Cel­e­brat­ing 10 Years of Qual­ity Ed­u­ca­tion

Lead Bri­tish In­ter­na­tional School, Abuja, re­cently cel­e­brated its 10th an­niver­sary. Damilola Oyedele writes that the high­light of the week­long event was the hon­our ac­corded its alumni who have ex­celled af­ter school

THISDAY - - CITY STRINGS -

For the man­age­ment, staff, par­ents and stu­dents of Lead Bri­tish In­ter­na­tional School (LBIS), Abuja, mark­ing the 10th an­niver­sary of the school’s ex­is­tence was worth rolling out the drums for. In­deed, they rolled out the drums and laid the red car­pet for their alumni who dis­tin­guished them­selves in their univer­sity ed­u­ca­tion, and bagged First Class. LBIS now has the credit for the first fe­male aero­nau­ti­cal en­gi­neer from north­ern Nige­ria, Miss Hauwa Umar Us­man. Us­man, who fin­ished from LBIS in 2012, grad­u­ated from the Univer­sity of Brighton, United Kingdom with a First Class hon­ours in Aero­nau­ti­cal En­gi­neer­ing in July 2017.

Other hon­ours stu­dents in­clude Mr. Ahmed Sani Dan-Bello (First Class, Law, Univer­sity of Hert­ford­shire, UK, Septem­ber 2017), Mr. Ahame­fula Bren­dan Rochas (First Class, Me­chan­i­cal En­gi­neer­ing, Univer­sity of Manch­ester, UK, July 2015, MSc, Ad­vanced Me­chan­i­cal En­gi­neer­ing and Diploma of Im­pe­rial Col­lege, London, May 2017), Mr. Is­mail Tahir Mam­man (First Class, Bio­med­i­cal Sci­ence, Univer­sity of Sur­rey, UK, July 2017), and Ms. Adama Olumo (First Class hon­ours de­gree in Civil En­gi­neer­ing, Univer­sity of Brighton-June 2017)

The Founder of the School, Hon. Wole Oke, in his ad­dress harped on the need for the en­cour­age­ment of the pri­vate sec­tor to boost the coun­try's ail­ing ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor.

He how­ever noted that es­tab­lish­ing a school can­not be mo­ti­vated by profit alone, but rather as a way to im­part val­ues in de­vel­op­ing chil­dren and es­tab­lish­ing lega­cies.

"You may have a gi­gan­tic struc­ture but what is im­por­tant is what comes out of it. Lega­cies are im­por­tant. What value are you adding to oth­ers? Our fo­cus is that when you give us your lit­tle boys and girls, we re­turn them to you as re­spon­si­ble men and women," he said.

Oke, whose par­ents were both teach­ers, re­vealed that his de­ci­sion to start LBIS, which has since ex­panded with a cam­pus in Ibadan was borne out of a need to give back to the so­ci­ety. Oke him­self started out as a teacher on level one, step two with a salary of N109.

“The only gift they (par­ents) gave to me was ed­u­ca­tion, which has given me power, re­sources and has brought me to this stage. I asked my­self, would I con­tinue to be a teacher? I left the job and joined an ac­count­ing firm. Af­ter all we have had suc­cess­ful peo­ple in my home­town (Eesa Oke, Osun State), Chief Bola Ige and oth­ers. I was posted to Suleja,” he said.

He added that the firm wanted to close at some point af­ter the mil­i­tary coup of 1985, but he ne­go­ti­ated to keep the branch open and head it in re­turn for profit shar­ing.

“I made good money and thought what I would do with it. I bought the land,” he said and se­cured a loan from a bank with which he built the Abuja school. “The loan has since been re­paid,” he added.

“The only way that oc­curred to me, to give back to the so­ci­ety that has given me so much, was to open a school that would teach chil­dren to be re­spon­si­ble, knowl­edge­able and fu­ture lead­ers in what­ever sphere they choose,” Oke said.

The school, which has grad­u­ated over 500 stu­dents, now boasts of about 350 em­ploy­ees and con­sis­tent in meet­ing its tax, pen­sions and other obli­ga­tions to them and to the au­thor­i­ties. It com­prises early years sec­tion, pri­mary, sec­ondary and ad­vance learn­ing/pre-univer­sity. It boasts of stan­dard class­rooms, mu­sic room, ICT and sci­ence lab­o­ra­to­ries.

The Ibadan school also kicked off just at the be­gin­ning of the 2017/2018 ses­sion.

The Guest Lec­turer, Pro­fes­sor Ab­dul­lahi Y. Shehu, who spoke on the ‘For­tunes of Ed­u­ca­tion in Nige­ria’ said sev­eral Nige­ri­ans who ben­e­fit­ted from the pub­lic school sys­tem have con­trib­uted to the de­cline of the pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem.

Shehu is for­mer Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, ECOWAS In­ter-Gov­ern­men­tal Ac­tion Group against Money Laun­der­ing in West Africa (GIABA) and cur­rently Di­rec­tor, Oluse­gun Obasanjo Good Gover­nance and De­vel­op­ment Re­search Cen­tre, Na­tional Open Univer­sity of Nige­ria, Abuja.

He high­lighted the con­sti­tu­tional duty of the gov­ern­ment to­wards ed­u­ca­tion to in­clude di­rect­ing its pol­icy to­wards en­sur­ing that there are equal and ad­e­quate ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties at all lev­els, pro­mot­ing sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy, striv­ing to erad­i­cate il­lit­er­acy; through free, com­pul­sory and uni­ver­sal pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion; free sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion; free univer­sity ed­u­ca­tion; and free adult lit­er­acy pro­gramme.

