What Makes A School Stand Out? Find Out!!!
According to Njoku Anslem Chidi of the Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA) and Adeyemi-Aristotle Muyiwa of Olabisi Onabanjo University in their study of ‘’Disparities in Public and Private Pre-Primary and Primary Schools’ Enrollments, Classrooms and Teachers in Nigeria: Implications for Access and Educational Management’’, there were 60,189 Public and Private Pre-Primary Primary schools in Nigeria by 2005. Of this number, 50,871 were public schools, and 9,318 were privately owned. Sixteen years down the line, that by this year 2021 the number would have doubled considering the rate at which private schools spring up every year.
At the secondary level, 8,930 mixed public schools were reported to be in existence in 2016 and 9,015 schools in 2017. Similarly, the number of mixed private secondary schools totaled 12,758 in 2016 and 13,423 in 2017. With non-coeducational secondary schools, especially public schools, scattered all over the country, it means that there are many more thousands of schools not covered or included in the above statistics.
The question is: what is the total number of public schools (public and private) in Nigeria today? Though the figures are not readily available, the number can be better imagined. But one thing is clear from all these; that the above statistics can point us to the fact that there are thousands upon thousands of both primary and secondary schools in Nigeria. In every nooks and crannies of every city, town and village in this country. All ‘fishing’ in the same market. All the schools also make similar offers to the general public: Pre-primary, nursery, primary and secondary educational services. Without more. It is indeed a crowded marketplace of schools.
To excel, stand out and grow, schools must offer something more. Such schools must offer unique services that will separate them from the pack. To set themselves apart. They must increase the value of their services to their customers. To ensure that there is value to their parents and students for every naira paid.
Jofegan International School Bida, Niger State, has set the ball running by developing its unique selling points (USP); through rebranding. This includes the development of programs into its curriculum to make her unique and special. No wonder it has become a leading school in Niger State and the nation in general. What are these USPs? These include the introduction of the following activities into the school system.
- Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Program
- Music and Performance
- Cambridge School
- International Baccalaureate (IB)
- Elite Athletic Program (e.g Basketball)
- French immersion Program that sends students on educational visit to France to build global skills
- Digital Classrooms
Let us take a look at each of the above in details.
Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Program
According to the United States Department of Education, ‘’ in an ever-changing increasing complex world, it’s more important than ever to bring knowledge and skills to solve problems, make sense of information, and know-how to gather and evaluate evidence to make decisions’’. Enhancing such collaborative, communicative, problem solving, creative and critical thinking skills is at the heart of STEAM.
If our children must develop global skills and compete with their peers globally, then the education we give must go beyond having high grades in academics to including developing technology-oriented children with hands-on experience in modern-day technology. Giving them learning concepts in Robotics, Coding, ICT/Programming, Drone Technology, Digital Electronics, power generation through hydropower, wind power, solar systems and so on. This is the revolutionary way of impacting practical skills in students of today in order to prepare them for the future world they will lead.
It is to be noted also that the jobs in the STEAM fields are the fastest-growing careers in the world. As a matter of fact, they are projected to grow more in the near future. The duty of any school that wants to set itself apart is to prepare her students for this workforce change. Jofegan International Schools is at the forefront of this challenge. Setting herself apart by grooming her students to be innovators and leaders of the 21st Century and beyond.
Music and Performance
Music has an extraordinary impact on students learning. It is a vehicle for excellent memory skills. Can you guess why rhymes are used often in Nursery and Junior primary classes? Just think for a moment about the ‘’State and Capital’’ rhyme in Nursery schools. Or perhaps as an adult, we may ask: Have you ever listened to a song for the first time in a long time and still remember the lyrics? Even individuals who are not musicians experience this phenomenon. Through catchy melodies and a variety of sounds, music has a way of ‘’sticking’’ with us and is a powerful tool for learning when used appropriately.
In addition to other numerous benefits, Music Education also requires teamwork and collaboration. While playing instruments together, students develop listening skills. They must listen to others to better gauge volume levels, the implementation of dynamics and lots more. Teamwork is also required when completing simple musical tasks such as rhythmic and melodic notation. Students quickly learn to value the opinions and ideas of others and how to efficiently combine those thoughts to complete the task at hand.
At Jofegan International schools, Music is considered as a pivotal part of a child’s educational process. It is used to stimulate the brain of our students and get them excited for learning.
There is so much unemployment in Nigeria today that it takes many years to get white-collar jobs especially for those not connected. To solve this problem of unemployment, students of today must be self-empowered. Thus Entrepreneurship education helps to prepare students for the future. It helps students to become creative and innovative and ultimately job creators or employers of labour by being self-employed rather than totally dependent on a government job. That is, for those that have the passion. But our duty at Jofegan International Schools is to get our students well equipped for the future challenges of the labour market.
Apart from STEAM, Music and Entrepreneurship Education, there are many other programs a school can add to its curriculum to make them stand out from the other schools; These include Diction/Phonics, Cambridge School, International Baccalaureate (IB), Elite Athletic Program (e.g Basketball), French immersion Program that sends students on an educational visit to France to build global skills and Digital Classrooms. Some of these will be discussed in another blog post.
What other programs or activities can you think about? Let’s have your views. You may also share.