STERNFIELD INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL’s CEO, NICHAEL OLUWASEGUN, FULFILLING GOD’s PURPOSE IN NIGERIA EDUCATION SYSTEM
All organizations require constant change and innovation for improvement. Educational changes are often perceived as being so problematic, that is, it is not the nature of the change itself but the nature of the knowledge, skills and attitudes of those involved and the way that these are expressed in action. Educational reforms involve many aspects like human resources, teaching method, finance and lost potential.
Change and innovation is a hard and long-term process. Any progress in history is the result of change and innovation.
The founder/ CEO of STERNFIELD INTERNATIONAL Schools, Michael Ogun Oluwasegun, is a man whose desire is not only to effect change, but to also improve the way school owners, stakeholders, and the government operate education system in Nigeria.
Oluwasegun, trained as a Mechanical Engineer, while growing up never had plans to be an educationist or even to establish a school, but in a divine twist of event he got the mandate from GOD to delve into the educational system, contribute to the growth and make a difference.
The well-articulated educationist, explains how it all started, and what gave rise to the birth of STERNFIELD.
“What gave birth to STERNFIELD is more like a mandate because by profession I was trained as a mechanical Engineer, when I started on with life all I wanted to do is to be a business man I make a lot of money. To establish a school and to be and educationist was not my top priority while growing up in life, but along the line as we grow to the level where we get to understand the subject of purpose, we understand that the assignment of life itself is not all about living, but also about making a difference.
Myself and my wife, Mrs. Precious Ogun Michael, who is a lawyer got the mandate from God one of the little ways we can contribute to the growth of Nigeria and Africa at large is to answer the call to make a difference in the education system in Nigeria. We analyse the challenges we are facing in Nigeria it comes down to three major things that we need to work on if we want our country to be an enviable place in the globe, we have to work on three institutions, which are the Family the Religion institution, and the Education.
Education is pivotal to the remaining two, because what actually brought about education is preservation of values, our forefathers were not formally educated, but they had core values that they needed to pass to the next generation, because definitely as human being we are bound to ‘expire’ by expiration I mean we die. There are somethings we are privilege to understand, directly or indirectly and we feel these things are wort while, we want the next generation that will come after us after us to continue with these good things. We don’t want it to die. We label all these things as valuable things, we don’t want it to die, so we pass it to next generation either by direct instructions, by gesticulation or by code. These are the things that come together to form what we refer to as education.
The idea of Sternfield came as a mandate, I sat down with my wife to analyse if this is what we are really ready for. Along the line we got a conviction, we had a lot of schools in Nigeria, yet our education system is struggling which means that the objective of setting up a school by individuals differs from one place to another, some people we say school business is very lucrative, that is why some schools will set up their systems and help children write examination, different forms of exam malpractice, they would give reason why they do that is to get population, if our children can pass WASSCE and they are doing well, people will come, they would know we are a good school.
But before we started Stern field we defined our identity, what we want to be known for, that is why we said the motto of the school will ‘Building Excellence and Godly Character’ we know why we are here, if you know your objective, you go straight for it and you make your mark, so why STERNFIELD INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL was founded is because we want to put in every child the Spirit and Habit of Excellence. Excellence is a spirit, it is also habit, it is a Spirit because God can give you the inspiration to be excellent even though you are not formally educated, you just do your own thing in a unique way, it is habit because you can learn. We are working with excellence and Godly character, Godly character because education in itself is not complete if the person you are educating does not have values for building, education is to help you build your society, and you can build if you don’t have a, sense of creativity, and it is only God who creates, the devil does not create, he destroys. Its one thing to educate a person and make him a ‘genius’, it’s another thing for the person to become to be a good ‘genius’ not evil geniuses.
Education is a lifetime assignment, school will remain till eternity, until human being phases out from this earth. We feel it’s a major thing to pass to the next generation, it’s a value we want the next generation to hold dearly and with pride, we are building excellence and Godly character in every child, in a nutshell, we tell parents to bring their child to STERNFIELD so we would return a genius with Godly character to them.”
The smart speaking Oluwasegun, who can also be described as an idea conceptualizer, hinted that he is in the education system to improve and better the way we have known education to be in Nigeria.
