The Covid 19 Pandemic threw the world into a wave of darkness that most countries and people are yet to recover from. The pandemic affected almost all sectors of life, most organizations closed down, most lost their jobs, and world economies took a nosedive as everything came to a grinding halt.
The education sector was one of the worst-hit sectors all over the world and up until today the educational sector has not fully recovered, as it was yet again threatened by a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Nigerian education system has been in a constant state of decline over the years, the pandemic merely worsened what was at play. The government constantly battles to raise the standard in the education sector but their efforts are countered because a lot has decayed and still decaying. As such most parents turn to the private education sector.
The private education sector has over time shown that, though the public sector is poor in terms of infrastructure and all that qualifies a good school, they are ready and capable to dance to the tune of parents when it comes to quality education for their wards.
EDUCARE NEWS set out to interview Sternfield International School, a school that though recently started is already leaving its mark in the private education sector. Sternfield international started operation fully post covid-19 pandemic, on the 31st of September, 2020. The school is located at NO 15, Adijatu Adisa Street, Agodo, Cele Egbe, Lagos.
EDUCARE NEWS CREW had an interaction with the School Administrator, Miss Akinbosede Omowunmi, a B.ed and M.ed holder in educational management. The lively and bubbly young lady spoke passionately about Sternfield and their vision which is to establish and promote quality education through discipline and practical learning.
She said, “The school started In September 31st, 2020 with the aim of building good character and excellent mind in each pupil and to create a friendly and conducive learning environment, we have a mission of establishing and promoting quality education through discipline and practical learning”.
Speaking about the challenges they have faced since they started operations, Miss Omowunmi said, having started after the covid-19 pandemic, we found it difficult to get parents to make payment for fees because of fear of another lockdown coupled with the #EndSARS protest that took place in October 2020.
“The main challenges we have had so far is the pandemic, as you well know the school started after the of lockdown, initially, parents were scared and skeptical about resumption thus parents withheld payments of fees for fear of another lockdown. Eventually, we were able to make them see reasons to make payments. Then came the #EndSARS crisis and schools had to go on another two weeks break which parents were not happy about and wanted to know if all the constant breaks won’t affect their children. Parents also asked if they get a refund if things go out of hand. In all, we thank God things became normal again”
“Again, school resumed this year again with the scare of the Corona Virus and how children would cope which took us into the process of educating our pupils and their parents on personal hygiene and how to keep safe and adhere to the federal government stipulated Covid-19 guidelines”, she said.
Omawunmi further explained that, since they recruited their teachers’ post-covid19 pandemic lockdown, they anticipated a second lockdown and had to train their teachers in line with the covid19 rules, how to cope in a time of such crisis and how to improve communication between the school, parents, and students through online schooling.
“ As you already know, we started after the first lockdown so that was when we recruited our teachers and we gave them training on how to cope even in the middle of such crisis as the virus which includes online schooling that way everyone can benefit”.
On how the Government can improve the education sector in Nigeria, the vibrant Miss Omowunmi
“We hope the government can help by raising the standards for teachers by paying teachers as at when due and to putting place all necessary protocols for the development of teachers. To ensure that economic crisis like the covid19 pandemic does not leave teachers jobless and hopeless. We plead with the government to have us at heart just like it’s done in civilized countries and help make teaching an honorable job rather than a go-to job when there is no other option. The government can also create TV and radio stations that teach basically the countries curriculum where children can learn easily from, which helps to ensure continuous learning”.
Talking about how the Curriculum is cumbersome and too tedious to handle, the school administrator, agreed that though the curriculum is packed full and cumbersome, they at Sternfield inculcate fun learning in their teachings and this makes class and homework less tedious for both parents and children, and also aids retention.
“Here at Sternfield international we teach the students the theoretical aspects and also do a lot of practical’s, before we give out assignments to the students, we would have already done the practical’s which enables the children to learn faster and easier, and we also engage in what we call a project that the children take home during weekends which is always a continuation of what we have done in school during the week, so here at Sternfield, learning is fun”.
The School Administrator further stated that for one to run a private school effectively, the school proprietor needs to be involved in the day-to-day running of the school, the supervision, reporting, and creating a comfortable atmosphere for the Parents-teacher relationship. Organize training for teachers which ensures that teachers constantly grow and be better because the quality of a school’s teacher, determines the quality of education the school gives.
“For what it’s worth the owner of a school should be there not just involved in activities but also make sure she gets reports, supervise and attend to parents personally which will create a good relationship with the school owner and parents, to run a school effectively one must have well-qualified staffs not just employ half-baked staffs because you don’t want to pay good Salaries. The school must organize training for its teachers because the quality of teachers determines the quality of education. Also, you must check on your staffs to see their productivity and output, the CEO of Sternfield taught us about mentoring to improve productivity”.
Miss Omowunmi said when asked where she sees Sternfield international school in the next ten years,
“In the next ten years we hope to be one of the best and leading schools in the world when you talk of academic excellence and instilling thorough discipline, we would exhibit good character and wonderful quality in our students far and near”.
Sternfield International School is poised to set the pace in the private education sector and raise confident children who can take on challenges. Establishing and promoting quality education through discipline and practical learning.