... As Zenith Pathfinders rewards 17 teachers
• Positive mentorship vital for youth development, says Lagos education official
Zenith Pathfinders has rewarded at least 17 teachers for their efforts in mentoring students in both primary and secondary schools in Lagos State.
The award presentation was held on October 1, 2023 at the special event held to commemorate the 2023 World Teachers’ Day.
The World Teachers’ Day is an annual event that is marked every October 5 globally.
Speaking at the event, the second of its kind, Mrs Aminat Yahya, a director at the Ministry of Education in Lagos State, stressed the importance of positive mentoring in the society, noting that most students lack proper guidance.
According to her, Zenith Pathfinders organised the event to celebrate teachers and appreciate their work on the occasion of Teachers’ Day.
She explained that there was a training session that began last year after the success of the maiden edition for teachers where they were assigned to mentor primary and secondary school students in their respective schools.
“We had 102 teachers in attendance. We asked them to mentor some students in their schools because we observed that many students today lack proper guidance and when there’s adult guidance, they can always be guided,” she said.
“So we asked them to do that in their various schools. We created a cluster, managed by our teachers ranging from 10 to 15. At the end of the first term, we found out that only a few were responding and carrying out the assignment. We went ahead to create an upper cluster to sieve those who are ready for the mentorship. So at the end of the day, we had about 17 teachers who came up both from primary and secondary public schools. Today, they’ve ended the course and we’re here to appreciate and celebrate them for the work done.
“The project is for teachers to move closer to these students and guide them. At the end of the training, each teacher is attached to a minimum of two students, required to familiarise with them and do everything to assist them academically and spiritually so that at the end of the year, the teacher will be able to present what he has done and that effect will not only be felt by the students. In addition, the parents will also see positive changes in their children due to the teachers’ mentorship,” she said.
Some of the mentee-students and their parents were also at the event to witness the celebration of their mentor-teachers.
Speaking on what inspired the initiative, Mrs Yahya said students can beat challenges when they have mentors around them.
“For most of our youths today, we find out that even though they’re advanced technologically, in terms of their morality, they’re not guided. If we have parents around who can guide them on what they’re doing, I think life will be better. Students get frustrated due to lack of guidance. They face so many challenges around them. But with a mentor that’s around to consult, they can beat any challenge in life.”
The guest lecturer at the event, Dr. Sulaiman Ogunmuyiwa, noted that young people can get better in the society with the right and positive mentoring.
The Director of Education and Quality Assurance with the Lagos State Government said the emergence of technology was responsible for the high rate of immorality and decadence in the society.
“Immorality and decadence are as old as the world itself but they have never come to this kind of dimension. I think it’s the negative use of technology that made this possible. Government needs to regulate the use of technology among the youths,” Dr. Ogunmuyiwa noted.
He advised that children should not be given personal phones until they conclude their secondary school education.
“Well, based on my experience, a child shouldn’t be exposed to personal phones until after secondary school. They can make use of their parent’s phones to play games and whatever. But owning a personal phone should be after SSS 3.”
The education official said that there is a disconnect between the goals of education and the implementers of education.
According to him, “A lot of teachers are in the industry because they don’t have other options. The passion is not there to give the students the real educational and career goals that the government wants.”
He said teachers need to be up and doing as implementers of education policies at the grassroots for the society to become better.
Further emphasising the importance of mentorship, Dr. Ogunmuyiwa advised the government to consider mentorship programmes for students using accomplished citizens to address them at their various schools’ assemblies.
“So many years ago, there was a pilot programme done by the government in the ministry of works where permanent secretaries go to schools and speak to students. We’re showcasing people who were able to go through education and are now impacting the students. So this would make the students feel motivated to want to follow the lead of the teachers. The mentorship program can involve the use of successful people in the society to talk to students. It would go a very long way for the government to institute mentoring in the schools,” he said.
On his part, Engr. AbdulRasheed Anifowoshe urged the government to pay special attention to the needs and plights of teachers, especially at the basic school level.
He noted that the fuel subsidy removal by the federal government is impacting negatively on people.
“There should be specific attention given to the teachers because if they are hungry and lack basic amenities, it would be difficult for them to teach and pass the right messages to the students. Whatever the government might have been doing, they have to step it up, especially for the teachers because they own the future. They are preparing us for our future, so they must be comfortable. In civilized climes, teachers are well taken care of and I feel that the government at all levels must pay particular attention to the teachers because they produce our future.”
Engr. Anifowoshe lauded Zenith Pathfinders for the initiative which he said is the second edition and had already been achieving impressive results.
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