How to improve the literacy level in Nigeria from the grassroots. Vivienne Oluwafolanlakemi Ameho

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Please let’s get to meet you. Tell us about yourself and your background

My name is Vivienne Oluwafolanlakemi Ameho. Born on February 3rd to a Yoruba father and an Efik mother. I am a native of Badagry LGA, in Lagos State. I had my primary and secondary education here in Lagos. I am a graduate of Computer Science from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye. I am the first child of a family of 6 children. I am an educator with 15 years of teaching experience majoring in Maths, ICT, and Oral English, an entrepreneur, a fashion enthusiast, a mentor, and a relationship and marriage counselor among other things.

What are the values that inspired you to get into your career path? What are the initial reservations you had and how were you able to manage them?

I am passionate about human development, the well-being, and growth of individuals, couples, families, and society as a whole.
Teaching has always been inborn for me. I remember far back when I was only a youngster, I enjoyed gathering younger children to teach them.
Teaching comes to me naturally. Hence, I didn’t have any reservations about venturing into the path. Although, I never set out to be an educator from the onset. My parents were in the medical field so it was only logical that toured that line. However, fate had its plans for me.
The deep desire to impart knowledge was the needed fire that helped me cope in the field.
Most of my best moments are when I am in a classroom teaching.

The state of education in Nigeria has been a major concern for decades. Despite being the most populous country in Africa and having the largest economy, Nigeria has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world, with only 59% of the adult population able to read and write. What do you think is the reason for this poor stat and how can it be improved?

I won’t agree with you on that stat, we have done so well compared to other third-world countries like ours. We have a high rate of literates. The problem is we lack the technical know-how and capacity to apply what we have learned during years of study to our physical lives and that’s why we are still lagging far behind in industrialization and technology. The major cause of this is that we are too hasty overdoing things.
For starters, the govt must enforce age limits on students enrolling in secondary schools just as it’s done in the UK and the US. The idea of parents skipping classes for children who aren’t academically sound is purely disheartening. Also, the govt should impose a 2 p.m. closing time on all schools! These will give the students ample time to engage in other beneficial activities that will nourish their development aside from academics. Our children are bombarded with so much schoolwork, that they don’t have the time to enjoy their childhood or even develop other areas of interest. Most schools run from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kids get home too worn-out. Some still have private tutors to teach them when they get home. They eat, sleep, and continue the redundant cycle. We can’t continue to exhaust our children like this. Sporting activities in most schools are quack. Their music curriculum is a joke. Languages are merely for clout. Most private schools just want to exploit parents and make money.
A very large percentage of Nigerian teachers teach theoretically even though they have access to the internet as an educational aid. They still lack in-depth delivery of their teaching. Life is not all about paper, pen, and board. We complain about the declining reading culture of pupils, yet some schools insist pupils retain their books at school so they won’t get torn and stained! Isn’t that preposterous? What’s the benefit of a neat book to a pupil? The evidence that a pupil studies at home can be seen in the state of his/her books. We put so much in place to occupy our children’s time but upon all that, they can’t pass external examinations in flying colours. It’s sad to say that in as much as privately owned schools have reduced the unemployment rate in the country they are also creating hazardous trends.

There is a clear difference between an educationist and a teacher in the context of modern-day learning. What are the values that have stood you out in your professional life?

In a layman’s tone, an educationist formulates the ideals, models, and methods of education, while a teacher executes and delivers these models in a physical or virtual environment. My must-appraised values include hard work, dependability, dedication to duty, and mastery of my craft.


I have always ensured I wear a fragrance of confidence and an intriguing yet modest fashion sense. I realized very early in the teaching profession that students ever hardly aspire to be teachers. That’s high because we don’t inspire and motivate them enough to be willing to take the baton from us. The poor fashion taste of most teachers is partly responsible for this glitch. They see bankers and professionals from other fields appearing richly but that doesn’t mean they are rich while their teachers are poorly dressed and looking hungry most of the time.

 

 

 

In the value chain of education in Nigeria, Do you think educationist are getting their full potential being explored? What areas do you think the government can support and strengthen the system?

One of the major problems we have in Nigeria is the enforcement of regulations. It’s more like everyone is doing their thing and those who are supposed to do the checks and balances are too busy to do their jobs or being bribed to look away.

