrading environment and near absence of teaching aids in their school had decided to pay them a visit. Kingsley Omose, a legal practitioner and philanthropist had taken the message of the unacceptable condition of the Canal School with pictures and persuaded his colleagues to come to their rescue. 

The core of Education has never been one of profit making. From Informal to Non formal and Formal education, the desire to transfer knowledge has always stemmed from the dreams of selfless persons or groups who appreciate the power of education as a wheel for human improvement.

Since that decision early this year, change has come gradually for good with donations of teaching and learning aids to the children and their teachers. Just last week, with the support of MTN, items worth thousands were given to the Canal School. Items such as 10 white boards,  generating set, 8 tables and chairs for teachers who had none, 2 laptops, DVDs, printers and several educational materials and cash donations were given to the school to get fuel and keep the generator running anytime the lights go out for the comfort of the students.

The Chair person of the PTA, Bolanle Gobir said "we are doing this for the love of children which is our theme in  St. Saviours School PTA this year. We believe that these are the future of Nigeria and we must support them". He added "we have adopted Canal School Orile as our 'baby' and we will do everything to watch it grow"....

....and tears of joy filled the space.

Talking about the future of Nigeria, the PTA of St. Saviours School Ikoyi are the future that is today's Nigeria...... CELEBUTORS™ of our time!

I am so proud of them.


Corona Schools - Competing to make a difference

Encouraging the spirit of inquiry and a healthy competition is one of the objectives of Nigeria's Pre-Primary education. Competitions build teamwork, communication and socialization skills and brilliant discoveries. It creates success and makes people become better at what they can do. Corona Schools' Trust Council is leading by example by organizing the 2012 Inter School Quiz.

The annual competition is part of the efforts of the council to ensure that they develop students that can compete both locally and internationally. The 2012 competition was recently held at Corona School, Victoria Island, Lagos and it featured Debates and Quizzes in English Language and Mathematics, General Studies and the Sciences. These were actively contested by students from all Corona Schools.

The Chairman of Corona Schools' Trust Council, Dotun Sulaiman said while speaking about the significance of the competition, that the whole idea of the competition was to instill in the children a spirit of competition. He said they are hoping to breed winners who can compete anywhere in the world.

  • Corona School Victoria Island - Overall Winners
  • Corona School Ikoyi - 2nd Place
  • Corona School Gbagada - 3rd Place
  • Corona School Apapa - 4th Place

Ifueko Omowunmi-Thomas, Head Teacher of Corona School, Victoria Island said on her schools's win that, the secret behind their success is a very strong team that worked together. She added that collaboration, team work and the teachable hearts of the children brought them to this success. In her words, "it is a very tough competition, to maintain the record; we have to work a little harder next year. We are going to ensure that we work as best as we can. We have a good system that has a very good progression plan. For instance, when the children come into Corona at Nursery level, we are thinking of Primary Six while we are working with them.

Amazing stuff!

It displayed a show of excellence, intelligence, composure and great skill acquisition - all of these qualities I love to celebrate. 

What can I say? My budding CELEBRIKIDS™!


Wa-Zo-Bia! Schools, how about a "Mother Tongue Celebration Day"?

Since the last time I wrote about saving our indigenous languages on GOING, GOING, GOING....GONE? - Vernacular and our native tongue, I have had to research on practical ways schools could participate in safeguarding our indigenous languages and identity. This is one of those projects that is dear to my heart hence my excitement to share a few suggestions that schools could practice in promoting our mother tongue with The Learning Craft readers.

Before that, studies are increasingly showing that we learn easier and better in our mother tongue. However, it has to be taught in school, which is not what we see for many of Nigeria's minority languages. It may seem difficult to achieve but schools can play a major role in promoting multilingual education in small but strong measures. All languages have a system of sounds, words and sentences that can adequately communicate the content of education and culture.

The International Mother Tongue Day has been celebrated every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism by UNESCO. Speaking our mother tongue is a right to education that we must not let slip out of our hands as many of our local languages are being threatened by the more dominant foreign languages.

Why is it so important?

How many of you think aloud in your mother tongue? If you were taught in your language, you might have not had to struggle through those difficult topics. I am not suggesting that our official language be thrown out; but that a multilingual education could have changed many stories. People simply learn better in a language that is familiar - their mother tongue!

Nigeria is a country with loads of cultural and language diversity. Many of our languages are endangered. Getting educated in our local languages however diverse they are; will strengthen the cohesion of our societies and build a better educated populace. The task is not an easy one - but schools can play a huge part in promoting and celebrating our mother tongues to protect our identity.


By setting a day aside to educate students through a themed 'Mother Tongue Day Celebration' monthly. The objective is to promote linguistic diversity,  preserve our cultural identity, ensure 'education for all' and protect our languages from extinction.  

I suggest that prelude to the day of celebration, students are tasked by teachers to research (in conjunction with their parents) on various aspects of a local language on a monthly basis. Using a thematic approach, this may include cultural aspects of dance, marriage, festivals OR food and fashion. Their work will be presented on the 'Mother Tongue Day'. It will be a day to gain knowledge and exposure to the use of other indigenous languages in the most simple form of communication.

