Renowned Educator, Modupe Adeyinka-Oni has called on parents, and government and concerned stakeholders to work jointly to prepare the Nigerian children for their future of work. She made this known during her recent launch of i-Africa School; A free online school that covers curriculum for all foundational classes from basic to secondary schools. According to Modupe, the millennials and Generation Z children across the world are naturally wired to think and act differently and the need to understand and adjust the Nigerian child to fit into the future has become imminent. The world economic forum once said primary schools are preparing young children for jobs that don’t exist today.
“So the whole paradigm has to shift from knowledge-based to skills and competency. But there’s a big resistance from parents because they want the books, they want to see what their children have written. But the whole concept has changed. “It’s no longer about what they have written but what they imbibe and what they feel in their souls. And so we have to prepare our parents to help prepare the children because the future of work is so different, it’s technology-based and all our children have to fit in.”, she said
Considering the core values of the school amidst the changing climes and the effects of Covid, Modupe said that social distancing forced schools around the world into the tech space they had been resisting. “It has opened our eyes to prepare our children which incidentally is our greatest human resources for a different type of classroom engagement.
“We have discovered that it is better for the children to be mentally engaged through ‘doing’ and not just to be given information, they need to be involved in their learning process. We understand now just like parents globally that dialogue is a very important classroom activity, we can no longer tell them to shut up or keep quiet anymore, rather we must answer their questions which is the way for Inquiry to be developed. We need to encourage them by our responses to thinking deeply about their question and answers.
“And that’s how we are developing their problem solving, inquiry and critical thinking skills that they need because that’s what the future is all about for them.
She also hinted at the best way for schools to engage in Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR activities, and advised that private schools in Nigeria should adopt the low-income schools around them, she believes that it is important to bridge the gap between the elitist school and the community schools. “We have to come up with community programs that will promote this and empower all the children.”
“There are new values our schools can add in terms of child nurturing and cultural values. Right now we know that our children are digital natives, and so we have to understand how we engage them using the digital tools that they are already wired to use. Their memory can take pictures of everything but it doesn’t mean the child has learnt anything.
”Standard Bearers Schools is introducing the use of podcast in the community. We are incorporating podcast because one of the things we found out when we returned to physical school were parents saying to us that after the day of working with them, they couldn’t deal with the idea of bedtime stories, so we decided to turn that into a product, so we are going to have a podcast where we are reading the bedside story to children thereby freeing up the time for busy parents to unwind while helping their children get into bed on time.
She also advised that the teachers, in this digital age, should come into the class with an open mind and be ready to teach and also learn along with their children. They have to understand that everything they learned in their universities and colleges’ of education is changing fast, age differences should be put aside at this critical time as we all focus on becoming lifelong learners.
”We are in a time where everybody is a life-long learner, so teachers need to go into the classroom environment and mentally subject themselves to learning along with the children. As a new teacher making a personal connection with your class makes the job a little easier; I tell my teachers “if your children are not talking about you at home. If they cannot evoke ‘the gospel according to Ms this or Mrs …. you haven’t connected. We are dealing with the Z- Generation and there’s nothing we can do as educators, but to meet them in their own space while learning to speak their language. Teachers need to understand what the future is for the children and what they are preparing to fit into in that future.” she stated
She talked about her school raising Godly-Tech-savvy children stating that Standard Bearers Schools is a faith-based nursery and primary school. “We teach about faith not just through reading the bible but through all digital tools to guide and develop the minds of the young children using the 7 habits children’s programme called ‘Leader in Me’. We make morality a culture for them. Even when they graduate, we still relate with them as a family, being that we have an open-door policy for them.”
Dupe Oni is one of the very few women who have helped shape the society we live in today, using the most powerful tool available: Education. Mrs Dupe saw the 21st-century shift in perspective about education and technology as a tool for socio-economic relevance in the evolving digital space, which opened opportunities for people in the tech-compliant space and she’s been at the forefront of the campaign for digital skills.