Educators today are working to survive. Most of them have lost their fire and zeal which are the major tools you need to excel as a teacher. This is due to the severe, unpalatable working conditions in most privately owned schools. Private school teachers are being over-exploited because they have no union to agitate for them. Most of the opportunities such as free workshops, symposiums, etc. (in a few cases offered at subsidized rates) which are made available to public school teachers to aid their development are absent in the private sector. Remuneration is condemnable poor, welfare is close to zero, outrageous working hours, benefits like pension, annual leave, leave bonuses, allowances, etc. are denied the average private school teacher which invariably leads to poor efficiency.

The govt in this instance should quit segregating private school teachers. They shouldn’t deny them minor benefits like awards or recognition. The govt should also create an avenue for private school teachers to move up levels. This can be achieved by setting up an examination board to examine them in other to get promotions. It’s saddening to see many private school teachers who have been in the teaching line for years in a particular school resign from there and go start afresh in another school on an outrageous pay grade. The lack of continuity is abnormally murderous. That’s the doom of any teacher who shows great potential.
Teachers’ intellect is not well appreciated, making them redundant participators. Teachers aren’t challenged to give their best, most school owners merely want dogmatic employees. The govt. should create platforms where crucial discussions affecting the teaching and learning environment are discussed and possible solutions proffered this gesture should not be restricted to public school teachers alone.

What are the transferable skills you have if you want to try a new career experience and set new professional goals

Quite a handful. My 5 most priced skills would include:
1. Dealing with children and their parents must be one of the most fascinating and patient-testing endeavors ever. Interpersonal and inter-relational skills are assets to own as an educator which will come in handy in other professional fields.
2. Having served in the capacity of the Head of school, the Principal, and an Acting Principal at the managerial level, I have built quality leadership and managerial skills over the years.
3. Time management skills are very crucial in taking class periods. The ability to meet up with deadlines and punctuality are top-rate skills for me.
4. Effective communication in reaching learners with diverse learning needs. Effective communication also enhances a healthy working environment.
5 Flexibility skills which involve switching through different teaching methods and utilizing all tools available in other to deliver lesson objectives successfully.

Are you involved in any program or initiative that is aimed at mentoring and growing the minds of Nigerian children?

Truthfully, the major part of my career has been focused on surviving. The time constraints have been a leading limiting factor towards self-realization. It’s nearly impossible with the number of hours spent in active service to build one’s other dreams which are outside teaching. It’s only recently I decided to take things slow in other to have time for those dreams I have shelved for so long. There are sports programs in the pipeline that will add more color to the lives of the average Nigerian child. We hope to get sponsorships for very active and interested ones among them to go abroad to fulfill their dreams. This is a mission I hope to achieve in other to better the lives of the future leaders of our great country. As a professional in the field of Computer Science exposing more students to the rudiments of robotics and foundations of coding is one huge initiative I hope to bring to fruition soon. I see what the Chinese are doing with their kids and it’s obvious that’s the only way out of our consumer status crises as a nation.

With the agonizing outflux of people from Nigeria, it’s becoming expedient that we have to spread the message of realistic hope to the emerging youths who lack the means to migrate. How can we do this if we don’t strengthen the spirit of nationalism and patriotism among them? It’s overwhelming to realize that the average Nigerian child is already corrupt mentally. It’s a ticking time bomb we aren’t aware of. “The Hero in You” is an initiative posed to awaken the dying awareness of our identities as proud Nigerians. We hope to help rebuild confidence, strengthen personalities through grafting intricate self-identities as well as reset their mindset away from vices such as yahoo, ritual killing, prostitution, etc gaining popularity in our society. And helping them to revive virtues such as hard work, dedication, integrity, honesty, etc which seems to be losing their foothold in our society.

How will describe you your best career moment and what has been your biggest milestone so far?

My best career moment will have to be starting up my educational facility catering to students within and outside Nigeria. We currently have clients both at the primary and secondary level in the UK and US in our program with awesome testimonies.
Also, my biggest milestone so far is the launching of my transport company. It is a delightful feather to my hat.

What should Nigeria and the rest of the world expect from you in the future?

I have always had a thing for fashion and I recently delved into the domain to quench my curiosity. I see myself owning my own Haute Couture House in honor of my paternal grandmother who was a seamstress.
The desire to go back to school to take a course in the medical field lingers in my heart to fulfill my parents’ dream.
As an upcoming author, I see my educational and marital materials flooding stores and gaining prominence both at home and abroad.
Our Sport and Coding Academy should take a full swing by 2025 God willing.
The future is an empty page and I alone get the privilege to write in it what I will. I have a whole lot I intend to cramp in that page before I exit this world.

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