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EDUCATION

Dangote Refinery’s Efforts At Boosting Education

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Education is the bedrock of development in any society; a fact underlined by its impact on the inhabitants. Quality education empowers people, provides them with strong analytical and problem-solving skills.

These skills are used to overcome the various challenges faced by any given society. Good education outcomes depend on a variety of factors, which includes, quality teachers who are the main actors in the teaching and learning process.

Despite government’s efforts at revive ing Nigeria’s education sector, the standard of education especially in public schools keeps declining. It is now common practice to find some students who have completed primary school without knowing how to read and write properly. This poor level of education has permeated all levels of education, from primary, secondary, to tertiary institutions.

There is no doubt that education improves the status of citizens of any society, providing the individuals with the capacity to function and contribute to economic development with inter-generational benefits that stabilise the future.

For business and community leaders, the quality of a community’s education system relates directly to the economic success of the community. School success translates into tax revenues, real estate values, and community satisfaction.

When asked what they want for their children, parents, and community members overwhelmingly agree that they want the best teachers possible in every classroom. Research confirms that the most important factor contributing to a student’s success in school is the quality of teaching.

To bridge the gap in Nigeria’s education sector and enable it contribute effectively to economic development, Dangote Refinery and Petrochemicals has taken up a proactive measure by embarking on an integrated tripartite approach to boost quality of education in the public schools around its host communities. This approach includes a scholarship programme for students, a train-the-trainers capacity building initiative for teachers and school infrastructure projects to improve school infrastructure. Dangote Oil Refinery and Petrochemicals’ in collaboration with NurtureHouse Limited, a company founded to strengthen quality education through enhanced teaching, learning and capacity development of teachers, organised a capacity building programme for secondary schools teachers and principals in Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos recently.

The training sessions were delivered using practical, hands-on approach to learning. The sessions provided participants with opportunities to collaborate as well as practice knowledge and skills acquired. At the end of each session, each participants was guided on reflective practices and action planning to encourage implementation of skills acquired when they return to their schools.

Teachers were exposed to 21st century best practices in “Cognitive Development and Impact on Learning” as well as “Effective Pedagogical Skills”. The personal action plans produced at the end of the two-day Professional Development Programme would motivate the teachers to implement their plans.

Speaking at the end of the programme, president of All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS), Mr. Fakorede Banji, who was one of the participants, commended Alhaji Dangote for the training programme.

Banji, who is also the principal, Iwerekun Community Senior High School, Lakowe, Ibeju Lekki, urged Dangote Oil Refinery and Petrochemicals to ensure continuous training programmes for the teachers & principals.

According to him, the training programme would assist the principals and teachers to be proactive in carrying out their responsibilities in order to improve the quality of education in Nigeria.  Speaking on the importance of the capacity building programme, Banji said it serves as a bridge between prospective and experienced educators to meet the new challenges of guiding students towards higher standards of learning and self-development.

Banji stated, “Capacity building for educators is very important. It has for many years been the driving force behind the changes that had occurred in the area of teaching and learning. As in any other profession, it is vital that teachers keep up to date on the most current concepts, thinking and research in their field. This, in turn, supports their ‘lifelong learning’ as educators, professionals and as individuals who are responsible for the education of the next generation. Teachers play an active and vital role in the development of productive and dedicated Nigerian citizens.”

Also speaking, the chief executive officer, NurtureHouse Limited, Mrs. Ayopeju Njideaka, said the programme was structured to help teachers gather new 21st Century skills and also for administrators to understand what their roles were.

According to her, this programme will enable the 21st Century teacher deliver quality education. We had two days for teachers and one day for educational administrators. For the administrators, we trained them on instructional leadership. Leadership of education is no longer about sitting in the office and taking attendance. It is actually about ensuring that quality teaching and learning is practiced in the classrooms.

“The training is expected to motivate teachers and principals to work positively. Once a motivated adult walks into a classroom to teach, the students will also be motivated and teachers will be renewed with even more skills to teach them better. Ultimately, learning outcome is expected to improve.”

Njideaka said the objective of the professional development session for teachers was to improve the quality of education provided to students in the secondary schools. According to her, the modules have been carefully selected to ensure immediate positive impact on teaching and learning activities in the schools.

She disclosed that provision has been made for impact monitoring, which will involve going into the classrooms. According to her, there is an agreement between us and Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical to monitor what the teachers are actually doing. From the training, a number of teachers shared what they will begin to do in their various schools and we will be monitoring them to ensure this is done.

“Our Faculty is made of a team of experienced teacher training facilitators who have a deep understanding of the Public School System and as such are able to inspire these teachers to deliver lessons differently,” she said.

Group social specialist, Group Health, Safety, Social and Environment, Dangote Industries Limited, Mrs. Adenike Olaoye, said the capacity building programme underlines the huge impact that the company has in ensuring quality education in the host communities.

She noted that the programme sponsored by Dangote Refinery and Petrochemicals has kick-started a positive ripple effect that would be felt in the host communities for years to come.

She stated, “This initiative and many more happening in the host communities are being driven by the Group HSSE department of Dangote Industries. The teacher training is part of the Education and Training component of our Community Development Plan (CDP) for our host communities. Ultimately, the CDP aims at building the capacities of local institutions within the communities so they become self-sustaining communities that can drive its own development thereby ensuring sustainable development.”

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