She’s the epitome of virtues, a flower and the pivotal of the human civilization. If she plays her role of uprinbing and reformation, the world will be saved as societal peace, progress are certain. Nothing can adequately describe her as she remains a school for the child. She’s the unsung heroine, the unrecognized peace laureate. Her kindness and loving kisses coupled with care ensures the children survive. All great minds traced their roots of greatness to the great home maker, the amazon. Can the child ever repay her services.? Motherhood and mothers remains humble workers a true workaholic most often misunderstood even by her hubby and society at large. O God bless all good mothers and let’s hail and take good care of them. Their feet lie our paradise. Motherhood, I salute and honour. Najimudeen SALAUDEEN. The author and co-founder, The School Podium Inc
Hi friends, it’s being quiet a long month that I have been away. I had couples of event militating against my presence such as health, work and family but thank God am back. This is to inform you that -the School podium is now on whatsap +2348125672092 and on the facebook group tagged “the School podium “.You can also email@email@example.com for submission of essays, publishable academic based news features and stories about your school etc. Together, we can add value
In the battle between the stream and the rock, the stream wins due to its persistence. So is the case between poverty and affluence. Today, the world is paralyzed. and divided into two worlds- North and South, developed and underdeveloped, western world and sub- Saharan Africa. With its evil , poverty has brought diseases and is inextricably the major factors of under development. Whilst many would want to blame it on the affluence and the developed countries; I am tempted to disagree in view of the following points.
First, the destiny of each of mankind is in their own hand. According to the Holy Qur’an , Allah has given us the solution to the title of this blog-Allah will not change the condition of a people unless they change their mindset. A cursory looks into history of great men and ancient civilization revealed that creativity and knowledge was and is still the major ingredient of success and escape route out of poverty. Society evolve gradually through uncommon courage ,resilience , determination to succeed at all cost. America and Europe of the past were not as developed, so also is the Asian tigers but now having rapid progress backed by zero tolerance level of corruption anchored by visionary leaders and willing citizens, But, alas many undeveloped economies fail to study history and take the pains to effect true change with corruption and greed the fuel of poverty.
Without mincing word, no nation on Earth is not blessed with either natural and human resources. But , the major weapon to break away from poverty is qualitative and functional education system whose curriculum must be realistic and up to date. Government of many sub-Saharan Africa countries pay lip service to education where as they send their children abroad with tax payers money. Our best brains are poorly remunerated leading to brain drain. Teachers are owed backlog of monthly salaries arrears, pensions, poor motivation and schools’ infrastructure every where, Where can development come. Sometimes one is a loss whether our leaders have got any useful lessons from their many over seas trip.
Another tools to fight poverty is a developed agriculture. No nation can develop without being able to feed itself first. It is sad that despite many agricultural research institutes all over Africa and Nigeria in particular nothing much is achieved despite arable lands and good climate. The fact remains that agriculture is dynamic but we – Africa still farms with hoes and cutlasses whilst a tiny few can hire or buy tractors to farm, Even when the government provides, poor management and distribution do not let this get into the hands of the ‘genuine farmers’ talk less of peasant farmers in the villages. Lack of access to good roads, fertilizer and up to date information on current agricultural practices. Farmers too need to form cooperatives and establish farm belts and possibly collaborate with genuine local and foreign agencies if the desired support of incentives from government is lacking.
Sometimes we are poor because through our ignorance we finance the posterity of the rich. A country with abundant arable land does not only need to produce raw materials but also transform them through citing of appropriate industries in order to boost export, strengthen local currency and create jobs.The farmers , Small and Medium scale business are the major growth of any economy. Neglecting them will only worsen poverty as crimes increase will increase as idle hands must eat and survive. Tax incentives and low ones at that matter will boost the survival of these engine of growths.
Another instrument to fight poverty is to develop power infrastructures currently the poorest in the world. Africa with abundant sunshine cannot shy away from solar and other forms of renewable energy. Collaboration and partnership with the developed world is certainly crucial here. How do you create factories, industries to transform your raw materials, school , hospital and even homes? Leadership must be functional and the electorates must vote to elect knowledge,conscious and responsible leaders. Politics, ethnics and religious bigotry must not be the major factors to electing leaders. There are lot of useful examples and lesson to copy from outside Africa. Our democracy must be developed to meet global standard if we truly want to be taken serious.
