Thursday, January 17, 2013

Photos: Classroom size + Class conditions at Ogudu Senior Grammar School

I am a big believer in the social responsibility of Christianity... Daystar Christian Center fitted ALL the classrooms in this school with Whiteboard markers... Big ups to Daystar!

Yaaaaay!!! My super-fine and super-legible 'teacher handwriting' :D

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Thoughts on my first class as a (NYSC) Teacher

Today, I taught my first class as a Corps member.

I wish I could tell you of a priceless moment where my students responded “go down low” when I happened to say “first of all”, but I would like to explore a different line of thought linked to Corps Members, Teachers, and Nigerian Education.

My friends posted to villages in the far ends of Nigeria tell of schools that experience a dearth of qualified teachers. Many of these schools are permanently staffed by Corps members – batch on batch, year on year. In most cases, with little training and in the face of strenuous conditions, Corps members rise to the challenge and leave their mark on the sand of times; in other – fewer – cases, they leave their seed in the wombs of students.

Throwing Batch after Batch of Corps members at the underlying problem is a quick fix, but Band-Aid does not heal wounds. We need more and more Nigerian students going into University to study Education. We need a Joint Admission and Matriculation Board that sets high standards (i.e. cut-off marks) for students applying to study Education. These two are in direct contrast to the present system that feeds students with the lowest UTME scores into the Faculty of Education.

NO ONE deserves the obscene salaries that our top politicians and lawmakers earn, but if anyone deserves a fraction of it – it would be teachers! We need to reward teachers proportionately to the immense job that they do every day in classrooms across Nigeria. Teaching is a noble profession – yes, but nobility does not pay the bills! The younger generation needs to see that they can enjoy a great quality of life if they choose to pursue a career as teachers.


To my friend, Iyabosile Anthonia – who courageously chose to study Education in Ife and hopes to be Minister of Education someday; to all the Corps Members standing in the gap in classrooms across Nigeria – every batch keeping our schools running for one more year; to all the Teachers working in the many Public Schools in Nigeria – doing a great job in the face of all the odds… YOU ROCK! God will keep you.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Part Two: Thoughts on the Singing of Christian songs at assemblies of Public Schools

Sequel to my post this morning on the singing of Christian songs at the assemblies of Public Schools, a number of friends have asked what I suggest be done in place of the current arrangement. A few more have also argued in favor of the current arrangement...

My responses below:

To my largely Christian friends who argue that there is nothing wrong with forcing Muslim students to partake in Christian worship at Assemblies, I pose the following scenario: your kid, at a Public Secondary School (yes, Nigerian Education shall rise again :d) - forced to partake in Muslim worship because the Principal is a Muslim. How is that for a reciprocal?

As to what can be done, I suggest that all schools simply adapt the second stanza of the national anthem (which has already been declared the national prayer), and meditation sessions (where student representatives talk about themes such as faith, integrity, truth, etc) be deployed.

I am not an Education professional, but those are my two cents...


Thoughts on the singing of Christian songs at Assemblies of Public Schools

This morning, I resumed at the secondary school where I'll be spending some quality time every week teaching Mathematics and Further Mathematics, two important subjects by any standard... More on that in another post.

Standing at the assembly, I am struck by something odd: the teachers leading the assembly are singing Christian songs - but some of the students appear to be Muslim.

For a public Secondary school, I think this is wrong. Surely, in a school funded by taxpayer money - and not run by a Mission or a Church, it must be wrong to 'force' Muslim students to partake in Christian worship.

And before the naysayers start - yes, maybe I am too liberal in my opinions. *picks race*


Friday, January 11, 2013

Thoughts on the burgeoning Nigerian population

This morning, in a bus on my way to Surulere for NYSC Community Development Service, my thoughts again turned to the question of the burgeoning Nigerian population. I explored this line of thought in a series of posts on this blog last year.

A large population is a good thing in a country where there is a focused leadership and proper planning. The demographics of our population make the Nigerian case quite attractive at face value. A young population (like ours) ordinarily implies the supply of (cheap) labor and a ready market for goods and services.

Sadly however, a lack of proper planning seems to permeate the Nigerian polity. It hardly appears as though the government understands the opportunities for leverage presented by our rapidly growing population. The largely inconsistent policies (think Education, Agriculture, Infrastructure etc) are indicative of a country that does not care much for the future, and hardly any steps are being taken to leverage our growing numbers for economic and technological growth.

There is also a second problem. Reinforced by the 'easy riches' that accrue to politicians and their lackeys on their ascension to public office, Nigeria has been bitten by the "easy money" bug. Even the government prefers to make the bulk of its income from crude oil - which requires concentrated investment in very few areas - versus Agriculture and other Trade - which requires substantial investment in infrastructure (think good roads, steady power supply, and ports that actually work).

On average, a young Nigerian's idea of a successful life is one that involves the path of least resistance. Why spend years building a successful business, career, or learning a trade when you can join the ruling party and wait for contracts; start a wonder bank; or scam a foreigner out of his hard-earned money?

There are fewer mechanics, masons, and welders than before... They all ride okada now. After all, why spend eight years learning to be a skilled mechanic when you can learn to ride okada in three days?

This path is not a sustainable one.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year 2013

Happy New Year to everyone!

I wish you - yes you - the strength, courage, and discipline to work hard at having a great life this year!