High School Education: Producing Dealers for Marketplace or Leaders for Public Space?

To all the paddlers of democratic canoes on the wetlands of politics; may the canoes hop to the harbor of hope.

To all the planters of deliberative seeds on the farmlands of public life; may the seeds sprout into many trees of juicy fruits.

Youths have learned nothing About democracy and politics, But hatred and bitterness Of opposing parties That lack morals of public life.

Youths have not learned to talk. Their mouths are sealed And tongues, tied Like that of ancient slaves In sugarcane plantations. Youths have not learned to act. They are under chains, Crippled and in pains Like prisoners of war that prefer dying to suffering. Read more…

Blame The System, Not Students, For Mass Failure In Public Examinations —Dr Marinho

Dr Tony Marinho, an experienced obstetrician, is a co-founder of Educare Trust, an education and health-based non-governmental organisation which has been impacting on educational development of Nigerian youths through voluntary educational services. In this interview with KEHINDE ADIO, he speaks on Nigeria’s education sector, proffering solutions to its many challenges.

What is the rationale for establishing Educare Trust?

We established Educare Trust to make a difference with an ultimate vision to effect positive changes in learning process, assist the youths to discover their potential and prospects for life skills development purpose. To achieve our goals, we have put in place structure and relevant educational facilities and employed seasoned teachers for the exercise. So far, we have trained thousands of youths in computer literacy education and donated several books, including sporting materials to many schools. However, we observed that there is a limit to how far we can go in our educational supportive efforts to schools due to the large population of the country, hence the need for other stakeholders to lend their support to the education reform process.

Meanwhile, the financial intervention of the old students’ associations in schools is a welcome development in the ongoing education reform processes of the country, especially at the public school level. If every public school in the country would establish functional old students’ associations, the subsequent development would go a long way to revive our schooling system and falling standard of  education  nationwide.

In this regard, I want to recommend the establishment of old students’ association for each public primary school in the country. If primary schools can also establish functional old students’ associations, our education system will improve drastically. Therefore, the intervention of old students in public primary schools is needed for their development.

It is notable that most of the public secondary schools in the country today which are doing well in every sense of it are those being funded adequately by the old students’ associations. Similarly, public primary schools also need equal attention from the old students’ association for its rapid development. Everything that will encourage the establishment of functional old students’ associations in public primary schools must be put in place.  It is very obvious that the Nigerian public primary school system needs financial assistance for physical development and effective learning.

Why do we still record incessant mass failure in almost all the external examinations in public schools in the country?

Academic challenges of Nigerian students at all levels are attributable to weak operational system and teaching methods. In the first instance, the performances of  public secondary school students in certificate examinations are a reflection of  the  educational system in the country. Before you can blame a child for failing an examination, you must have prepared him adequately. Although the capacities of students vary, the average ones will do well if you give them what they need to succeed in those examinations.

However, there are crises in the education system, which range from funding to lack of skills; equipment and practical aspect of education. Nigerian students are learning under dilapidated classrooms and we expect so much from them. In addition, poor preparation, lack of dedication to study due to irregular supply of electricity to read at home and  other factors are responsible for students’ failure.

In order to address some of these problems, class teachers should be made to come together during long vacations to review the curriculum and teaching methods for improvement in quality delivery to enhance learning in the subsequent sessions.

What is your view about the Nigerian curriculum development process?

It seems we are too slow in our curriculum development process. Ideally, school curricula ought to be reviewed, added to and deducted from annually. Nigeria has a rigid curriculum development system. Curriculum development must be dynamic in nature to meet the current speed at which science and technology are developing, including environmental change. It must have professional inputs aside from the educational inputs.

In advanced countries, children’s education is very dynamic; teachers with doctoral qualifications teach in nursery schools. The reverse is the case here in Nigeria, we find the most uneducated people teaching our children in pre-primary schools. If you do not teach children what they need know at each point in time, you are destroying their chances of improving academically.

How can Nigeria fix its educational system to yield more results?

Nigeria needs people like Professor Ishaq Oloyede to head the helm of affairs of sensitive parastatals in the education sector for effective management that will yield maximum results. We need people of integrity to lead us in this country.

Professor Oloyede has done very well with the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) within the space of time he assumed office as registrar of the board. He has reduced the fees charged for JAMB forms and that of the National Examination Council. As a matter of fact, he should be celebrated. One of the ways to curb all sorts of criminalities in the education sector is to engage the likes of Professor Oloyede to manage it.  We need people of like minds in every sector of the economy for growth and development.

What do you think is missing in Nigeria’s education system?    

We need to develop museum centres, equip them with historical educational materials in different disciplines and make them accessible to students. We need functional science and art centres, that children can visit to intimate themselves with discoveries made by various people across the globe. They can learn a lot from those centres and be informed about their choices of careers. What we have in Nigeria are parks and recreation centres. For these parks to have educational value, we need to attach exhibition and museum centres to the parks. They can be ancient or modern art or technology-based museums.

There is also need for youth centre that should be equipped with excitable facilities in our public places. All the ministries can come together to develop these special centres. The development will go a long way to keep the youths busy with educative materials.

Why Medical Ignorance Is The Deadliest Disease —Marinho

A medical expert, Dr Tony Marinho has described medical ignorance as the deadliest disease in Nigeria and called for preventive medical and social advertising to save lives, livelihood, health and happiness of Nigerians.