War against poverty is a maxim to be promoted by all but this is possible only in atmosphere of peace, justice and unity. A people divided can never win! The future is bright and African can not be left behind. Think thanks are needed to be heard and formed to chart a road map of the future for us.Let’s us all rise to awaken the sleeping giants in us No nation has monopoly of wealth, the earth is so vast to explore. So, I think! Thank you for reading my blog once again.
Author and Founder, The School Podium Inc
My village had no electricity during my kids day, but thank God with “a dividend of democracy” , some kind politicians have been able to attract a hybrid energy system-solar and now hydro -electric poles to us even though the village is no longer attractive to stay. There is virtually no road especially when the rain comes as few lorries that ply the road and Okada “mobile commercial motorcyclist shy away making it difficult for villagers to bring farm produce to the market and near by town, though there have been a couple of promises and rhetoric from government. Even as I typed , mobile network are barely received. I hope more rural access will be connected by telephone operators in Nigeria as I guess that they are mainly concentrated in the urban centers. Despite all this drawback,the villagers have certain ethics that the civilized. world can learn from viz. communal spirit, unity, peace and justice. Every body is a brother keepers, hardly can you hear of theft or robbery. You can leave your farm produce without anyone stealing a dime from it, and even when some are missing , this will be because they have bought your items and money sold will be found by the owner. The villagers respect the law of the leader and the traditional institution-kings and local chiefs. They hardly break the law and if any treachery is committed; it shall not go unpunished. Women are not well considered to be at par with and girl’s education does not matter much but now there are lots of improvement. Besides adultery and other vices such as stealing from others farms of today are taboo and attracts outright ban.
In a typical village as mine, villagers only source of water is the stream which are quite becoming ephemeral. I allude to the prevalent of water borne diseases because of the absence of pipe borne water, boreholes etc. There is little or no health care facilitators to educate the villagers. Indeed , there are lots of drawbacks and challenges that villagers faced but yet most of the food we eat and agro -raw materials are sourced from them. They are the true engine of developments in this part of the world! Terms of fair trade are quite against them and yet they never complained but maintain there resilience churning out foods. Each day routine is typically the same, waking up and trekking several kilometers with the hoe and cutlass .Some times with the Dane gun and hunting dogs , you could be lucky to have killed a hare etc to use for the local pounded yam, cassava , yam flour and other staple foods. Rice is not a staple food then but now a growing increase in rice plantation is quite catching with us. The farming here is never a farm settlement or a belt but rather a typical subsistence farming with a mix of some cash crops like cocoa, kola -nut and now cashew buzz.There is really poor organization of the farming biz.
At late noon or sunset, the farmers return home after tilting the farm with yam loads for the household to pound as the favourite food. Children queue up after returning from the village square where African folklore and proverbs are taught. Yes, the tortoise story was always a typical feature and this we cherished. Here, the moral lesson and need to eschew selfishness are taught.The dinner is served with Egusi soup”made from melon” and pounded yam and off the family return to bed. You could listen to transistor radio if you have one and in those days , it was quite a luxury! At dawn, the villager especially farmer and the kids take their bath and off to the farm before the sun rice sometimes on an empty stomach but most often the first thing on the farm for the boys was to pluck the fruits such as pineapple, mango before waiting for the roasted yam at break time in the village farm called “ahere or aba”. Herbal plants are regularly consumed, all green and fresh. Perhaps this explain, the longevity and absence of many chronic diseases of today despite lack of true healthcare. Now, I look back with nostalgia that the “ahere or aba” are gradually fizzling out portending a grave threat that farming is no longer attractive. I guess farmer must be motivated and means of development brought nearer to stem the rural-urban drift. Farming is not only for survival but a serious business. Farmers are known to have sponsored the education of their kids to the ivory towers.Few days ago, I visited my village and found out little or no difference in the villagers lives as only aged people are seen farming Certainly, I do not believe agriculture and villagers are treated poorly in other climes going by the level of food sufficiency acquired. We need agricultural experts and institutes, farmers to visit the villages and report their findings to government if we truly want to banish poverty in our land- Africa which is largely untapped treasure!As you read this, I hope global and good spirited individual or philanthropy can connect and assist the rural dwellers to have a meaningful lives. Schools are needed even as I speak my village have just one elementary and high school. Such cases abound and even worse.I welcome criticism on my blog as well as attention to these unheard villages wherever they are. They deserved better treatment!
