The Nigerian-Turkish International Colleges, (NTIC), in its effort to make the teaching and learning of science subjects more appealing, has continued to make deep inroads into science education. This became imperative because the teaching and learning of sciences remain a herculean task in many secondary schools in Nigeria.
It is a fact that no nation can, meaningfully, develop without prioritising science education, this is why Science is, aptly, considered to be the driving force for national development and no country trivialises with its importance because of its dire consequences, which include being tagged a developing or Third World country; the need, therefore, for the teaching and learning of sciences in schools, cannot be over-emphasised. It is the constant need to advance in national development that encouraged the federal and state governments to accord primacy to it through the establishment of special science and technical colleges. However, various bureaucratic bottlenecks stifle the proper administration of these government schools, thus, the need for a private sector intervention. Just like there is always an exception to every rule, the emergence of NTIC in Nigeria, over a decade ago, undoubtedly, ushered in a gale of innovative changes in the teaching and learning of sciences in private secondary schools.
The NTIC, which at the moment, boasts of about 16 branches in Nigeria, has not only shown, so far, to be a trailblazer through its well-equipped laboratories and qualified 21st Century human resource, needed for effective and efficient teaching and learning of sciences, it had also proven that science-based subjects are truly its core area of specialisation.
According to Boniface Akhalumhe, a Biology teacher in the Abuja branch of the school, “NTIC, generally, is science-oriented, and being a group of colleges that, traditionally, has strong bent for science-based subjects, it had established a track record of excellence in students’ performance. “Our students have been doing exploits in all science Olympiads and many other competitions where they have been winning medals, some of the students are on scholarship because of their excellence”.
Timothy Shirgba, who teaches Physics in one of the NTIC branches in Abuja said that “as far as Science is concerned, I don’t think there is any school that can challenge NTIC”.
How does the school enhance the students’ comprehension of science subjects? Shirgba believes that the use of smart boards is one of such efforts. “We are using smart boards in the school, which, I think, is not available in any school in Abuja. My videos come straight from the board, which is more like all what you have in a laptop. And I can draw and do many other things on the board. So no school can match us in this respect”.
Speaking on the students’ performance in national examinations of bodies like the West African Examinations Council, National Examinations Council and the Unified Tertiary Education
Examination, Shirgba that their performance rate is always great. “Our recent examination performance was 100 percent. Every year, we always make A (Distinction) in Physics. We have also gone international with this same sterling performance; our teaching is not only theoretical, we do a lot of practical experiments”.
“We are improving, almost every day, we just organised a Physics video competition that cannot be found in other schools, and we always evolve new ways of teaching and learning science-based subjects and the school is always ready to e support us. “Our students produced sample rockets which they can launch. Last session, we were at the National Space Centre in Abuja, for the students to see how rockets are launched”, Shirgba added.
Akhalumhe, while corroborating the importance of the smart board innovation, said that “From the materials we have on ground now, like the smart boards, the teaching aids have boosted the morale of teachers and enhanced students’ capabilities”.
Incidentally, this enhancement impacted positively on the students’ performance in Biology. Akhalumhe revealed that “In respect of Biology, I don’t think we have recorded failure in any external examination organised by WAEC, NECO and others, the students have been doing well. When it comes to the practical, which is our forte. As we teach orally, we also expose the students to practical, to build them up very well. “For the past three years, we have been recording over 70 percent performance in Biology, especially, the recent results, which were excellent. By excellent, I mean there was no C (Credit), it was B and A (distinctions) all through”. To sustain this feat, Akhalumhe advocates the need for continuous training of teachers by the school management and the regular upgrading of the science facilities.
‘Quality teaching, learning facilities put NTIC ahead of others’
On their part, the students were delighted with the high standard of science facilities in NTIC, the high quality of teaching and the conducive learning environment.
Ibrahim Muhammed, a student of the school, believes that NTIC had, indeed, gone a long way ahead with its quality teaching and learning facilities and an ideal learning environment that promote students’ excellent performance in examinations. “It is a good school and has the right environment for learning. We have well-equipped facilities and quality teachers and the school’s strength in sciences is unparalleled with other schools. “The smart boards have enhanced students’ capability and they are highly effective in areas of Mathematics, Geometry and many other subjects”, he said.
Another student in Senior Secondary School 3, Nebolisa Maluchukwu, said NTIC excels, especially, in academic performance and other areas. According to him, the school’s academic prowess, social and moral strides are qualities that can hardly be found anywhere else. “The facilities are getting better every day. Of course, the school is already filled with several facilities. We have good pitches for football, basketball and other sports. New smart boards were, also, recently installed in the classrooms”.
There is a need for other private and public schools in Nigeria to emulate NTIC, if Nigeria were to realise its goal of being advanced in science and technology.