Dr Marinho, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, made the call in his lecture entitled, ‘Brain Paradox: Knowledge about Nothing; Nothing about Knowledge’ at the 20th annual Benjamin Oluwakayode Osuntokun Memorial Lecture at the University College Hospital, Ibadan.

Marinho, the founding secretary, Educare Trust, said medical knowledge is more than power and since how to make healthy living choices may not be well known by many people, it should be placed at every point of advert contact.

According to him, “the transfer of medical knowledge to the patients/citizen is poor because it has no funding. It is considered profitless in dollar terms.

“Everywhere you look, there should be a life skill message. Economically, it pays corporate bodies to make every effort to keep potential customers alive and, being alive, they would buy the brand products longer.”

Dr Marinho, who declared that a more robust, multipronged effort is required to ensure ignorance elimination, called on medical professionals to come up with appropriate adverts to provide everyone with the knowledge needed to prevent life-destroying events.

According to him, patient ignorance accounts sometimes for treatment-resistance or failure of diseases such as peptic ulcer and hypertension.

He added, “Mass ignorance is a void fed by alternative medicine adverts and wall messages of elongating organs, curing impotence, enlarged breasts and destroying fibroids in seconds and solving cataracts by the traditional surgery even in 2019.

Dr Marinho cautioned Nigerians against inadequate intake of water, dry fast, unskilled delivery of babies, slap aimed at the face, heading of the ball during football games and high intake of oil in the stew.

According to him, the way individuals think about fasting is wrong and if fasting is abused, it can be dangerous to health.

He added, “Medical practitioners know that fasting from water can be dangerous to your health. I have witnessed a colleague dying from kidney failure from fasting.”

In his welcome address, Professor Kayode Oyediran stated that the aim of the Benjamin Kayode Osuntokun Trust in memory of the foremost neurology said the series of lectures was partly efforts to advance the frontier of knowledge in medical sciences in Nigeria.

Oyediran, a former vice-chancellor, University of Ibadan, said the trust had also been promoting and award medical fellowships and grants in neurosciences.

Chairman at the occasion, Emeritus Professor Oluwole Akande, said the late Professor Oluwakayode Osuntokun had played a leading role in the history of Ibadan College of Medicine.

At the lecture, awards were given to best final year graduate of medicine from the Ibadan College of Medicine and Master Diekolayomi Babatunde best final year student in the sciences at Christ’s School, Ado Ekiti.



By Ikenna Emewu – January 25, 2020.

Only a few days old, Freddie Figgers was left next to a dumpster in rural Florida. A passerby noticed him in distress and called the police. Freddie was checked into a hospital where he stayed for 2 days to recover from his minor injuries.

Once stable, Freddie was placed into the foster care system. He was taken in by Nathan and Betty Figgers who lived in nearby Quincy, Florida and already had a daughter of their own.

The Figgers, regular foster parents, quickly decided to adopt Freddie.

Growing up, Freddie was bullied by other kids in elementary being called the “dumpster baby.”

“It’s a rural area, so after it happened, everybody heard about it,” said Figgers, now 30. “My parents told me the truth about what happened as I grew older. I thought about it a lot as a kid, and I’d have to say it was embarrassing when I was younger.”

However, it was also during his elementary school years that Freddie found his passion for computers. His dad, Nathan, bought Freddie an old 1989 Macintosh at a thrift store for $25 to tinker with.

“He thought that a computer might help to keep me out of trouble,” said Figgers.

It worked. At just 9-years-old, Freddie disassembled and reassembled the computer multiple times. Next, he figured out how to use some old radio parts to fix the Macintosh so it would power up.

“I still have it,” Figgers said about that first computer. “It’s what sparked my interest in technology.”

By 13, Freddie was so good at tinkering with computers the city of Quincy started hiring him to fix their computers. By 15, he started his first company out of his parents’ living room called Figgers Computers. He specialized in fixing computers and helping clients store data on servers he created.

“I wouldn’t recommend my path to everyone,” said Figgers referring to dropping out of college. “But it worked for me. When I was 17, I had 150 clients that needed websites and storage for their files. I just kept building from there.”

By Freddie’s early 20’s, Nathan Figgers developed Alzheimer’s. Before Nathan passed in 2014, Freddie had invented a GPS tracking, two-way communication device to help find and keep track of his dad when he would wander off confused.

“I created a device that I could insert in his shoe that would allow me to track him, plus talk to him through his shoe,” said Figgers. “It was difficult to watch him decline—it’s something you never forget. I’ve always been so grateful to him and my mom. They taught me not to let my circumstances define who I was.”

In spite of this difficult circumstance, Freddie was able to sell his GPS tracking invention to an undisclosed company for $2.2 million in 2012 at age 23.

His privately-owned company, Figgers Wireless which sells smartphones and data plans, was appraised in 2017 at more than $62 million. Figgers is proud of his business, but he says that he is still passionate about combining technology with health care and safety.

“The best thing any human being can do is influence another one,” said Figgers.

He sells a wireless blood glucose meter for people with diabetes that allows patients to download and share glucose levels through Bluetooth technology. And he is working on a project similar to his “smart shoe” technology to help families stay in touch with loved ones experiencing homelessness.

“That could be me on the streets—I could have been homeless or dead if I hadn’t been found by the dumpster after I was born,” he said.

Freddie learned when he had grown up that his birth mother was a prostitute with a drug addiction. He has not met her and says he has no interest in doing so.

“My parents adopted me and gave me love and a future,” he said. “They did their best to make the world a better place, and now that’s all I want to do, too.”

Bottomline: Do not allow your circumstance define who you are.