William H. McRaven once said, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed”.
Put in even simpler terms, if you want to make an impact in the world, start from your room; your street, your industry, your nation, and the world will be your stepping stone.
Considering the state of education in Nigeria, perhaps not many people will disagree with the fact that we need more change makers in the sector now, more than ever before.
Interestingly, in recent years, many passionate educators and thought leaders have sprung up leading the change movement.
Using the words of Mrs. Alero-Ayida Otobo, these ones are ‘reformers’. “They are solution carriers and they are tired of ‘band-aid’ solutions that have no impact. Their solutions have potentials to be game changers. They know that if they don’t do it no one else will.”
The year 2018 saw the rise of many change agents, innovators, reformers and influencers in the Nigerian education sector.
In the list below, we look at the works of some top 5 education personalities in 2018.
The personalities included in the list are some passionate Nigerians – among others - who are selflessly contributing their quotas to the development of education in our country and Africa at large.
The list is in no particular order.
- Uchenna Onwuamaegbu Ugwu
Uchenna is the founder of Edufun Technik.
Edufun Technik is a Social Enterprise that focuses on the implementation of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education for children and youth from 3-18 years old in underprivileged and underserved communities in Eastern Nigeria.
The enterprise also focuses on developing children’s potentials, skills and talents by providing their students with quality hands-on-training on coding, design thinking, engineering and robotics, and guiding them to make informed STEM career-decisions that will set them moving into a big future of STEM.
She is a 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow and one of the 200 persons selected to participate in the inaugural Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa program.
Through Edufun Technik's work, several schools have added STEM education to their school curriculum and over 800 students, mostly young girls in rural communities, have taken interest in STEM education
Uchenna led the five Nigerian girls who won Junior Gold at the 2018 Technovation World Pitch in Silicon Valley, San Fransisco, United States an achievement for which she has received much recognition.
- Otto Orondaam
Otto Orondaam is a social entrepreneur.
He is the founder of Slum2school Africa, a volunteer-driven organization providing education to children living in slums and remote communities.
Upon seeing the huge gap in the quality of education available to children raised in the slums and other children, Otto decided to do something about the dire situation.
He turned his burning desire to change the narrative of poverty, illiteracy and impoverishment with which the country is synonymous, into a dream that would become a reality.
To achieve his dream of making quality education available to kids raised in remote communities, however, Otto had to quit his 8-5 job during NYSC and a promising career.
He took the bold step and in 2012M Slum2school Africa was founded.
Since then, Slum2School has taken so many giant strides. The organization has trained over 3000 young volunteers from over 25 countries to provide scholarships for over 600 children from slums.They have equipped schools with needed facilities and provided other health and psycho-social support programs to dilapidated schools.
In 2018, Slum2school initiated a Fundraising campaign themed #AThousandDreams to sponsor one thousand out of school children into school.
The goal was to raise resources to enroll a thousand children into school for the 2018/2019 academic session. On the 27th of October 2018, Slum2School successfully enrolled 510 out-school-children between the ages of 4 years and 15 years into schools for the first time.
In order to help Slum2School beneficiaries learn skills that will help them become professionals and start their own small businesses, the organization on the 27th of October, 2018, launched its Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) where over 1000 children and youth between the ages of 9 years and 24 years will learn valuable entrepreneurial skills.
- Folawe Omikunle
Folawe Omikunle is a social entrepreneur and CEO of Teach for Nigeria.
She is a graduate of International Law and Diplomacy.
She has a master’s degree from the Diplomatic Academy of London, University of Westminster after which she returned to Nigeria and took up an appointment as a School Administrator at a Montessori Pre-school in Lagos.
While there, she began to think about inequity in the education sector after an orphaned child was enrolled in her school. She resolved to contribute her quota to reducing such inequality.
Folawe later enrolled at Modern Montessori International, London for a Diploma in Montessori Education and later joined the Association of Private Educators in Nigeria (APEN) as a Program Coordinator. She later became the organisation’s Executive Secretary.
She joined Teach for Nigeria in 2015 as its Program Manager, contributing in the set-up, planning and organisation of the organisation from inception. In 2016, she became its CEO.
Through the Teach for Nigeria platform, Folawe has been able to help thousands of children thrive through transformational leadership program that equips Fellows with transferable leadership skills.
In 2018, Folawe led her team to partner with the Kaduna State government to place teachers in high-need primary schools across the state.
Through this collaboration, Teach for Nigeria was able to mobilize 88 fellows, who are currently serving as full-time teachers across 22 public primary schools in Kaduna State.
In recognition of her works at ensuring that education gap is bridged in Nigeria, she was named in the Leading Ladies Africa/YNaija’s list of 100 most inspiring women in Nigeria 2018.
Folawe also won the women of the year award in education 2018 by Her Network.
- Dr. Modupe Adefeso
Dr. Modupe (Mo) Adefeso-Olateju is the Managing Director of The Education Partnership Centre (TEP Centre).
She is an education policy expert with several years of research experience.
She has led work streams on a range of education sector support initiatives funded or assisted by international donors and funding agencies such as the UK Department for International Development (DfID), World Bank, Open Society Institute (OSI) and MacArthur Foundation.
As a member of the technical team assembled by the Honourable Minister of Education, she wrote a section of the Federal Ministry of Education Strategic Plan for Education (2011-2015).
Mo previously worked with Accenture and Junior Achievement, an associate of Crans Montana Forum Monaco and Nigeria Leadership Initiative (NLI).
She sits on the board of Incubator Africa Development Teams, Nigeria and until 2014, was a trustee of the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council UK.
She was vice chair of the technical committee which designed and organised the Nigeria Economic Summit (NES20) on Education held in 2014.
In 2007, Mo Adefeso-Olateju received the 'Young Professional of the Year' award from The Future Africa, and in 2013, was named by the President of her country as one of the 100 Guardians of Nigeria's future.
On the 18th and 19th of October 2018, Mo convened the fourth Nigerian Education Innovation Summit (NEDIS) which was held in Lagos with the theme, “Accountability and Transparency in the Education Sector: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities”. 236 stakeholders were present to highlight key issues and challenges pertaining to accountability and transparency in the education sector in Nigeria among other things.
- Mr. Joseph Aisida (Late)
Late Joseph Aisida was a dedicated and experienced educationist.
He was the CEO/Principal Consultant at The Orientation Project.
He had a first degree in Biology Education as well as a Postgraduate Degree in School Effectiveness and School Improvement from the Institute of Education London.
As an educational consultant, he was involved in developing policies, assessment and inspection of schools and creating educational solutions.
Joseph Aisida proactively identified opportunities to improve and achieve educational goals within organizations and stewarding firm resources toward these goals. He helped strengthened educational institutions in all matters that have to do with: teaching and learning, socio-emotional aspects of learning, special educational needs, administration and technology.
He passed on in September 2018.
Do you know someone who has contributed immensely to the educational development in the country in the last one year? Kindly comment below!