Mrs Yinka Ogunde is a successful entrepreneur who has for years been committed to the improvement of the state of the Education sector in Nigeria, especially in Lagos, where she is based. And she has done a lot in that sector with her company, Edumark, which organises several events to promote various aspects of the Education sector.
Only last week, she hosted one of her major projects. It was the 10th edition of her Total School Support Seminar/Exhibition (TOSSE) which took place in Lagos at Ten Degrees Event Centre, Oregun, Lagos. It was yet another time for those in the Education sector to learn, connect and grow their network/business.
Each year, Mrs. Yinka Ogunde brings together all the stakeholders in the Education sector, the parents, Educators, Product/Service Providers, top government functionaries and students.
There is also another project: We Are The Future Of Our Nation (WATFON) which is about grooming a generation of patriotic young people who are tutored by our nations finest role models who believe in the Nigerian dream.
The programme enables selected students, who participate in each edition, to learn positive things from worthy role models who talk to them and share their success stories with these young Nigerians.
Last week Wednesday, City People got Mrs. Yinka Ogunde to talk about why she is so passionate about the education sector. She also spoke about how she has brought her knowledge of advertising to help draw attention to the need to encourage the young ones in our school. She spoke to City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE about her activities.
Edumark is a big name in the Education sector in Nigeria, especially in Lagos State. Tell us the focus of Edumark.
Edumark is an organisation which has for the past 15 years, been working actively within the Education space, because we are driven somehow by the belief that if we don’t get it right within the education sector, we would not be able to get things right in the country. We need to sit down and look at how we are raising young Nigerians, because they are the ones that will certainly replace us.
So, what are the values that we are putting into them? What are the things that they should be doing? What kind of Nigerians do they even want? We need to begin to develop all those values. That is one of the reasons why I have remained committed to this sector for a long time. I have seen the level of the poor quality there, the rot there. I think we must start from somewhere.
That is why Edumark started TOSSE years back. TOSSE is an acronym for Total School Support Seminar/Exhibition. Its an annual event. We just had one last week. Its Africa’s biggest Education Show. The theme was Building Strategic Partnerships For Growth it took place from 7th-8th June 2018 and it was proudly sponsored by Sterling Bank.
Tosse is one of those platforms that we try to create. We have quite a lot of things we tried to do in our organisations, because one thing I believe in that I am passionate about is the fact that you don’t just talk about problems, you proffer solutions and you begin to create strategies towards solving them.
In our own way, when we identify that this is the thing we need to do, we design a Strategy to tackle them. About 15 years ago we started a project titled We Are The Future Of Our Nation (WATFON). Then, it was a bit futuristic. The whole idea was we wanted to have a rallying cry of the young ones in schools we’ve been running it for 13 years. Many students have gone through the programme.
We had 3 core objectives: To inspire patriotism, promote unity and to celebrate role models. We invite a lot of respectable Nigerians to come and talk to the students. People like Gen. Gowon, Chief Anyaoku, late Chief Gamaliel Onosode. They come to share the history of the nation. We also invite the younger generation to come and have break out sessions with the children and the children leave with the desire to do more for Nigerians. We have things that we do with teachers, public education, private sectors, school owners, because we believe that the youths are going to impact on the nation.
When we saw the impact of Technology. We decided to use technology to actually get our message across. We asked a few questions like: Where do people spend their time now? We found our that people spend their time on their social media. People are busy on the social media. So, we decided to go and meet them there on the social media. Lets see how we can channel this to better use. That is how we created a group of facebook called Concerned Parents and Educators Network (CPE). It now has about 73,606 members as at yesterday night. It has grown to this over thirteen thousand connections producing a strong coherent voice; a voice that wants to build a great collective future. In just over 10 months of its existence, we have shared many memorable visceral and cerebral moments. That number in terms of education is a formidable group.
What do we do there? We are actually impacting upon Education on that platform-bringing parents together, advising parents and schools, bringing issues that people do not even talk about, to fore. So, we are able to use technology to also drive home our point. We do so many things. But everything is directed towards an objective and a believe which is the fact that education is really going to be the game changer for this nation. We have to get it right.
So at Edumark all we do is to come up with how to drive and create projects, that can transform the mind. But it has not been easy funding these projects funding education is not easy and corporate bodies are finding it difficult to fund Education. They need to. They should please provide the support. The truth is that the educational sector needs encouragement. There are deep seated issues.