Author and Founder, The School Podium Inc
I hope you have we enjoyed my last blog. Now, let’s wrap it up a bit as promised by me. Now, the tertiary years -the University !
One of the rare gift of a typical Nigerian is our resilience and love to exceed against all odds and academic achievements is always a pride here. We are a great people despite our challenges; we are always delighted to emulate and follow after footstep of any learned persons who chanced to come our away. We see such as the most civilized both in moral conducts and social well being.Hence, I see campus as a haven where decency, decorum and modest dressing abounds beside other noble traits. Anything contrary is seen as an anathema and embarrassment. My first rude shock came on my first day coming from my background as a Muslim especially as it relate to dressing mode. Needless to say, the dressing of my supposed” campus model” fell of short of expectations. In today, civilized world, this is nothing strange but normal ; but to an impressionable young man strolling into a campus for the first time it means much that I wondered what really am I going to learn here.
I must say that I got used to these perceived anomaly in my own innocence estimate as time goes on . My boarder days life where I mix with different cultural backgrounds irrespective of religious and social difference gave me the sound footing making my integration easy. Thank God, I escape the regimental life then in High school now embracing world of freedom the University life offers. You really have to be mature, focus and determined to make a success on campus. I discovered the University years need a different kind of approach to surmount .We had to hurry up to the students affair admission office and hence to our appropriate faculties of choice followed by department with your course form. Next we were all screen in certificate verification where you come across results of all kinds. Some all A’s , some B’s , some credit s and other a mix of all though the most important thing is that you have the compulsory five ‘O ‘level credits and meet the Joint Matriculation Board Cut off mark in your departments. Now, it dawn on me that your kind of results never matter at the end but the seriousness you put in your studies. Some supposedly bright results carrier were flushed out at the end of the session due to their very low GPA as a result of peer influence, campus politics and razzmatazz they dabbled into. We had some rusticated students whom we often referred to as Professional students- They talk to you about campus life and they are always idling around hot spot all through even though they are never seen in lecture halls. They spend seven years in a four year course. Woe betide you, if you find your self in their company perhaps they add a kind of wrong glamour to campus!
After payments and formal registration, we boarded school bus to all of residence where the porter checked you in. My hostel was named after Abuja, the federal capital of Nigeria. We were four in a room , all of different level and ethnic background and I learned a great deal here. The older students will advise you on your academics if you are found to be admirable personality. One of such, was Uncle Dot. His real name was Dotun Philips,; To me he caught an image of the un serious type going to lots of campus parties and get together but to my amazement he always attended lectures and come top in class. He sleep early and wake up to read at night- a daily routine of consistency second to none while his co-travellers already drunk were fast asleep. To, be honest my room was too noisy with musicals and gist of all type making me to visit my friends room but Mr Dot came with his timely advise on my reading habit. Taiwo, he said “you must fashion out your own study habit and never copy other students. Watch me as I woke up at 3 am to revise my work. You too can sleep and wake up to read at the laundry as I do”. Thus , I emulated Mr. Dot and it paid off though I had to endured some inconveniences in the room. Some occasional smoking by Mr Dot even though hall of residence rules does not permit it . However, at a point we all got used to each other and we all graduated with good grades in our various field of study. Mr. Dot studied English Language, Musa-Medicine, Toyin- Theater arts, Wale Economics and I – Physics. Today, I have been fortunate to reconnect with some of them especially Musa. I wish to meet with others soon
Author and Founder, The School Podium Inc
I do hope my last edition made an interesting reading. Let’s zoom the lens to read the part 2 of my day 1 at the High school.Welcome.
My high school year was indeed a mix of challenges as a growing up kid in an alien environment quite far from home especially, the food , the culture and language though I was a bit fortunate to be raised up in the midst of serious minded kids in my neighborhood at a local Islamic madrassah in the ancient tin mining town of Jos, the Plateau. At end of my sojourn, I excelled in my academics due to my strong resolve to do well and please my dear uncle Hussein who was my mentor.
