By Adesina Wahab
United Kingdom-trained Erelu Sherifatu Eshinlokun-Adegbesan, in her submission about the similarities and differences between the United Kingdom and Nigeria, identifies funding gap and more willingness for charity work abroad, unlike Nigeria, as the bane of Nigeria’s education sector. Excerpts:
You had a significant part of your education abroad, what can you identify as the debilitating factors against the sector in Nigeria?
When comparing the dynamics of working in the UK and Nigeria, it becomes evident that there are both similarities and differences.
While the fundamental principles of charity work and care-giving remain steadfast across borders, the operational landscapes, cultural intricacies, and encountered challenges diverge significantly.
Both contexts share the common objective of effecting positive societal change through charitable endeavours. However, the methods of achieving this goal may vary due to the unique circumstances of each region. One notable distinction lies in the realm of funding. In the UK, financial support for charitable activities is often more accessible, with numerous organizations available for potential collaboration. In contrast, securing funding in Nigeria can pose considerable challenges, as the pool of available resources is more limited. Additionally, the availability of volunteers differs between the two settings. In Nigeria, there is generally a greater willingness among individuals to volunteer their time and efforts for charitable causes. Conversely, recruiting volunteers in the UK may present occasional difficulties, requiring more proactive outreach efforts. Despite these variances, the overarching commitment to making a positive impact on society remains a unifying factor across both experiences. By recognizing and adapting to the unique dynamics of each context, organizations like ours have been able to effectively navigate challenges and maximize our contributions to the communities we serve.
Give us the details of those UK institutions you attended that shaped your perspectives.
In 1997, I embarked on a new chapter by relocating to London to pursue further studies. In the UK, I pursued a diploma in Business Studies at Lambeth College, laying the groundwork for my understanding of business principles. Building upon this foundation, I then pursued higher education at North London University, now known as London Metropolitan University, where I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in international business and marketing. Eager to delve deeper into the realm of education, I later pursued a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, specializing in Special Needs Education, at the University of East London, culminating in my qualification as a teacher.
What stirred your interest in teaching?
The shift from my initial aspiration of becoming a lawyer to pursuing a career in teaching was driven by a profound desire to directly influence the lives of children and youth. While I harboured ambitions of practising law, I recognised the immediate impact I could have as an educator in shaping young minds and fostering their development. This realisation was further solidified by the establishment of a low-cost, high-quality school in Nigeria, where I endeavoured to uphold international educational standards, drawing from my background as a UK qualified teacher. The experience of founding and managing this institution served as a catalyst for my decision to pursue a postgraduate degree in education, as I sought to deepen my understanding and effectiveness in this field.