…as communication manager speaks on other issues.
Lorretta Ewara Onyia is an administrator, educationist and the Principal Consultant, Lindell Global Resources, an education consulting firm. She is also the communication manager, Central Emirate International Academy Abuja, one of the schools in the country that is well known for welfarism. In this chat, Onyia speak among other things the upcoming creative workshop with celebrities by the school.
About Central Emirate International Academy and the forthcoming booth camp
Central Emirate International Academy, Abuja is a school with a vision to carry along every Nigerian child and to sharpened them to greatness irrespective of their background, religion and social status.
Established 5 years ago with full boarding facilities, the school strongly believes that mentorship programme should be organized by schools to help the development of children in the society.
The founder is Mrs Hassan Bala, a child friendly educationist who loves training young people to become role models. The school runs British curriculum and her mantra is global education.
From December 7 to 9, 2018, the school will be having three days booth camp in Abuja that will accommodate and feed about 1000 children from 9 to 22 years old.
It is open for children with talents in singing, acting, sports and other creativities for a three-day programme. Although, it is not basically free but affordable.
Top Nigerian celebrities invited to ginger the kids to develop interest in various talents include former Nigerian international footballers, J. J Okocha, Tijani Babaginda among others while former Big Brother Africa winner and model Uti Nwachukwu will also be present alongside other role models.
Reasons for bringing these celebrities to the camp is because we want the Nigerian child to tap from their experience and learn to excel and we feel the best way is for the children to meet masters in the field.
The Nigerian child needs to know that it is possible to be like who they want to be, hence, exposing them to interact with their role models become necessary.
What informs the project and what do you intend to achieve by inviting these celebrities?
Anytime, I am outside the country, I am amazed at what children do with technology gadgets around then. In America a 12 year child is already conversant with digital coding, and other amazing things including history narratives.
Our children can do it but with non availability of basic infrastructure, it becomes difficult.
Our core reason for involving the stars in the programme is to imbibe ‘Unity in diversity’ in the children and expose them to emerging technology. We are going to bring children from the East, West, North and South together.
There is a problem in the country now which is ethnic challenge. We are teaching these children to live in harmony with one and another, that we are one Nigeria.
Secondly, we believe by interacting with these stars, the children will be mentored and nurtured and see no difference between Hausa and Igbo or Yoruba star. Every child needs mentoring; you need people you believe and look up to grow. That is what we are trying to achieve.
Do you see these as a way of developing education in the country?
Yes! The passion the school has for every Nigerian child is a strong hope for development of education in Nigeria. First of all, Nigerians are brilliant people.
By the time a Nigerian child travel out of the country to pursue his education, within one or two years he or she excel. But the systems and policies in Nigeria for those who cannot afford it are nothing to write home about.
I attended a Unity School, Federal Government Girls College, Owerri, Imo State in the 90s. We did not have up to five or seven private secondary schools then.
We also have missionary schools doing well and by then the state government has not taken over the schools. All of us that finish in this Unity School have friends from the North and South, rich and poor.
Both the teachers, the curriculum and the friendly ambience were amazing. We had standard education that can compete globally and was as low in tuition fees, less than N20,000. Suddenly private schools came and rob the missionary and Unity schools of their status.
I feel it is not right to what we are doing to the present generation. The system now is, if you cannot afford good and quality education, go to public school.
An ignorant child is a child who lacks basic knowledge and cannot deliver when necessary. The system also expose them to all manner of vices. That is why we have to remodel our children to become responsible and employable.
In America and Europe, primary and secondary education is free. Parents have enough time to save money to fund their university education.
Apart from that there are a lots of scholarship programmes for brilliant children. These are things we need to put into consideration in this country to get our education right.
And to be candid, if our education system could introduce basic vocational training at Junior Secondary School level such as Home Economic, food Nutrition and other craft like we have in the former Technical Schools, then there will be no need to struggle for university education to become rich. Even at the expense of basic infrastructure, education and health must not be underestimated.
What are the challenges the have encountered since inception?
The major challenge the school had to contend with is teachers’ quality. Our youths are brilliant and intelligence but when you want to balance the certification with the teaching practical there is a disconnect.
The school opened a full Montessori training center to train teachers every Saturday. But we have overcome it overtime and today we have quality teachers.
We have been able to make the study of History and government compulsory in the school for secondary school students. History subject is compulsory for the students whether they are of science or art class.
We have started A-Level class in January. We also have A-level class and tuition fee in the school is affordable with scholarship programmes for indigent children.
How is the school getting fund considering the number of children on scholarship?
We have not gotten any government support or sponsorship from private organization but the proprietess Mrs. Hassan we tell you ‘if I live a legacy that I transform a child I will sleep in peace.’
What do you think government should do?
Man power training is key, once a teacher who has passion for teaching is trained, the better for it. The future of the children depends on every teacher.
That is why we at Central Emirate International Academy are regularly training our teachers in our schools every week. Teaching is a passionate job.
You must love it and be excited about it. We cannot have fantastic building, equipped lab, buy books for our library without the right manpower.
Central Emirate International Academy is the first school that started training children on drone usage within FCT. There is a big drone center open for children who are passionate about technology and ICT.
ICT experts will also come to train them about Coding during the booth camp. We are calling on parents to release their wards for this wonderful and educative experience already enjoyed by the children in UK, Europe and America.
What are your advice to parents?
The world is a global village and one cannot hide under ignorance. Parents should give their children an all round education that involves an opportunity to learn everything positive from sport, music, art and culture to other creative talents.
Every child has a talent and it is good to discover it at early stage. Parent should take their wards to a school that has adequate infrastructure for career developments.
This will help to boost their morale and create opportunities for international reclining.