The primary school education is the bedrock of a country’s future generation, education at this level underpins all the vocational and technical skills acquired in technical colleges, polytechnics and universities, but if the government neglect on primary education continues unabated, then the consequences will be grievous.
When we juxtapose the current investment and the population of primary school children in the country, it is evident to note that, it is grossly inadequate, and as a nation, it is imperative to start building the infrastructures, increase supply of qualified teachers with basic skills in technology.
In our bid to investigate report and develop the educational sector, EDUCARE NEWS periscope caught up with Daniel Taiwo, Chief Learning officer of City Top Schools, who did a microscopic analysis of primary education in Nigeria and how City Top hopes to create an evolution that will alter the status quo in the system.
Poor standard, basic facilities, poor teaching technique are some of the bane of primary education in Nigeria, and Mr Taiwo, who is also an administrator declared that these problems are already been corrected at City Top.
“city top top is a primary school, but every class in elementary has television, we have smart board, our teaching is not just abstract, we try as much as possible to make it concrete, and more importantly, the crowd size is small, such that we can have a sizeable number we can grow with the kids. We have a mini science lab where the student go to carry out experiment, it is rare to find at this level of any primary school in Nigeria to have a mini lab, we really want to have our kids to compete with other students in grade A schools, we run a British curriculum that has programme like coding, so we teach our children how to code, at elementary level our children can code
City Top is not a conventional school, as a matter of fact, we are not running it as a school, we are running it as a company, what that means is that, standard expected in banking industry, corporate environment is what we have inculcated in our school to have the fill of corporate environment.”
A research in 2003 shows the shortage of primary school teachers in Nigeria was acute- in excess of 338,000, and even the available ones are not qualified or lacks quality, another survey revealed that the Nigerian mathematics teachers could not achieve 80 percent on the tests they assigned their own pupils in their classrooms, the same poor teacher quality is evident in the English language.
But educational enthusiast, Mr. Taiwo, disclosed to our reporters that City Top schools do not compromise standard and structure.
“Most of our teachers are degree holders, NCE degree holders, we don’t have any secondary school holder as a teacher, our teachers are graduate, those with degrees and those with NCE, and in fact we don’t have any ND holder as a teacher.
The success and achievement we have over this short time, has also come from the input of our staffs, you can’t have a creative organization without creative people, and the produce you are seeing is as a result of creative people.
Our school was one of the first that started online when schools were shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, schools exams were going on, we started exams with practical’s, we do coding, it was only practical’s we did when we were ask to shut down by the government”
With all the basic infrastructure/ facilities structures, quality and qualified teachers, and advance teaching technique at City Top schools, Where does the vision/ dream of the school lies? The chief learning officer is optimistic for the future.
“our vision is to be among the Fortune 500 companies, that is where we see ourselves, we want to be with the Microsoft of this world, Apple, and Google, because of funding issues, where people want to see your idea before they support, we couldn’t have started anywhere than a place like Alimosho, we are running here as a template for the future place where we want to be.”
In a short spate of operating, Mr Taiwo spoke glowingly on how City Top had developed the talent of its pupils in academic and sports.
“in our schools we have made coding a subject, one of the goal is to grow every elementary student in this school to be a young programmer, our primary 6 students are using html to build website using coding.
In the last 4 years, the school had distinct itself in the aspect of coding, our teaching is individual based, what that means is that as a teacher, we understand the level a child is, and we take them up from there.
not everyone is cut out for books, but as kids they need to have little knowledge of everything, we are training their interest and passion towards what they want in life, we are not just looking at two types of intelligence, when you are not good in mathematics and English, it is assume you are dull, meanwhile, those children not doing well in mathematics and English, when they do sports they do well outside the classroom, learning is not limited in the classroom, it is also what goes out, we have made our parent to know that, and we are training our children that way.”
Sports is an integral part in the curriculum of City Top schools, the astute administrator alluded to this.
“we had our mini inter house sports just in February, that shows sports is not what we joke with, and we have volleyball court, we are watching the talents, the areas our kids are showing their strength,, we teach everybody, but, we also know that everybody can’t be excellent in mass, we take the place of sports very seriously, in fact we have a company that come to leverage in our sporting activities, they come here every week with different sporting kits, they engage our kids in sporting activities and give them report card that check their strength and stamina level.”
The school has also won honors in some of the competition it participated in, Taiwo, gave us an insight on this.
“we went for the STEN competition, in the SUCCESS competition, last two years our school came third, the next one we came first despite contesting with students from secondary schools, we won the PRESTIGE award through voting two times, in 217 and 2019.”
Like every other schools, be it primary or secondary, or even higher institutions, City Top schools is faced with its own challenges, a seemingly disappointed Deji lamented on this.
“for me it is policy, policy regulations, for instance, Lagos state schools have not done their second term exams, they will be using their calendar to run with private schools that have gone ahead, now we have provisions to resume online, running our schools online, getting our schools fees, but they said we should not do it, we are not gathering physically, we have provision for the online, we have a platform where we can engage our students, and we have over 85 percent participants, so what are we talking about? But government said we should stop, these are examples of areas that are challenging.”
However, the indefectible administrator said CITY Top is here to set the pace and also create an evolution in primary education, parents who enrolled their children into the school should expect nothing but the best.
“we have been setting the pace since we started, that I can tell you with confidence, many schools here, even in Lagos and Nigeria, we are like idea generation bank, we have started setting the pace for people, schools come to understudy us, many schools come here to learn.
If your child come to our primary school, you should expect your child to become a computer guru, one of the skills any child should get is to be tech savvy, so technology is the order of the day, in City Top schools for instance, we have internet facilities, when we flag up our secondary school, our secondary school students are going to be engaging with the world they will have interaction with other people in other part of the world, we are setting up a visual classroom, a bigger version of zoom, the plan is that, in the next one or two years, we are going to be having children across the globe, our teachers will be running shift, what this means is that, we are going to be having night lectures, because in the U.S, when we are sleeping, they are awake, so we are getting that studio ready, we teach people wherever they are in the world, we engage with them, with secondary school, we can experiment a lot with them because they are matured.” he concluded.
With City Top schools at the forefront of primary school education evolution, it is expected that other public/ private primary schools still lagging in this regard will follow suit.