The British Council is working with Olashore School and other selected public Schools in Nigeria to improve the education sector. This was made known at an exchange programme held in Lagos recently.
The Principal of Olashore School, Mr. Derek Smith, who anchored proceedings at the event said Nigeria has a wide range of schools and there is no clear cut distinction between private and public schools as it is the case in the United Kingdom.
“There are private schools in Nigeria that are not so expensive,” he explained to the gathering consisting of principals from public schools and visitors from British Council in Nigeria and UK. “The educational system across Nigeria is quite complex. The British Council School Network has been successful and they are replicating this in other African countries.”
While speaking on the challenges facing public schools in Nigeria, Anne Teru, principal, Government College, Surulere, Lagos, said lack of electricity supply has impeded the learning process in her school.
“We have problems with electricity supply connecting with our corresponding school back in the UK. We don’t have electricity to power the computers making it difficult to aid learning with technology,” she said.
According to her, the training she received at the British Council has enabled her and her teachers improve on their approach to learning.
“We have started using creativity and imagination as part of our learning methods,” she explained. “We are now using critical thinking. We have moved from teacher centred to learner centred style of teaching. We are trying to adopt the new method because it is new to us. The new orientation now is to allow learners take charge of learning.”
In addition, she said the new method of learning is also encouraging leadership as prefects in her school now take charge of some activities. “We give prefects tasks to do,” she explained further. “There is much improvement after the training we had with British Council. Teachers love it. What the teachers now do during classes is to make impute. They are no longer at the centre of the learning.”
Mary Aworinde, a sports teacher at the Gbagada Senior Grammar School, Lagos said the style of teaching sports at schools has changed to encourage more girls to participate in football.
“26 female coaches were selected and trained about football skills,” she said. “We were sent out to train students for nine weeks. Five of the trained female coaches were sent to Zambia for training. We returned to train people in entrepreneurship.”
However, she noted that the challenge with teaching sports in school is that no time is allotted on the timetable for practical sessions. “We don’t have specific time for practical aspect of sport in the school. We have more male footballers than females. British Council has helped through the training as more female footballers are coming up.”
Barikis Usman-Oderinu, head of IELTS operations/school exams manager British Council said British Council has trained some teachers and plans are in the pipeline to train more. “We started training teachers in November last year,” she said. “We have trained 1, 500 teachers and we hope to train 8, 000 teachers by June 2018.”
The Admissions Officer, Ambassadors College, Otta, Yinka Kawonise, also reiterates “One of the main challenges is bringing the British system into the Nigerian system. It is simply too much and teachers tend not to even finish the Curriculum. The Nigerian system is just jam packed with too many subjects to teach. What we do in our school is compress it – Hence, for instance what we have to teach in 3 years we finish in 2 years. The challenge is finding which subjects are relevant. WAEC is jam packed”
Also according to the Principal of the school, “The school is 100% British Curriculum, sitting GCSEs, all will be admitted to Cambridge and end up in a British School, and a few others in the US and Canada. We hope students will come back in their late 20s to invest in Nigeria their nation”.
Similarly, the Principal of Olashore stated “We set up a School Network for the British Council trying to run British/Nigerian Curriculum. I have seen the school network has been quite successful in meeting the needs of Schools, and is now being replicated in other countries and that is something Nigerians should be quite proud of for taking the lead”.
Finally, Smith said further that British Council is doing online training for teachers. “I will like to see in the next three years the impact the training has had on teachers. The training is for teachers at all levels.”