We were offloaded to school in a swoop and off we went to a town on the shore of Benue river some seven hours drive in a dusty road. My high school was a low fees mission school and enjoyed a fair reputation of academic excellence in southern plateau then. An uncle of mind accompanied us to school being a first set student. Uncle Raheem, introduced us to the hostel portal and then the senior boy of the school on that fateful afternoon and we felt great and untouchable. Alas, we were all proved wrong immediately my uncle returned home.
My rude shock came when the bell was rung in front of the boys’ hostel as we were made to line up in different queues especially the new students of which I was one. In an instant, the senior and prefects introduced themselves one after the other- A prefect came addressed us, hey ‘fresher’ palm wine’,geisha’s. Yes, that was our name being freshers. My name is Senior ‘BOT YAM CHARAM KOI’ though though my real name was Abdul Aziz , the senior thundered and I felt a shiver run down my spine. All of you freshers , kneel down on the gravel piles in front of the hostel. This , we did an hour after which they all returned to ‘baptized” us in a ceremony of ‘tail cutting’. We were told be disciplined and be obedient to our seniors no matter what class he belongs. A senior is always a senior and is always right! You are to fetch water for your seniors every morning , wash his clothes and his plates in addition to other errands such as fetching his food at the kitchen.
After all the hostels rule were read to us, we were asked to crawl on our kneels to an isolated room called the’ locust” – a kind of an hostel cell were erring students were punished from night till down. You really have your self to blame if you stay an hour in the ‘locust” as you will be greeted with hordes of mosquitoes. Sometimes , you were made to be a human fan to blow on your seniors who will often be inside a mosquito net bed. I must say, the first day was like a prison and I was kept wondering why we were greeted with such harsh treatment despite that my uncle brought us. You really need to be spartan like to attend boarding school in those days. My wondering thought was jolted, when the bell was wrong for launch and there after an afternoon siesta bell. Next comes, the forenoon prayer for the Muslim student where a senior Waheed by name , kind but disciplined student from Lagos drilled us on the need to be prayerful and to always wake up 5 am when the call to prayer was made.
The evening prep after games and dinner came too fast and off we slept, only to be awaken by loud bang of our beds- a sign to get up for dawn prayer and there after morning portion where the labour prefects and others supervised us . You need to put up your local kerosene lantern whenever there was no electricity. Immediately after, we jostled to fetch water from the school well to give our seniors for their bath after which we returned for about a mile to get ours, wash and then go to the dinning. I must add, that this kind of life was new to me as all my education was not outside my town.It was regimental; the good thing however were the academics as we were all well taught by expatriate teachers mainly Indo-Pak teachers and few Ghanaian and Nigerians. My school was well equipped and academics was the best especially in the sciences. I do not like to say this, that with the exodus of these foreign teachers and decay infrastructure, my school was now a shadow of its former self. I guess that the old students like me needs to really pay back and improve the decayed infrastructure of the school. Whatever foundations we had was built in us. I sincerely wish that all old students get to read my blog and add values to their Alma mater.
On the teaching staff, there were quite many exemplar and I remain eternally grateful for their doses of daily assignment and eternal vigilance at our hostels and prep classes buy yet, the seniors still have their ways of bullying us without the knowledge of the school authority. A minute of laxity and lateness was never tolerated as instant punishment was awarded some quite severe, but woe betide you if you complained to the management. Glancing back at such memory evokes mix feeling and poor understanding of learning methodologies which times has quite overtaken. Spare the rod , spoil the child maxim do not necessarily add values but sometimes they do with moderation if need be especially in parts of Africa where they still exist. I hope you enjoyed reading my piece, stay tuned till part 3. Thank you for following my blog. I hope I can get better with your likes and comments
Author and Founder, The school Podium ,Inc
My first day at school differs but all share similarities. The anxiety, the desire and enthusiasm almost gave way to disappointment if not for divine providence. This I guess must be because ,the school environment were not conducive. Education was not really fun but my determination,the intrinsic motivation and guts saved the day. Perhaps , the best experience I had was at the Elementary school , followed by the university years and then the High school. Kindly read my story and I hope you can share yours too.
