Arete Copious, a leading financial consulting firm in alliance with Africa House London has held a one-day Education Conference with the theme “The Nigerian Child, The Genius” in Abuja yesterday.
The conference which had United Kingdom Member of Parliament, MP Helen Grant; Prof Chris Imafidon, Alero Ayida Otodo and other renowned educators, education consultants as well as other insightful speakers from other renowned
organizations was geared toward providing invaluable insights and offering alliance opportunities to policy makers, our school owners, teachers and parents and management of orphanages towards revamping the education sector and ultimately encourage strong investment in human capital development.
The convener, Catherine Enaohwo, in her welcome address, stated that “the essence of bringing together these great Nigerians to address the participants, educators, parents and other young Nigerians at this conference is to come to a united front on how we can to harness the genius in not only our children but that of average Nigerian child on the street, using education as a major tool.
“As a financial expert and Education Advocate, I believe there is a genius in every child and this can only be harnessed if Nigeria as a country plays her role of providing enabling environment for these children to manifest the geniuses in them, this would also help us in raising giants that would bring about rapid diversification of economy through human capital development”.
Helen Grant, who was the first black woman to be elected as a Conservative MP, in her speech, she emphasised on the tremendous opportunities that are abound in both Nigeria and the UK, that if the two nations could considerably improve their partnerships there would be ease of doing business, pointing at age long relationship between two countries as major diplomatic factor.
“What I actually see are tremendous opportunities in both Nigeria and the UK. Both countries have a long, long history together also our countries are part of commonwealth family. Our language is another important tool for doing business. However, this can only be possible through greater engagements for better understanding which I believe would equally engender ease of doing business and enhance business confidence between our countries and further make Nigeria more attractive for other foreign investors”, said Grant.
She added that the United Kingdom has made it a priority to fight and defeat the spirit of human trafficking, and she encouraged the CSOs and NGOs in Nigeria not to relent in rooting out this horrible scourge.
Another Keynote Speaker, Alero Ayida Otodo, a renowned educationist delivered an insightful lecture titled “Rooted in reality,
anchored in hope!” In her paper, she defined a genius as an exceptionally intelligent person, particularly in a field of endeavour.
Otodo said there has been a dysfunctional educational system in the country which means there is a large number of citizens/people who have been denied or not been able to tap into their intellectual and creative abilities.
“Despite the challenges, there are still best of creative energies oozing out of Nigeria and if we all arose and join forces, Nigeria will be rescued out of the woods. Although this may not happen in my generation but I believe next generation will, if we do it right because we may lose a generation of geniuses if we don’t act now” she said.
She mentioned lack of quality teachers as one of the major challenges in the education sector.
“A teacher who cannot read or write properly cannot raise a genius”, she affirmed.
In her recommendations, Ayida said adoption of imaginal teachers, which she likened to the metamorphosis of butterfly by using the imaginal cells for the gradual transformation from caterpillar to full winged butterfly, would go a long way in solving the challenges of half-baked teachers in education sector.
Professor Chris Imafidon, a renowned UK based education consultant highlighted several challenges confronting an average Nigerian Child. He blamed low standard of education and low literacy level in the country on the lack of political will by those in power. He termed it “a self preservation system”.
“Each time I discuss with the politicians I hear them say we only want fifty per cent of the children in the state to be educated, and I would ask them if they rather prefer their own children not to be in school, and the answer I usually got was No!, he said.
Imafidon, who is the father of five genius children who have all broken records of academic excellence in the UK said though all fingers may not be equaled but all fingers are equally function.
“Each finger does unique task differently from one another therefore, every Nigerian child deserves access to quality education, and every Nigerian child must be given opportunity to attend a University even with the resources being controlled by the state”, he affirmed.
Mr Agara, a Clinical Psychologist of Reconnect Health Development Initiative, who was amongst the guest speakers at the
event spoke extensively on how early childhood experiences and trainings play important role in what a child becomes later in life and how it could also have a lifetime impacts on a child. He advised that Delay gratification method should be applied by most parents so as to curb excesses and unruly tendencies at the early childhood stage.
“As parents, to raise a genius, you must instil some sense of discipline in your children from infancy. You don’t give your child food, gift or money whenever he or she cries or asks for it, sometimes you must adopt delay gratification, so you don’t spoil them”, he said.
Stella Adagiri, Director, Portsbridge Educational Services and a guest participant at the conference, spoke from the educator point of view that every child has got something within them that can make a difference and that educators should understand this uniqueness in every child so as not to hinder them from expressing these uniqueness in schools.
“Educators need to understand that every child is unique and that it is their duty to help these children hone these endowments either through vocational engagements or extra-curricular activities”, she stated.