Transitioning from primary to secondary education is a big step for every young person, and for parents with children in their final year in primary school, who are set to write either the end of year exams, state or National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE) or any placement exams, it signals the end of one phase of their children’s life and the beginning of another.
On a broader perspective, for Nigeria to unleash the potential of its young people and achieve socio-economic growth and stability, the provision of scalable quality and inclusive education that caters for children from all income levels, right from primary all through tertiary must be prioritised. A good education enables children to go and secure better paid jobs and add to the economic development of their families and their communities.
Bridge Nigeria is a network of nursery and primary schools in underserved communities in Lagos and Osun State, creating opportunities for children to grow. Bridge schools are places of equal opportunity and equal learning benefits for all children. The impressive results in the Nigerian national exams, now over consecutive years, provides further evidence that Bridge provides a strong education to children in Nigeria. They strengthen and build upon the preponderance of evidence showing equity of learning being gathered across Bridge Lagos community schools every year.
Bridge’s promise of delivering life changing education that transforms lives and opens the door to a successful future is evident in the lives of many Bridge International Academy graduates who are pursuing their secondary education across the country.
The story of a Bridge graduate, Franklin Adedeji was described as a fairytale. Franklin emerged as the best graduating pupil in 2019 at Bridge Nigeria, having scored 182 marks out of 200 in the NCEE. He is now on a Nigerian National Production Corporation and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (NNPC/SNEPCo) scholarship which he won after competing with pupils from across the country as a result of his common entrance score.
Franklin didn’t become a star overnight. His parent’s decision to enrol him into a supportive school and the help he received from his teachers were instrumental in this success story. His favourite teacher, Azeez Fasasi spotted the potential in Franklin and helped him overcome his shortcomings. He worked on Franklin’s confidence as he discovered Franklin was timid and was hesitant in expressing himself in public. His school, Bridge adopts a model of teaching that provides pupils with more learning time and personalized learning (one-on-one support) to improve performance.
In 2020, despite the school closure and disruption in education caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Bridge graduates like Shiji Sowemimo, Anuoluwapelumi Dawodu and Milton Nwaiwu performed well and received admission on merit into schools of their choice. Their achievement is more remarkable as it took a lot of commitment and hard work to prepare for the exams as writing the examination at a period the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the school calendar meant that the children had to study at home with support from their teachers and parents, using the Bridge @Home learning resources.
Another Bridge graduate who is also making her families and community proud is Sophia Irozuru who graduated as the third best pupil during her set. Sophia was one of the Bridge girls who took part in the Django Girls training where she learned about Python, a programming language, and came away with an understanding of coding and algorithms that will help her pursue her dream of being a computer scientist.
After the training, Bridge girls attended the annual Nigerian PyCon conference in Nigeria and Sophia was awarded a slot as a guest speaker, and shared her experience on learning how to code. She underlined the importance of programming in the modern day, and asked the audience to “imagine a world without computers?” Sophia says of the experience, “It made me feel special and I was proud to be the only girl from Maya Academy at the conference,” adding, “I am happy for the opportunity Bridge gave me.”
The future of Africa depends on the access to quality education. And Nigeria, being the most populous nation will contribute significantly to the number hence the need to build a nation with an educated and skilled workforce that is stable, prosperous, and competitive.
As children transition through the learning continuum, early education experiences set the stage for their future success. With quality education, supportive parents and highly motivated teachers trained on how to meet the academic and moral developmental needs of the people, young children are placed on sturdy pathways to educational and lifelong success.