“Nigeria is so blessed because we live in the midst of abundance, but we don’t really see it, the first thing that STERNFIELD is set out to do is to make each person understand our identity, there are three major questions every individual will answer in a life time, and once you are able to proffer answers to those questions and you live by them, there is nothing that would stop you from becoming a star. The first thing is a question of identity of who you are, and then the question of purpose, and destiny.
We want parent to understand that every child brought to us are born genius, by virtue of your ‘wiring’ every human being is endowed with quality brain, the education system we met on ground is focused too must on one aspect of the domain of learning. They are three established domains of learning, the first one is the Psychomotive, cognitive and affective domain of learning.
The cognitive domain is the one that looks at whether you can remember what you have been thought in the class tomorrow, if the student is able to do that, we say he/ she is brilliant.
The second one is psychologies, what can you do with your hand, for instance, I have thought you this, can you build a boat? can you design a computer and deliver with your hand? That is the Psychomotive, what you do with your hand.
The last one is affective, how does these things you have learnt affect your emotion, and how do you transfer the emotion to the next person beside you, and use it to build a better world, unfortunately in this part of the world we focus a lot of attention and energy on the cognitive, that is why if a child cannot define Home Economics for instance, we call that child a dullard, but in the future that same child would go ahead to be the best music artist, and he would now go back to tell the society that education is nonsense, then most of the generation would say they don’t want to go to school
At STERNFIELD we focus on these three, and then we add the fourth to it which is socializing. Because no matter what have if you don’t socialize you cannot learn from other people, philosophers we say we are social animals because there are some treasures that you carry within you that I do not possess. When we socialize, I will learn part of what you have, you learn part of what I have, then our world indeed can become better which would lead to what we call division of labour. There will be love which is the original plan of God to humanity.”
As STERNFIELD closes into her first anniversary, the educational ideologist, narrated some challenges encountered in the course of operation, and strategist put in place to cushion the effect.
“We have challenges and we are still having challenges, the first challenge we had when we started was the normal challenge every start up will experience, some people came with education consultant to drill us, to know if we really know what we are doing or not, we should know that when you are sent for an assignment, the first thing you do is to prepared, don’t rush to the field. It took me 12 years of research in the education system, in the course of those 12 years, we had to learn one or two things, I had to take up a training, I did a Post Graduate Diploma in education, so that I really understand what it really takes to set up a school. When the consultants started throwing questions at us, to the glory of God we met their expectations, as we stand today, we are not up to a year, but the facility we have today is over filled that we have to pull out and look for another vessel that we trust God to fill for us. The response they got from us shows that we really know why we are here, and what we want to do with every child.
I remember when one of the consultants who came to test us and ask us questions, when I took him to our ICT and e-learning laboratory, the consultant saw our lap tops and was surprise we are using lap top for children. But I explain that lap top is the future, imaging a child who can operate lap top from nursery 2, by the time the child gets to primary 5, the lap top is archaic to him, so we want them to see lap top as ‘old school’ so that we can open door for creativity, something that is far better than this, that is what make the person to be convinced that we know what we are doing.
Another challenge we have is in the area of staffing, it’s one thing to be a carrier of vision, its another thing to have those who are working with you carry the same passion the way you want it done and that is where Human Capital management comes in for every entrepreneur, definitely you have to employ people because you can’t run everything by yourself, so when you bring them you trained, you feel you have trained and re-trained, but in the course of execution you still noticed some flaws, as an entrepreneur, you have to ensure that you are dynamic in your execution strategist.
What we do at STERNFIELD is after training and re-training our staffs, we started a mentoring programmes, we at the management team started an immediate mentoring programme where we identify those who are still struggling, because we want every staff who is privilege to work with us to become better than what he/ she is before joining us, those are the major challenges we face but by God’s grace we have been able to overcome to a considerable level.”
The trained engineer, who is filled with ideas, and effective in conceptualizing them, gave an insight on the framework put in place to ensure teachers at STERN FIELD impart effectively on pupils.