As a young boy , I was enthralled by the sparkling khaki uniform of students about entering school for the new session arose my curiosity prompting to ask my mum , what are all these pupils moving in a particular directions doing. She promptly replied , ‘they are going to school’. School ? what the hell are they doing I asked in order to satisfy my curiosity and fantasy as a child of 6 years. She told me they learn books brought by the Oyinbo or white men. In an instant, I promised to go to school but I had no idea , that there is need for a uniform , writing materials and inability to meet the admission criteria where you put your hand to the head as a form of measure etc but my mum .a widow not wanting to discourage her last son , gave me a kaftan, a wooden slate and a feeding bottle stuff with Garri- local dried cassava pellet and sugar stuff in it. Off I went. We were made to queue up in many lines by an elderly teacher fondly called Baba Kamoru who lives adjacent to my father’s compound in the village. We were made to recite the national ancient anthem and multiplication tables as routine every blessed day spanning a full first term. I must say, he was my first teacher and motivator . It is such a shame that I don’t know his real name as is typical in most public schools in this part of the world. No teacher was without a nick-name. We were more comfortable with that and thus do not border to know their real or surnames.
In the typical Nigerian village, there was no electricity , pipe borne water and any other social amenities and my village was no exception; even as I write the roads are almost impassable especially during the rain seasons but yet we had fun in our own way such as wrestling with my mates, hunting , weaving baskets and listening to tales by moon light from elders and siblings at nite. We are agrarian community fully into cassava and cash crop farming and just had the privilege of free education brought to us in 1955 by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo of the then Western region in Nigeria. We had to trek on foot for several miles and often bare footed. My only joy was meeting my peers together at school and idling away play in the school field. I had no idea that you must read to pass examination. In my innocence, I just don’t see the need for reading and there were no formal or other counsellor as such to guide. You are really on your own, but we were not caned the first week. My mum naturally thought that I would naturally withdraw from the school but alas she and my siblings were put wrong. I guess a kind of divine force was pulling me to school as school then was filled with grown up and bullies. My teachers then make quiet an impression on us with their well starched khaki short and their impeccable English- they were role models and next to God in our eyes as these teachers always come from distant town through dirty unwind road to our desolate village . They must have been subjected to lots of hardships but the villagers appreciated and reward them with food stuff from farms and I guess there were quite world of difference now. Perhaps, our cultural essence and respect is being lost due to modernization. Watch out for the later series in my next blog. Happy reading.
Author and Founder, The School Podium Inc
The desire to progress in one way or another is embedded to a lesser or greater extent in human nature. Distinctive characteristics which differentiate the upper class from the lower class is always a function of how each of the classes use the opportunity that comes his way. In academia, politics or in the business world , success does not come cheap but based on certain precept and tested principles. I hereby invite you to peruse those critical ingredients of success garnered from the experiences of successful men in the ages past and now.
These ingredients are as follows:
DESIRE-This is the starting point and the ultimate of all achievements.Without it , nothing worthwhile can be achieved. Remember that to carry out a particular desire, there must be a particular step to follow:
- Fix in your mind the particular desire.
- Establish a definite date when you intend to possess your desire.
- Create a definite path for carrying out your desire, and begin at once whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.
FAITH- Faith is the head chemist of the mind. when faith is blended with the vibration of thought,the subconscious mind instantly picks up the vibration, translate it into its spiritual equivalent, and transmits it to definite intelligence, as in the case of prayer. Faith is the starting point of all accumulation of success and it is also the basis of all “miracles” and all mysteries which cannot be analyzed by the rules of science. Faith is the only antidote for failure because faith is the element, the “chemical” which when mixed with prayer gives one direct communication with infinite intelligence.
SPECIALIZED KNOWLEDGE-This is a personal experience of observations. We have general knowledge, no matter how great in quantity this may be, it is of but a little use in the accumulation of success. Knowledge will not attract money nor lead to power unless it is organized and intelligently directed, through practical plans of action, to the definite end of accumulating success. Knowledge is only potential power and it becomes power only when , and if it is organized into definite plans of action and directed to a definite end. Knowledge can be purchased by someone’s experience and education and also by special training courses and of course through the cooperation of others. I welcome your comments and criticism. Stay tuned to read the part 2.
Founder, The School Podium Inc
There are basically SQ3R methods known as the most proven way to sharpen study skills. These are the SURVEY, QUESTION, READ, RECITE AND REVIEW. I trust it will do you lots of good if you take time out to commit them to memory.
