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How Rigid Is Too Rigid?

It was with great joy and glee that we wrote about pioneering a great movement in Ekiti state. Prior to these announcements, agreements had being made, meetings had been held, and decisions had been taken. The Codenonia Codecamp ‘For Teens’ Series in Ekiti State kicked off on the 11th of November as it was slated to. However, we at Codenonia feel it would be a great disservice to our eager readers if we do not keep you in the loop of things as they unfold. This will not be a chronological detail of how we started and what is happening — since we would not want to bore you with how well we’ve been eating and what we eat courtesy Portofino Eateries and how we eagerly anticipate what they will ‘prepare’ for us on our next teaching day.

However, we would like to share a bit of our experience with you by exploring the heart of the educational system of Nigeria, and whether or not they are ready for the technology movement yet.

We mean no disrespect to the traditional educational system that did churn most of us out into the working sector, but we are in a time where ‘traditional’ does not necessarily mean ‘constant’ anymore. From flying cars and instant meals, traditional is quickly becoming ‘backwards’ and the stake holders in this regard are either blind to the fact (no disrespect intended) or just are absolutely satisfied with what they see around.

Not too long ago, the first African space conference was held in Akure, Ondo state with delegates from all over Africa and this really points to the fact that the Nigerian youths are all out for innovation, and technological advancements. But what happens when you hit unnecessary road blocks on your way to make changes. Road blocks that could be avoided if only the parties involved would see beyond themselves and here and now, and take a peep into the future and see something far more than a few Saturdays and Thursdays of their students learning Scratch and JavaScript.

We are not going to keep on whining about the wrongs while we conveniently ignore the rights. This initiative has received a lot of positive feedback from the general public and the schools involved. The first indication of success always hits us after we have successfully completed the task of motivating the students with stories of great achievers in the technological sector. We share some of our stories too and there is an instant collective attention drift towards us. The eagerness to learn that these kids show could at times be overwhelming.

The school administrators get wowed when they see what we actually bring to the table and begin to accord us some certain form of respects we had not being previously shown.

All these are some great news that keeps us on our toes, looking for more ways to make it better and much more interesting for the young minds.

Now that we’ve shared the good and heart warming news of reception and active learning, we would like to be real by stating that it has not all been a rosy experience and we would like to share some of our most heart breaking experiences while we try our very best not to point fingers (too often).

As it has been mentioned earlier, the educational system in Nigeria is rigid, as it should be of course. But how rigid is too rigid? No system can really move forward in achieving their goals without having a bit of rigidity in its play book. But flexibility is also as useful and as important as being rigid. While there is a syllabus to follow and a school term to run, educational stake holders should also leave some space for innovation and certain skills development for the benefit of the students.

The goal of education is not to increase the amount of knowledge but to create the possibilities for a child to invent and discover, to create men who are capable of doing new things.

-Jean Piaget

We would love to implore those in this sector to work around educating local school owners on the need for personal development for the students.

Also, most schools had little or no facilities for ICT in their possession. Their computer labs were like a ghost town with dead and outdated computers taking up the space.

Most of these computer labs are locked and kept out of the reach of the students. The schools that had the good computers had little or no maintenance and this just makes a mess of the whole situation as we had to be the ones to fix and resuscitate these computers back to life.

Of course, electricity. How can we forget the most talked about plight of the country? For this however, we have no much complain as the schools in our programme dutifully fuel their generators and leave it on till we say “let’s go home”. However, looking at the general expenses, it feels rather too expensive to run a class for not more than a couple of hours.

That’s our story till date, it’s been an adventure, teaching and learning to teach better. We spend most of our times planning ahead and acting out our plans better.

All these we would not have been able to achieve without the encouragements we’ve received and are still receiving from all of you. And for that we say thank you.

Thanks for reading this article, do well to hold the clap button, click on share and leave a comment.

Grace MojolaJesu

Growth Hacker, at Codenonia

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