Schools could also adopt the use of randomly selected language for greetings. Every month, a language is chosen as the 'language of the month'. It would be used as mode of greeting and salutation among teachers and students in and out of the classroom.

There is a lot more I have planned out as this is a sneak peek of what can be done.

Here are some more suggestions from UNESCO.


  • Do pupils know that many children in their schools may have mother language(s) that are different from the languages used in their schools?
  • Teachers can get these children to introduce themselves and talk about their families and their cultures, and teach a little of their mother language to other children.
  • They can read poetry, tell a story or sing a song in their mother language. Paintings and drawings with captions in mother languages can be displayed inside and outside schools.

Language is a symbol of continuity; and identity (in the mother tongue) is one of the greatest binding forces of unity and integration.

If we can deliver early childhood education and primary education all across Nigeria in our various mother tongues, we will also achieve equity in education, better opportunities and education for all.


Is it too early for children in primary school to learn about sex education?

It is a timely discussion. In some time past, a 'gory' picture went viral on social media about a female toddler being coerced to perform an unthinkable sexual act with an adult male? I was and still is so bitter about it!

Children are learning about their sexuality all the time, whether or not this is done formally by parents/caregivers or teachers. This learning takes place every day through observing adult relationships around them, and the images they see portrayed in the media about gender, body image and relationships ( Milton, 2000).

For most boys and girls, puberty changes are experienced in primary school. Signs of puberty can commence at 9 years of age and so receiving sexuality and relationships education prior to the onset of puberty ensures boys and girls are prepared for puberty changes and are not embarrassed or frightened by them. (Blake, 2002; Ray & Jolly, 2002). 

You see, the truth is that if you don't teach them about it, someone else will. You just may not appreciate the outcome, especially in the current media boom! If children and young people are not provided with factual information from trusted sources like parents/caregivers and teachers, they are usually vulnerable to receive an often inaccurate and misleading information about sexuality from sources as home helps, peers and the media.

Nigeria's family structure is being tested here. The reliance on other family/societal/cultural support system is increasingly ineffective. Were they ever really effective in the past? I can't emphatically say that things are necessarily different today. Certainly, the media revolution is playing a massive role in disseminating news on sexual abuse because we get to hear the news in 'real' time!

For those who feel uncomfortable about the topic, be sure you are not alone. It is quite common to feel uncomfortable talking about such abuse; but do not let it deter you from being explicit with those in your care. The acknowledgement of personal discomfort on discussing this is a useful place to begin. You could start by explaining how uncomfortable the topic makes you feel even though it is vital information for their protection. Educators across the country have an important role to play here. We should begin to discuss, plan and implement programs, projects and trainings in sex education for children. Talking and teaching about it often becomes much easier with practice.


If we take a statistics here, we would discover that a good number of people around us were deprived of a blissful childhood by 'so called' close relatives, neighbours and home helps. Educate your child and do all to ensure they are safe from lurking sexual predators. Mostly, protect the girl child.


Hugging and the "difficult child"

A lot more parents are complaining that their children are being difficult. The 'difficult' bug seems to have hit most children and parents are no longer knowing how to handle this situation.

The 'difficult' child referred to here is sometimes only difficult at home. In these cases, he/she manages to pull themselves together at school but then disintegrates upon entering their house. This is some comfort for the parents who are at least spared the agony of public shame, but they still feel helpless, overwhelmed and miserable at home in having to deal with disobedience, tantrums, endless demands or other unpleasant behaviors.

Some complaints include challenging behaviors such as physical aggression and rage, sluggish job at chores, disobedience, lying, stealing, rudeness and frequent interruptions, homework resistance, destruction of property, inappropriate behavior in public, sexual acting out, swearing and cursing,  refusal to eat, sarcasm and lack of boundaries.

Parents want to hear from teachers about how clever or well behaved their child is but when they hear words like "he/she has trouble settling down" or "he upsets other children and finds it hard to be organized for class work", their heart literally sinks.

That you may have raised a "good" kid will not guarantee that the next child  will be "good" and vice versa. Usually, you may find that it has more to do with your own temperament in dealing with the particular child that has aroused the difficulty in that child. Acknowledging that some children are harder to parent is often helpful. To label a child 'difficult' has the danger of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The secret of parenting a difficult child is to give loads of hugs and stop being angry so you can go past the hurts into healing.

According to Nancy Thomas, an attachment parenting expert "human beings need eight hugs a day to maintain emotional stability; wounded children need twelve hugs a day for emotional healing."