“A considerable level of our pupils assimilates fast because our learning is practical based. In the course of my research into the education system I discovered that nobody is a dullard, the key to achieving success in the life of every child is to ensure you put forward is called over learning. Whatever you learn, un-learn re-learn will stick with you, and one way you can achieve that is through practice. At STERN FIELD we do students engagement which is very key, not just the teachers doing all the talking.
We also put our pupils on the field, we allow them to do it themselves, we have what we called DIY- Do It Yourself, our teachers are coaches.
I am also a teacher, I teach them to teach, while teaching I teach them how to teach, I would not teach you without using illustration, I will tell you to create ten different illustration from my own illustration, if you happen to forget two or three, you will still have five or more that you can make use of in your class rooms.”
The COVID-19 virus came with a new normal, and our social life has been restricted, Oluwasegun, the STERN FIELD visionary, gave a detailed analyses on how the school still manage to promote socialization/ extra curriculum activities, while adhering strictly to all COVID-19 Protocols to ensure safety of the children
“In the aspect of socializing, we have set somethings in motion, unfortunately this is the COVID era, we have strict rules guarding against children mixing without strict supervision and control. One of the things we have put in place to encourage socialization is the excursion (field trip), the tournament, the inter-school tournament, the intra and inter school debate, but because of the COVID-19 restrain we have to be careful and comply with all the directives given by government and all the health bodies that are in charge of health and safety of the children.
But here at STERN FIELD, that is here in the school, we still try to promote such interactions amongst our children, because we are certain that within this small community the children are okay in health wise, we have tested them we can break them into groups. We have some few games we put together to form a tournament amongst our own children in house, we have chess, scrabble, public speaking, that is debating, so those three are currently running.
We have Basket ball outside the school, we focused more on the female Basket ball team because they are not common, we are trying to do something different so that others can learn. We are almost completing their jerseys, we want them to have a unique jersey so we can showcase them on our social media handles for the world to see, maybe one or two schools would borrow the idea and spread the light.
We are not competing, competition is the least of strategies in global business, great businesses don’t compete, they lead and show others how to do things right. True leaders don’t compete, they raise other leaders, that is what STERN FIELD is doing to schools around, we show them how to run a proper school, and run it in a way that people can see evidence result.
We have about four of our pupils that came to join us from abroad, one from Canada, two from U.S, and one from U.K, not white, they are Nigerians, they joined us because of our system, setting and facilities.”
When asked where he sees STERNFIELD in the future, Oluwasegun, in a cool, calm, but calculated manner unveiled the vision, and what he dreams to achieve with the school in future.
“Our vision is to be a leading education institution, building excellence and character in minds and places, with a mission, to establish and promote quality education through discipline and practical learning, but beyond that I see STERN FIELD as a school that well known schools around the world, the first world country will want to come and learn, we see STERNFIELD pupils making waves in the economy, in science and technology, it is the dream, that is why we have STERNFIELD in the world so that we can set a pace globally for the entire world to see and learn how education can be run differently. We want to challenge the ordinary, we want to transform the system, we want to steer the ‘waters’ so that treasures can come to the surface and humanity can be blessed.”
The curiorsity of the questions; what brought about the name STERNFIELD? Why the name STERNFIELD? What is the motivation behind the name STERNMFIELD? Was all put to rest as Oluwasegun, an amiable and informed educationist, gave answers to these burden questions.
“The name STERNFIELD came from a deep thought, I ask myself what is the one major thing that would set a school aside? what is one major thing a parent will want to see in a child that would make them know this child is well educated? It is discipline, and another word for discipline is STERN, so I said can we have a field where there is discipline? So, if you want your child to be well disciplined, well trained, well mannered, take him/ her to STERNFIELD.
It’s a combination of the word STERN (Discipline) Field, community environment where we put discipline first, that is why our core value the number one thing we have is discipline followed by character, quality, and excellence.
The word STERNFIELD is coined out from two words, STERN to mean discipline and FIELD which is community environment excellence.”
STERNFIELD INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL was Founded in 2020, with some of the most visionary, innovative, seasoned, highly professional, and skillful educators you will find anywhere.
The school offer an extensive curriculum and high quality, comprehensive extra-curriculum programmes for every child with a strong motive of building excellence and Godly character.