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Nigeria: Private sector participation in education:- Evangel and True Light Academies

Evangel and True Light Academies have lasted for 24 years and 10 years, respectively. The former is situated in Mubi, Adamawa State and the later in Nnewi, Anambra State, Nigeria. These schools have been established to provide dynamic learning for effective service to the community. They share the same vision from the same founder whose passion is to impact the nation positively through education by way of dynamic learning that is active, interactive and creative towards the goal of producing graduates that are relevant, effective, productive and competitive.

Annual events of the Academies have been published on-line to share with Nigeria and the international communities some of the activities of the institution. Latest among such publications can be seen at
www.nigeriaworld.com or
www.assistnews.net entitled Graduation events: Evangel and True Light Academies in Nigeria.

Programmes: current and future projection

Our programmes include day-care, nursery, primary, junior secondary and senior secondary schools including a university programme projected to start in the near future, first in Mubi, where the institution has lasted longer. We have a teacher education programme to cater for the education and improvement of teachers while on the job. Workshops and seminars are carried out for teachers twice a term and sometimes more in each of the academies.

The teacher education programme is research driven to enable teachers be part of finding answers for solving the problems faced in teaching and learning, parents/teachers relationship, school and society, etc. Teachers are engaged in reading and writing through organized workshops in order to stimulate their thinking, broaden their minds and keep them abreast with new thoughts for their intellectual improvement and for the benefit their pupils/ students as well.

Continuing education for teachers

In preparation for the January 2011 teacher education workshop towards resumption for the second term, an aspect of our reading and writing project for teachers is the requirement for every teacher to read the novel Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The novel will be discussed during the workshop. The assigned reading during this holiday will prepare every teacher to make proper contribution during the interaction session on the material. Since our reading and writing projects are competitive, there are assessments in objective tests and essays to ascertain best performers in the project for reward.

It is a saying that any teacher who stops reading should quit teaching. In an era when our students are backward in reading and writing, teachers should not give up as well. They must be challenged to do so through teacher education workshop/programme that should be part of every school system that is functional. For if the teacher is not challenged to learn and to keep learning, who then should challenge his/her students better to do so.

I was sometime in a certain police station where I observed young men and women not able to write their statements and needed police assistance to do so as what they dictated orally was written for them. Their inability to read and write became obvious, and I wondered what happened to their schooling in a place like Anambra State known for its intellectual density in Nigeria. Our new generation of school leavers will walk the same path if nothing is seriously done in school about reading and writing beginning teachers.

Need to transform the school system

Most of our students pass through school nowadays without allowing school to pass through them for transformation. Their hope for passing external exams is on special centers (or is it miracle centers?) where answers are either called for them or they hire mercenaries who write their papers for them. Worst is when parents and teachers support this practice either directly or indirectly and those who admit students into the universities accept such fake results due to ineffective screening.

Teachers who came into the system through the same door of exam malpractices when they were students are not willing to fight such ills neither do they possess the intellectual skills and discipline to address them. A dynamic continuing education facility for teachers while on the job conducted by learning specialists within the school system is of great need today. Transformation of our education system in Nigeria must begin with teachers with the full support of parents and government.

Relating school curriculum to career

In Evangel and True Light Academies, Career Day event was among the annual events that featured during our 2009/2010 academic year. Teachers presented papers on different subjects to our secondary school students from their specialization as possible area of career choice for students. Each paper discussed the core areas of the subject that was presented and the job/career opportunities it offers including some role models considered successful in such careers. Students were given opportunity to ask questions after each presentation and the interaction it generated resulted to better understanding to students.

Students acted a drama on career choice after the teachers finished their presentation. The drama gave teachers food for thought on the papers they presented. The drama is from the novel Sons and Daughters where the major character of the play Mr. James Ofosu took the posture of father who imposed career choice on his children which led to serious crisis in his home.

Preparing the student to make a career choice

Although Mr. Ofosu was successful in imposing career choice on his first son who became a medical doctor followed by the second son who became a chattered accountant, trouble arose when his career choices for the remaining two children were vehemently resisted and eventually turned down by them. One of them, a boy, chose to prepare for a career in Arts, precisely painting, whereas his father’s choice was engineering. The last born, a girl, chose to prepare for a career in Theatre arts, precisely dancing, when her father had already made up his mind that she must by a lawyer.

The crisis in Mr. Ofosu’s house could only be resolved when he accepted the reality of certain key factors in making a career choice which can only be neglected at a great cost and damage. A student seeking a career must have passion in that direction (an inner drive that can weather any storm that may stand on the way), and a student’s academic background and natural ability should be in favor of the career choice.

After watching the students show the drama on career choice, teachers whose presentations were somehow persuasive on students to choose career in the subject specializations they presented saw the need to change their minds. They realized it is not proper to persuade anyone to make a career choice, but to provide the necessary counseling and leave the person to choice career that match their passion, academic background and natural abilities.

Following the drama, the students had a debate on career choice entitled: Should parents choose career for their children or allow them make their own career choice? The debate both in its preparation and presentation engaged the students in sound reasoning on the subject and the outcome challenged their audience to think properly on the question. The debate on career choice has been published since after the career day event. See it online at www.assistnews.net or at www.nigeriaworld.com.

Nigeria schools and intellectual development

Schools in Nigeria should aim at engaging students in intellectual activities so as to develop their minds. This is so important in an era when Nigerian is at a very low level of mental development and still going backward. The standard is for us to move up the ladder from activities that have no intellectual engagement of the mind, to those that engage and develop the mind intellectually towards the top level of performing puzzling intellectual activities found mostly in developed societies and manifest in their advanced and advancing technology, and superior management.

The recent initiative by President Goodluck Jonathan in launching at Lagos what is tagged “Bring Back The Book” is a step in the right direction. For unless we bring back the book, read and interact with it in order to develop our reading, thinking and writing skills, and then apply the wisdom gained from the book for holistic development in our country, we cannot move forward like people of the book who founded the developed nations of the world.

The role of the teacher who can help us understand the book is critical in our situation including the role of the government (proprietor) who pay the teacher and fund the school. If the funding is neglected and the funds are mismanaged and the teacher is frustrated, this can never be the way to bring back the book. I hope the President by his good intentions in this new initiative will turn things around in favor of the book, both for schools in the public and private sector, so as to benefit every Nigerian child.

Email contact for Prof. Eze is herberteze@juno.com


Nigerian-born Herbert Eze has seven years of marketing experience and twenty years of pastoral/teaching and political experience. He served as School Director in Evangel Academy while pastoring a church in Mubi. He has held offices as Chairman Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Mubi and Chairman, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Mubi Zone. Eze was elected in the Social Democratic Party (SDP) for two tenures to serve as State Delegate for Yelwa Mubi during the Third Republic in Nigeria. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Seminary and is a candidate for Ph. D. Intercultural Education from Biola University, La Mirada, California. For three years, Eze has taught Social Science and World Religion courses at the University of Phoenix Southern California. He also serves as adjunct assistant professor of Intercultural Studies at Hope International University, Fullerton, where he teaches Cultural Anthropology.

Herbert M. Eze can be contacted by e-mail at: HerbertEze@juno.com



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