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‘Funding is key to quality education’

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By Dayo Adesulu

Provost, Air Force Institute of Technology, Kaduna, Professor Emmanuel Ezugwu has said for our education to grow and meet some key international best practices, adequate funding is key. “Our education needs urgent attention, reformation and injection of cash,” he said.

Ezugwu who spoke in Lagos during the graduation of Greater Scholars International School, Ajah, posited that education in Nigeria looks promising, adding that the nation has the resources to build its education sector to attain international recognition which it once had.

He said: “Four decades ago,  education in Nigeria was comparable to education anywhere in the world. But now, maybe as a result of too many people in the education space, we don’t get commensurate funding of education in Nigeria.”

*From left: Mrs. Comfort Ukpong, Director, Greater Scholars International School, Ajah-Lekki, Professor Emmanuel O. Ezugwu, Provost, Air Force Institute of Technology, Kaduna; Mrs. Onome Ogbon; Dr. Chika Nnaemeka, Director, Safety and Protection Services, London and Mr. Isang Ukpong, Chairman, Greater Scholars Int’l School, Ajah-Lekki, Lagos during the school’s 15th graduation and prize-giving ceremony in Lagos.

Ezugwu who reiterated that education is an expensive business and bedrock of any society, noted that in terms of development, education is crying for funding.

On his part, UK-based Nigerian, Dr Chika Nnaemeka, Director of Safety and Protection Services, said his three children school in Greater Scholars International School, Ajah, Lagos. According to him, he prefers Nigerian education as foundation for elementary education than foreign education.

He said: “I have every reason to be happy that I made the right choice of bringing my three children here. Contrary to what people think – that the best is out there – home is still home. The things that make one intelligent is not just what you learn in the class.”

Nnaemeka who noted that education involves so many things, maintained that manners, attitude, culture, tradition, customs and local knowledge, are all part of education.

He said: “In the West, you may obtain their education theoretically but that is like having academic sense without common sense, it’s not complete. You acquired education but did not acquire their culture because their culture can never be your culture, no matter how long you live there.

“It can never be the same, we are not made the same and can’t be the same. They have education but culture and tradition they don’t, we were brought up to be respectful, respect our elders, and parents. They were brought up to have their rights and there is difference between right and respect.

For example, in Nigeria, your mother can tell you to sit down and you will sit down without asking a question. But over there, a mother tells a child to sit down and he says, ‘Mom don’t shout.’ This was not the way we were brought up.

“When you don’t know the value of what you have, you will be thinking that what your neighbour has is better than yours.

“The problem we have is that we don’t know the value of what we have, you see people that are average here selling everything they have to move to a place they don’t know what to expect because they believe that the best is out there.

“The Bible says, “Spare the rod and spoil the child. The reason we are against smacking or using hands to discipline a child over there is because of diversity in culture. It’s a place where people from every tribe and nation live. When you encourage things like smacking in school, the next problem we will have is that the teacher will discipline that child because he is a black child, is smacking that child because he is an Indian child or a Muslim child.”

He continues: “Another reason is that schools today are run by those who don’t believe in God. Schools have been banned both in Britain and America from praying. If you pray in school today, you go to jail. It’s not allowed and it’s against the law, it’s been on for years, you don’t pray in school because you don’t even pray in the office.

A place where your child living next door to you cannot even visit you unless you invite him. Here, we have extended family that is why when we are travelling back home, we are loaded with luggage.

“Abroad, you can meet someone in the night club and just marry her straight away, nobody cares. You might have 10 children before you go and see grandma, yet, you live on the same street; you simply don’t care about her. What a culture!

“I want my children to know that there is a different life elsewhere that you want them to emulate while obtaining academic knowledge.

“But people may say, how come they are succeeding? They are succeeding because they are honest to themselves. They believe in legacy. Many of them will say, ‘I want to be remembered for building this road and it will last for 100 years. In Nigeria, we are yet to get to that point, we are yet to realise the importance of legacy; that the good name you leave for your children is better  than the billions you leave in their bank account.

They can gamble with it overnight. That is the reason we go there to study, obtain their knowledge and attitude to things but for tradition, culture and respect, come back here that is where it is.”

Meanwhile, Managing Director of the school, Mrs Comfort Ukpong disclosed that the secret of Greater Scholars is passion and excellence. She said: “We love what we do at Greater Scholars, so we put in our very best to ensure we do it excellently.”

According to her, so many things are different in the school. “Our vision is different, many schools do not have a peculiar vision, they are just a school but we set up the school for a purpose, the main purpose is to nurture the love of learning, we want children not just to love learning for the purpose of class examination,

we want them to love learning so much that they do it for a life time whether they are in school or not, they should be learners, we nurture for the love of learning and we meet individual needs.

Children should not be treated the same because they are all different, just as a mother will see that a child that was born the same day as her child, may start talking and walking before hers so why should schools treat everybody the same?

We lay emphasis on innovation, godliness and love because it’s a Christian school.”

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