“Ed­u­ca­tion con­trib­utes to na­tional de­vel­op­ment by de­vel­op­ing in in­di­vid­u­als, val­ues which make for good cit­i­zen­ship, in­clud­ing hon­esty, self­less­ness, tol­er­ance, pa­tri­o­tism, hard work, and per­sonal in­tegrity, all of which pro­vide the nu­ances for good lead­er­ship.

“De­spite the recog­ni­tion of the im­por­tance of ed­u­ca­tion in de­vel­op­ment, the fact re­mains that ei­ther we have not in­vested suf­fi­ciently in ed­u­ca­tion or we have mis­man­aged our for­tunes in pro­mot­ing ed­u­ca­tion to our de­sired stan­dards. Which­ever is the cor­rect per­spec­tive, our ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem has been char­ac­terised by mis­for­tunes,” Shehu added.

Cit­ing sev­eral poli­cies of suc­ces­sive govern­ments to­wards ed­u­ca­tion, Shehu lamented that bridg­ing the il­lit­er­acy gap re­mains a chal­lenge par­tic­u­larly be­cause of the high rate of il­lit­er­acy for the girl-child es­pe­cially in North­ern Nige­ria.

“Over 85 per cent of the chil­dren of po­lit­i­cally ex­posed per­sons are study­ing abroad; there is a dearth of tech­ni­cally qual­i­fied teach­ers at all lev­els; in short, “not only is the cri­sis-state of ed­u­ca­tion in Nige­ria is a threat to pro­duc­tiv­ity, and com­merce; it is also a threat to life and civil so­ci­ety” hence we have an ‘army’ of un­em­ployed and un­em­ploy­able youths that are po­ten­tial can­non fod­ders for all sorts of crim­i­nal­ity, in­clud­ing ter­ror­ism,” Shehu said.

He urged the gov­ern­ment to de­clare a state of emer­gency in the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor be­cause it tar­gets the chil­dren and youth, en­sur­ing the fu­ture of the na­tion.

“It is un­der­stand­able that there are com­pet­ing pri­or­i­ties for gov­ern­ment, and yet the re­sources are lim­ited. What is re­quired to op­ti­mise the for­tunes of ed­u­ca­tion there­fore is to pri­ori­tise. In Nige­ria, there seems to be a choice of pri­or­ity be­tween ed­u­ca­tion and in­fra­struc­ture. While I agree that we need in­fra­struc­ture to de­velop, in­fra­struc­ture is a prod­uct of good tech­ni­cal and vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion,” Shehu ex­plained.

The Head of School, Ms. Jac­que­line Ranger, speak­ing dur­ing the in­au­gu­ra­tion of the Alumni As­so­ci­a­tion, lauded the hon­ours stu­dents.

“Our 10 years an­niver­sary is a time for us to look back at our many achieve­ments and suc­cesses whilst si­mul­ta­ne­ously look­ing ahead with in­creased de­ter­mi­na­tion and mo­ti­va­tion. You give us more rea­sons to cel­e­brate. You have made your fam­i­lies and coun­try proud. Our stu­dents now know that they stand on the shoul­ders of giants,” she said.

“Hav­ing dis­tin­guished it­self as one of the best schools in Nige­ria, LBIS con­tin­ues to trans­form ed­u­ca­tion through the de­liv­ery of high qual­ity

The only way that oc­curred to me, to give back to the so­ci­ety that has given me so much, was to open a school that would teach chil­dren to be re­spon­si­ble, knowl­edge­able and fu­ture lead­ers in what­ever sphere they choose

Our 10 years an­niver­sary is a time for us to look back at our many achieve­ments and suc­cesses whilst si­mul­ta­ne­ously look­ing ahead with in­creased de­ter­mi­na­tion and mo­ti­va­tion. You give us more rea­sons to cel­e­brate. You have made your fam­i­lies and coun­try proud. Our stu­dents now know that they stand on the shoul­ders of giants

ed­u­ca­tion that sup­ports our chil­dren in achiev­ing the best pos­si­ble out­comes. Our School Board, Lead­ers, Teach­ers, sup­port staff and fam­i­lies are all pas­sion­ate and com­mit­ted to ed­u­ca­tion and are driven to go the ex­tra mile,” Ranger said.

The man­age­ment of the school also used the op­por­tu­nity to hon­our its long serv­ing staff, those who have stayed be­tween seven years and 10 years, in­clud­ing its non aca­demic staff. The staff re­ceived gifts such as mi­crowaves, tele­vi­sions, and re­frig­er­a­tors.

LBIS vi­sion is to pro­duce the best in­tel­lec­tu­als in Nige­ria and a legacy. With the ar­ray of First Class hon­ors alumni it al­ready boasts of in just 10 years of ex­is­tence, it is well on its way to achieve this dream.

It is how­ever also im­por­tant for the Nige­rian Gov­ern­ment to sit up and get se­ri­ous about re­vamp­ing the pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. Ed­u­ca­tion re­mains the most ver­i­ta­ble tool to cause change in all sec­tors of na­tional econ­omy, and to guar­an­tee a bet­ter fu­ture for the coun­try.

Founder of Lead Bri­tish In­ter­na­tional School, Abuja, Hon. Wole Oke, flanked by stu­dents and par­ents, cut­ting the school's 10th an­niver­sary cake

LBIS Founder, Hon. Wole Oke...de­liv­er­ing his ad­dress at the sx­hool's 10th an­niver­sary

Gifts for some long serv­ing staff

The First Class alumni

Chair­per­son of PTA, Mrs. Ufom Ak­pabio, pre­sent­ing a long ser­vice cer­tifi­cate to the Cor­po­rate Af­fairs Man­ager, Ms. Ngozi Nwaokoma

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