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Aspiring a generation

By Denrele Animasaun

We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future- Franklin D. Roosevel

I was fortune to meet an inspiring brother and sister duo, who have dedicated their time, expertise and love for learning to inspire the younger generation. They offer aspirations and motivation to young people to strive for excellence.Having seen the fantastic work they have done with young people and how the young people respond to such positivity and the opportunity to dream big.

Brilliant Aspirations is formed by two British individuals of Nigerian descent and extensive higher education. We wanted to create greater inclusion of students from diverse backgrounds in elite Universities.

Brilliant Aspirations offers free non-residential training to 15 olds from diverse backgrounds in London UK. The scheme lasts for one week in the Summer Holidays. We offer an enriched learning experience in STEM subjects and we enable them to aspire and enter the elite Russell Group Institutions and make more informed career choices.

They said: our expertise lies in teaching statistics and physics and our aim is to help these students as they are highly under-represented in these fields. We continue the relationship with the schools, parents and students by sending them a monthly newsletter and encourage our students to work as volunteers during the next scheme. We work with schools directly by conducing some workshops.

We continue our dialogue with the students through a termly newsletter where a particular subject is mentioned. We highlight various encouraging but informative aspects of the STEM. We also send information to the students on possible work experience opportunities and University Outreach programs and encourage the students to sign up to them.

The highlights for us are always hearing amazing feedback from the students on their GCSEs, A-levels and beyond. We’ve always received amazing feedback from the students and are excited that the first cohort will now be entering University. We will run again next year.

We are to enable dreams and raise aspirations of young people so that they can be the best by studying at the best. What’s Brilliant about us is that we are focused and dynamic which we feel are the most important traits for successfully running any community project. Brilliants Aspirations,is funded by donations and the commitment of the duo.

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. …

 

From my archives

Accessible education for all,2017

The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think — rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with thoughts of other men.”- Bill Beattie

Many of the nation’s high brasses have benefited from free and high quality education for many over decades ago and this educational opportunities, it did not only transform their lives but that of their families and the next generation.

Unfortunately, it is no longer the case; quality education is now the preserve of the rich and well heeled.

Access to education is the key to the regeneration  of a society and it can have a positive impact on the living standards of the nation and given the opportunity, every child can reach their fullest potential. In order for Nigeria to take its place in the community of nations,  but first must invest in quality, universal free and access in young people’s education.Education holds the key to the success of  the future of Nigeria and its people.

The quest for knowledge is not new; it is innate and transformational when it is allowed to flourish.

My father always reminds my siblings and myself that: “education is not an inheritance, that once it is acquired no one can take it away from you”. I agree wholeheartedly.

The nation’s intellegenzas hold in their hands the foundations of thinking, creative, progressive and a dynamic society and yet, it fails to invest in education. So, the gap has widen between the have and have not and this result grinding poverty for over half its population.

A nation without the progressives and the educated becomes a festering playground for tyrannical leaders and the megalomaniacs. It is, therefore crucial and essential to have literate and knowledgeable citizens who can think for themselves, show curiously, and question the powers that be, agitate for the marginalised, the weak, work towards an equitable, a stable and a more tolerant society. Most importantly provides an environment for innovation and improved quality  of life for majority of its citizens.   A nation grows when its people are educated and consciously aware. Margaret Thatcher was once asked what her government’s top priority was;without hesitation she said: “Education, education and education”. Yes, education is the key and an essential building block of a fair, just and progressive society.

G.K. Chesterton defined education as: “simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another”. Many of our parents had the opportunity to get an education because their parents, who had the aspirations that their children should have an education and thus, have a better quality of life and with it, the opportunity to do better in life and be a productive member of society.

My grandparents and countless others across the nation toiled to pay their children’s school fees and if they were lucky also sent their children abroad for higher education so on completion, they can return to Nigeria and become successful in their chosen careers. Our parents were the nation builders and took their roles seriously and many did return and helped build the nation and we all benefitted as a result of their hard work and dedication to the cause.

In Nigeria, in the 60s,70s and 80s, we had excellent schools, colleges and universities that produced remarkable graduates, and the quality of the nation’s education rival the best of the best in any developed nation. Sadly, that was then and it is no longer the case.

Now, our seats of learning have been underinvested for decades, ignored and left to fallow and fallen into ruin. In fact, most of our schools and higher learning establishments are riddled with corruption, cultists, substandard learning, lack resources and poorly paid teachers and a place of discontent due to prolong strikes and scandals, students on a four year course have interrupted period that means they fail to or it takes additional years to complete their studies. In terms of lost years, it has cost implications to the nation’s productivity and economic growth.

The seat of learning has become a breeding place of iniquity, intimidation, crime, killings and debauchery; it is not exactly a safe place to learn. For parents who could afford a safer alternative, they send their children to neighbouring African universities and colleges and those with deeper pockets, their children go too far flung countries where their education is uninterrupted and where they can complete their education and perhaps return to a gilded job arranged by their parents’ connection.   I am often told that it is who you know that gets you the job and that merit or qualification alone no longer cut it.   This alas, has created an elite class and the gulf between the haves and have-nots has become so wide than ever before. Education was once a sure way of breaking the cycle of poverty and now not so much the case. It is so hard for many young people to get access to education, training, talk less of securing employment.

For decades respective administrations have failed to invest in the nation’s most valuable resources- our young. As a result, the nation has to deal with the dire consequences. Many of our young people are not in employment, education or training.

“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”-Andy McIntyre

Without the risk of disclosing my age, I was a child of the 70s and I was a fortunate recipient of the Jakande’s free education. We were fortunate to have in Lagos State, a visionary governor who prioritised education and made it accessible to so many children, who may not have the opportunity to get one otherwise.

He recognised that the state education sector was poorly funded and his astonishing legacy stands today: he established a singular school system and ensured genuine free education in Lagos State and the beneficiaries of this policy are in different positions of eminence in the country and around the world.

 

 

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