Located at 19, Akinbo Street in Command Area of Ipaja, Lagos, Catlad Schools has been an achiever for 20 years. The secret: the school was founded on science, social service and arts. In this interview with Richard Dibie, the proprietress of the school, Christiana Ayodele Laditan, reveals her work experience in the United Kingdom and Nigeria, and what makes the school exceptional among others.
COULD you please share your UK work experience and what motivated you to start Catlad in Nigeria?
I hold a Bachelors degree in Education (Home economics) from the University of Liverpool in United Kingdom, did Youth Service at Ifako Teacher Training College, Agege under pa Adeniyi and Mrs. Ajayi. I later moved to Command Secondary School, Ipaja where I became Head of Home Economics Department under the late Col. Lawal, and ater Col. Obidipe. I retired from there, and relocated to the UK where I continued teaching. I taught at Parkview Academy where I was Head of Faculty Design and Technology under Mr. Alex Atherton. I later moved to Brampton Manor Academy in East London and worked under Dr. Dayo Olukoshi as Head of Hospitality and Catering. I retired from Brampton Manor and came back to Nigeria to monitor my school—Catlad Schools. I am an author of Home Economics books widely use. I am married, and I have three graduate children residing in the UK. I have always had a passion for teaching based on my experience. I love teaching children. It is a calling and no child under my care has ever failed.
How is your school different from others?
In Catlad Schools every child matter. That’s our motto. This fact makes the school distinctive. We bring out the potentials of every child no matter how naughty they may be. Every child has something special in him or her no matter their weak points. Another fact is that my teaching staff have the pupils’ and students’ interest at heart.
What is the quality of your work force?
All our teachers are graduates. And because I am an educationist, I do not compromise. I even have teachers that have M.Sc. and they are well paid which is one of the factors that make them stay for a longer time.
What are the performances of the students like in JSS and SSS exams?
The students do brilliantly well. In the JSS examination, they pass with distinctions; in the SSS exams, they do well in all subjects, including credits in core subjects like mathematics and English.
How do you make this happen?
We have some projects in place. One of them is “Push me till I pass”. I ensure that they leave the school as independent learners, meaning they can seat for any examination with confidence. We set targets for our students who are low achievers. Tough as it may seem, at the end they come back to say “thank you”.
How is your school keeping up with the ICT trend?
As stipulated by Lagos State, all students must be computer-literate. To encourage the use of computers in all areas, we have a computer room which consists of desktops and laptops.
Does your school have necessary facilities for science subjects?
We have equipments and laboratories for learning and performing experiments. As an educationist, I know the value of all these, they are not in a world of the “unknown”.
How do you ensure your teachers are performance-driven in teaching math and English?
First, we recruit teachers with experience and higher qualifications in these areas (M.Sc.). We make mathematics easier to learn. We don’t demoralize the students. They learn through creativity and play, to make it more interesting.
In English, they learn diction; they do literacy and also write articles. We also involve them in series of debates and story-telling. Every student in this school writes essay three times a week.
Do you have students who have gone on to higher institutions—perhaps have graduated?
We have many of them: Miss Tosin Odunayo, English and international relations graduate of Osun state University; Kemi Orefajo, medical under graduate at the Olabisi Onabanjo University; Ore Oluwa Orimogunje, an under graduate at UNILAG studying architecture. Just a few to mention
What other things do you do in addition to academic works?
We go on excursion, do special summer school, cook, and learn other thing. We also have entrepreneur days where students are taught how to start their own business. Vocational subjects are also taught on a large scale to equip them for the future.