What Abuja-based ‘international’ schools have to offer

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Many Nigerian schools claiming to be international began to surface when the education sector began to take a turn for the worse in the early 90s. Before then, government-owned schools were centres of excellence and private schools were second choice; if one failed to gain admission to a government school.

However, when funding to the education sector dwindled, its effect was decaying infrastructure, lack of properly trained teachers and poor quality education in government schools. The schools lost their glory as centres of excellence and were toppled by private schools.

Although education in Nigeria is in shambles, some private schools are smiling to the bank. Schools in Abuja enjoy an advantage over those in the states. They are located in the Federal Capital Territory which is Nigeria’s most developed city and it is easier to believe when they append ‘international’ to their names that they provide the quality services that should go with it. But are Abuja schools as international as they claim?

It is understood that when a school is international, it operates a standard that can be compared to schools of developed countries such as the United Kingdom and USA. It is expected that the school also has staff from overseas that serve as mentors to the Nigerian teachers and help in curriculum development.

The ‘international’ schools also claim that they extensively teach and train the students on ICT while some offer personal laptops to each of the pupils.

Attaining global standards is the goal of Glisten International Academy, Abuja as it partners with schools in the United Kingdom and France.

The Head of Schools, Mrs. Prisca Godwill explained that the partnership it runs with schools overseas also enables the school have integrated curriculum with such countries.

The academy also creates a platform where the students have correspondence with students outside the country. Mrs. Godwill said the relationship is an exposure for the children to learn more about each other’s country’s educational system and lifestyles generally.

The exchange of teachers and students periodically is also an avenue to achieve the global standard which the schools aim at. The teachers and students are privileged to make international tours. The teachers are sent to the United Kingdom or France for five days to see and learn the system of teaching in those countries as well as what they teach. The students also travel for a period of two weeks during the summer holiday to experience the academic system of the foreign schools.

In the case of Nurul-Bayan International Academy, Abuja, there exists partnership with Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom and America. Principal of the school, Atilola Adunfe Taofiki noted that besides getting the conventional kind of education, the school also gives the students intensive training in Islamic religion so that they will be morally upright.

In Nurul-Bayan, there are teachers employed from Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Sudan, Ghana and Togo. Foreigners are also employed as administrators.

These schools give their students international exposure and standard to prepare them for the challenges they might meet if they find themselves in some of the schools abroad for the tertiary education.

But there is a flip side to it. Samkings International Science School lays claim to being international but this almost nothing in its activities that reflects this. The proprietor, Fidelis Nkwocha says its external examinations are based on the Nigerian curriculum. For him, it is expensive employing foreign teachers.

However, a guardian whose ward is in Efab International School, Abuja Mrs. Ijeoma Mapayi said after making enquiries on the school, she felt her ward can go there because of the standard of education.

Also, Mrs. Ngozi Okojie whose daughter is in one of the private international schools in Kaduna said the exposure of the students to the education and life style of the foreign system was her attraction to get her daughter to the school.

According to her, she hopes to send her daughter to the USA after her secondary education so there is the need for her to attend a school where she would receive the training that would prepare her to write the foreign examinations and pass them.  The school fees which is between N100,000 and N140,000, she said, is well justified with the academic standard being offered.

In : Education

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