SURVEY-Get the best overall picture of what you’re going to study BEFORE you study any detail. It’s like looking at a road map before going on a trip. If you don’t know the territory, studying a map is the best way to begin.
QUESTION-Ask questions for learning. The important things to learn are usually answers to questions. Questions should lead to emphasis on the what, why, how, when, who and where of study content. Ask yourself questions as you read or study. As you answer them , you will help to make sense of the material and remember it more easily because the process will make an impression on you. Those things that make impressions are more meaningful, and therefore more easily remembered. Don’t be afraid to write your questions in the margins of textbooks, on lecture notes, or wherever it makes sense.
READ–Reading is not running your eyes over a textbook. When you read , read actively. Read to answer questions you have asked yourself or question the instructor or author has asked. Always be alert to bold or italicized print. The authors intend that this material receive special emphasis. Also, when you read, be sure to read everything including tables, graphs and illustrations. Often times tables, graphs and illustrations can convey an idea more powerfully than written text.
RECITE-When you recite, you stop reading periodically to recall what you have read. Try to recall main headings, important ideas of concepts presented in bold or italicized type, and what graphs charts or illustrations indicate. Try to develop an overall concept of what you have read in your own words and thoughts. Try to connect things you have just read to things you already know. When you do this periodically, the chances are you will remember much more and be able to recall material for papers, essays and objective tests.
REVIEW-A review is a survey of what you have covered. It is a review of what you are supposed to accomplish, not what you are going to do. Rereading is an important part of the review process. Reread with the idea that you are measuring what you have gained from the process. During review, it’s a good time to over notes you have taken to help clarify points you may have missed or don’t understand. The best time to review is when you have just finished studying something. Don’t wait until just before an examination to begin the review process. Before an examination, do a final review. If you manage your time, the final review can be thought of as a “fine-tuning” of your knowledge of the material. Thousands of high school and college students have followed the SQ3R steps to achieve higher grades with less stress.
READING– A primary means by which you acquire information is through reading. In college or university, you’re expected to do more than reading in high school. Don’t assume just because you’ve “read” the assignments that is the end of it. In studying, you may read the same assignment three or four times, each time with a different purpose. You must know before you begin reading what your purpose is, and read accordingly.
There are varied path and decisions to be made when children are pursuing academic questions. Some raised quite a lot of questions bothering on the extremes and middle path. What is best sometimes is a personal decision , cultural differences and religious values. However, some believe that getting the child to the end point is all that matters these days but don’t you think there are grey areas which need to be addressed and which has create dichotomy in education achievement of the children educations.
Decisions on how to pursue academic excellence can be grouped into two types.
Parent-driven focus on tutoring , advanced classes and testing drills. The other approach is the broader choices and a more relaxed approach. These has sparked national debates in the US. Thanks to the book” Battle Hymn of the Tiger mother” by Yale Law professor Amy Chua. In Chua’ works, she uncover and advocates an Authoritarian style that pushes kids through discipline, diligence and relentless drilling with little time for fun-no sleep overs, play debates or sports (i.e the Chinese parenting).
However , in the West, parents does not push Children hard enough. They are concerned with self esteem. Yet they achieved academic excellence taking different path.what other factors could be responsible. Perhaps technology has had much impact to drive this approach.
Taking Africa especially Nigeria, the hybrid approach seems to be adopted in my opinion but the parent -driven focus holds the sway especially in the Pre-middle school years where grades determine college admission to the high school. Parents constantly monitor their children school assignment and home works . As a result of recession and economic challenges , work pressure has gradually taken the toll with less supervision of the child’s work . In those days of my growing up as kids, discipline standard was quite high and caning the child was the norm but now less emphasis on this and other authoritarian style is in place. This radical shift taking place as a result of globalization , even though good should not be totally wiped out. This is so because children need to be guided and cannot be equated to adult. This may be important in the pre-teen and middle school years but as the children grow older , more talks and counseling roles may be more important because their self esteem must be raised with their increasing cognitive domain.I welcome constructive criticism on how and what decision is made in different path of the world in order to provide informed opinion and data to academic planners because the kind of approach we give the child to day is critical to what they become tomorrow.