Here are some more suggestions:
  • find a therapist or counselor who understands the dynamics of difficult children and follow instructions.
  • require your child to be respectful and polite in his words and manners. Hold no discussion until the difficult child learns to defer to authority.
  • when a child is highly charged, the parent must step back and learn to be calm in the chaos. The child needs to understand that you know how to remain calm in an upsetting situation.
  • Allow the difficult child to experience natural consequences of his bad decisions. However, natural consequences have some limits. The safety of the child is more important. Thus, logical consequences are the next strategies for effective parenting. For every damage inflicted on property, the difficult child must be prepared to repay it back. It can be in monetary form or in extra chores. 
  • use positive words and thoughts always as you do away with all negative thoughts and words. Thoughts become things.
HUG THEM AT LEAST 12 TIMES A DAY! You will be pleasantly shocked. If they refuse, be certain you have scored points in their hearts that you truly care for them as the process of healing is taking place.


Weekend Thrill: Support UNICEF - Wash your car at Sheraton Lagos to promote education for every child

Education is the right of every child. I would like Lagosians to visit Sheraton Hotel Lagos to wash their car for a token in support of the UNICEF 2012 Road to Awareness campaign which aims to raise at least $300,000 to help educate a child.

Sheraton Lagos Hotel associates are organising an auto wash program to help raise funds for the education of Children in Africa. Please support this cause by taking your cars for washing. The initiative began on the 29th of October to end on this Sunday, 11th of November 2012.

All funds collected will be sent to UNICEF for this noble cause. An educated mass leads to a less ignorant populace - a people that will promote better decision taking. In this, I am optimistic for a brighter country. 

Dear Learning Craft readers, do find it in your stride to support this cause.


Video: Venus and Serena Williams Dancing Live in Lagos - Empowering and Moulding the 'girl child' through education

The Williams sisters, Venus and Serena were mentoring female students at Government Secondary School, Osbourne Ikoyi Lagos, Nigeria. It was all about educating the 'girl child' - a movement so close to my heart.

Don't you just love the way they are dancing and having fun with the students! Yes, it is all about courage and determination! I love to see students having fun! Education is fun and should remain so. Here are some of the reasons why they came.

The international tennis stars, who arrived in Lagos on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 as part of the African 'Breaking the Mould' tour partnered with 'Always', a feminine hygiene brand of Procter & Gamble Nigeria for a joint girls empowerment event at the secondary school.
During the visit, the Williams sisters provided the school girls with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not only meet their idols but also be inspired and empowered by them.
They were also part of the 'Always puberty education' class and spoke with the girls before performing with the students the 'Always' song, "Little Big Steps", to empower them through a shared singing and dancing experience.
As role 'Mould Breakers' and 'Champions of change' themselves, having weathered the unfavourable side of life to become global stars, this visit by Serena and Venus represents a significant effort that could help break the mould, misconceptions and stereotypes that have dogged women and girls in Nigeria.



Teacher flogs student to death: I SAY "BAN FLOGGING IN SCHOOLS"

By now, you may have heard about a 12 year old pupil of a secondary school in Awka, Anambra State, Miss Chidimma Ukachukwu, who died after she was allegedly flogged by her teacher for failing to do her homework. The girl fainted after being flogged severally by a female teacher and was subsequently rushed to a hospital where she died.

We have long passed the stone age. Teachers should have no right to flogging students! There are many ways to making students do their homework in a school system and if they don't, there are equally many other ways of ensuring they do. If we delve into the reasons why Chidimma did not do her homework, it may include that;
- she forgot
- she wouldn't attempt it because she didn't understand what to do
- she had chores and was too tired to do it
- she dislikes the teacher and/or the subject
- she was just being silly (which is normal in children) or somewhat lazy.

There may be more but all of the above reasons cannot be verified as Chidimma lies dead. Even though the reason or reasons are six feet under the ground, no teacher should be allowed to flog a child! Is there any study that has linked reduction of exam failures, student pregnancy and crime to the use of 'flogging'? Or an increase in knowledge emanating from 'flogging'?

A culture of 'strict' upbringing and family values have little to do with flogging but with consistency of 'home rules' and from being good examples to children. Children are more vulnerable and will always act like children. I have consistently maintained that it doesn't fall within the purview of a teacher primarily to 'discipline' a child. Our job is to teach. Disciplinary measures are and will forever remain the responsibility of parents. A student will pass through the school for a while, but will remain with their parent's for life.

There are people who get easily overwhelmed with anger. Addictions happen easily if people are not checked by the law hence a law should be passed to prohibit flogging in all schools across Nigeria. A recent legislation has been passed in Lagos State by the administration of Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola that flogging, beating or physical torture of school students, and of workplace apprentices, has been outlawed and declared both illegal and criminally culpable throughout the state

I read that the father of the child said it was an act of God....(shocking). I can understand that he is probably trying to find solace but why do we always have to blame God for everything in Nigeria? Although it has been said that the teacher didn't flog her rigorously but how do you know that the child did not come to school sick? That teacher must be made to go through the justice system to set an example.

I do not know where she got trained (if she was trained), but effective learning does not spring from the use of corporal punishments and floggings. We await all stakeholders in the Ministry of Education in Anambra state where this incident took place to declare the state's law on this issue. I have many personal acquaintances who have horrific stories to tell about the effect of flogging on them. Our children can't keep learning under such barbaric tutelage.