BY BASHIR ADEFAKA
A former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Bola Ajibola (SAN), is celebrating the students of one of the educational establishments founded by him for their excellent performance at the latest edition of the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) conducted by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC).
Ajibola, a retired Judge of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, Kingdom of Netherlands, is thanking God for strengthening him to make the IMA International Model College happen.
According to him, all the 35 students from the school who sat for the African standard examination scored A1 in mathematics.
The new development which, he said, is not new to the school, however, came with added excellence this year.
The students’ achievement appears to be a further proof of Allah’s acceptance of the strides of the global figure who served as Minister for over six years without taking salary.
It will be recalled that the Crescent University Abeokuta (CUAB), which is the peak of the educational establishments founded by the Olori Omo Oba of Owu Kingdom, Abeokuta, is, today, one of the leading private universities in Nigeria.
CUAB is also known as the ‘Citadel of moral and academic excellence’.
At a ceremony held in the premises of Islamic Mission for Africa (IMA), Abeokuta, the 84-year-old legal luminary gave details of how the latest academic success of ‘his children’ at the IMA International Model College gladdened his heart.
Ajibola said: “What I saw and heard on Thursday, July 26, 2018 concerning our outgoing students at IMA International Model College not only amazed me but also gave me the impression that these students are among the best all over Nigeria if not in Africa. They performed wonders in their dedication and diligence in many ways.
“Before the final examination (SSCE), they unanimously took a decision to fast for seven days which they completed with prayers. God Almighty answered their prayers because all the 35 students passed their SSCE. Besides, none of these students failed in mathematics”.
The founder went on, “In fact, they all got A1. The most incredible of this is that one them who sat for further mathematics also scored A1. They all did well in physics, biology and chemistry scoring credit. They performed wonders in cultural display and deep Islamic lectures. In science, they performed an experiment that really went beyond my imagination. They were able to produce electricity and, in fact, light out of wired electrode and we noticed electrical light patently coming out of the wired lemon seeds which was about 20.
“On culture, two of them came out to give a wonderful performance in EWI which was done to the acclamation of all the guests in the hall. Before the program even started, one of them continued to recite from the holy Quran virtually endlessly. He had memorised virtually a large part of the holy Quran.
“One of the parents who showered gifts on the students testified that his daughter that attended IMA International Model College was given a scholarship and she is now doing excellently well at Crescent University”.
Opeyemi Jimoh, IMA college maths teacher, whose all 35 students scored A1, is a holder of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology and University of Ibadan.
Jimoh is an unassuming egghead.
A winner of several awards, the teacher fell in love with the teaching of mathematics and further mathematics which many students dread like the plaque owing to their abstract and “problematic” nature.
Management, stakeholders applaud
The management and other stakeholders of IMA International Model College applauded the superlative performance of the outgoing students.
Apart from Ajibola, the Vice Chancellor, Crescent University, Professor Ibraheem Gbajabiamila, during his remarks at the award and prize-giving ceremony of the school, said the outgoing students were among the lucky ones to have had access to quality education provided by the school.
He noted that the success stories recorded by Crescent University today would have been impossible without the Islamic Mission for Africa (IMA) “the body which gave birth to this college and Crescent University, Abeokuta”.
Gbajabiamila charged the outgoing and current students of the college to crown their excellence by joining Crescent University.
A statement by the management said, “The college had recorded 100% success twice in the SSCE in the past. However, the uniqueness of this year’s result is the near impossible feat of A1 parallel recorded by products of the school in mathematics.”
Speaking to Sunday Vanguard, the erudite mathematics teacher, Jimoh, said, “Mathematics is not a difficult subject; it is the methodology of many teachers and delivery that pose problems.”
He emphasized that the fear appeal by many mathematics teachers makes students dread the subject and causes victims to, later in their lives, have career switch from mathematics’ related subjects.
“A mathematics teacher should cultivate his or her students to be his friends,” Jimoh stated.
On the secret behind his success, the teacher explained that he always ensured that “certain topics like statistics, trigonometry, quadratic graphs, trigonometric graphs, longitude and latitude which come out every year in SSCE were treated in details.”
“These topics need to be dealt with more seriously than the others”, he revealed.
The teacher believes that since mathematics’ topics are usually linked, the knowledge of students in previous topics and previous year should be assessed by the teacher in charge who must go the “extra, extra mile” to tutor his students.
According to him, “the teacher must also be very patient in handling the subject while an effective teacher should go as far as explaining mathematics in the local language because the subject is abstract”.
Jimoh went on, “Mathematics teachers should be lenient with their students while taking the subject. Some teachers make the subject harder than it seems.
“Mathematics deals with steps and that is what WAEC marks. You may even get the final answer wrong but still get like 9/10 in a particular question. So it has to go with steps. I have been involved in WAEC coordination. I know the rules and this has helped”.
He identified giving a lot of assignments and entertaining questions from students even beyond the regular periods of the subject as a good step to helping students, saying this is necessary because one or two periods of regular class may not be enough to groom students to the desired standard.
The teacher agreed, to a large extent, that most failure in the subject is attributable to psychological reason regarding teacher-student relationship.
There is no doubting the fact that Jimoh is a model of how an ideal mathematics teacher should be—proactive, patient, painstaking, friendly and methodical. The world needs more of this genius to develop the fledgling minds.