Is an All-Through (One-Stop) School Solution to Education Necessary in Nigeria?
Consider the chaotic city life. The ever busy city roads. The occasional traffic gridlock. These can spoil anybody’s day. Including you.
The hassles of city life associated with the above scenarios have made the drop-off and pick-off of children from school by parents highly cumbersome; especially for parents with several children spread across different age groups and schools. The dangers of moving across town to drop and pick children from several schools can be imagined. For such parents, the logistics of one school looking after different age groups of learning makes a great deal of sense. Putting children in one school and environment makes life easier not just for the ease of drop-offs and pick-offs but for so much other reasons. Siblings are close to each other and can monitor one another; whether as Day or Boarding students. Some teachers work across both the primary and secondary units of the school. Thus, children at lower levels have access to specialist teaching at an early stage. In the same vein, Junior students benefit from facilities from secondary section. These facilities include Science Laboratories, Library, Sports, Music rooms. Among others.
All-Through (One-Stop) schools have advantages to all the stakeholders in the education sector – The Parents, Students and Teachers.
For the Parent, the school offers a comprehensive and consistent approach to their child’s education and environment where unparalleled pastoral care processes are understood and upheld. Following a students’ learning journey from Prenursery Class (3 Years) to senior secondary (17 years) allows the school to positively support a child; knowing them well as learners. Early interventions and tracking are enhanced by the all-through setting and transition to all areas of the school is a proven positive experience.
Another advantage to parents is the cost. The cost of managing the logistics of moving children to different schools can be high when cumulatively calculated. This is reduced when the children are registered in an All-Through school.
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For students, the benefits are huge; a direct product of the proximity of younger children to older ones. Students-to-students mentoring, the provision of excellent role models for younger students, leadership and mentoring opportunities to develop confidence, resilience and character; a unified approach to the school’s Character Development Programme, among others are all prevalent in an all through school. Opportunities are also offered for primary students to learn in specialist facilities including science labs not accessible to most stand-alone primary school students.
For Staff, there are opportunities to share best practices and cross-phase lesson observations create opportunities to learn from one another. Curricula are discussed and reviewed with skills-based learning considered in addition to knowledge and content. Working with children through their infant ages to their late teenage years also provides greater opportunities for staff development, encouraging different phases to work together to raise standards.
The advantages of an All-Through (One-Stop) school can be summarised as follows:
- The Learning Journey:
- Providing education over multiple phases allows for secure transitions in a familiar environment
- Shock transition from one level to another is dramatically reduced.
- Shared Facilities:
- Younger pupils benefit from specialist senior facilities in an All-Through school. Such facilities include Sports, ICT, Library, Science Lab, Music, etc.
- Specialist teachers have inputs in the lower years, in lessons and after school activity options.
- For parents with several children, the logistics of one school looking after different age groups of learning makes a great deal of sense.
- Seamless Curriculum and Leadership Vision
- Cohesive Planning across the school phases can create a seamless curriculum, adding value at each level. All-through schools often have a more diverse senior leadership team than a single school with specialists
- Supervisory heads of both the junior and senior units of the school ususlly pull their expertise and experience together to support the entire age group, within a single vision for the school as a whole. Continuity is key.
- Staff who prepare their children for Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (SSCE) begin to shape their students from an earlier age than at typical school. Continuity is a big advantage.
- One Big Family (Community):
- Joint Assemblies
- Joint Study Hours (Prep)
- Inter Class Competitions
- Multicultural Boarding environment – where students from different cultures and background live together as a community; creating a lively home away from home.
- Cost of logistics is highly reduced
Despite the advantages of One-Stop schools detailed above, the system also has its own disadvantages. The main disadvantage is the long stay of students over many years in one environment. This could become very boring to the learner. Such learners believe that changing of environment during the educational journey should be encouraged.
However, we look at it, the advantages of an All-Through (One-Stop) school far outweigh its disadvantages. Why won’t it? For a country such as Nigeria with a high population of Muslim faithful, this becomes even more necessary. We have situations where a man marries up to 4 wives. Sometimes, this is done progressively. By this, the man has 4 wives at any given time. As the first wife comes of age, she may be divorced and a younger wife brought in. This gives rise to a high number of children; with some men having up to 20, 30 and even 40 children. To spread so many number of children in different schools become a lot of problems logistically. The best approach will be to put the children that are within ages 3 to 17 within the same school environment for the reasons earlier detailed above. Thus, an All-Through school solution to education is necessary in Nigeria.
What do you think?