The notion of an oasis suggests a relief in a wasteland. And for Folashade Adeitan-Odujole, proprietress of Oasis Montessori School, that’s exactly what her school stands for. In this interview with Anuoluwapo Olafusi, she explains why there is need for government to improve learning outcomes in private schools.
HOW did you come about oasis Montessori school?
I was looking for a school for my daughters but I couldn’t find any. Then God gave me a vision to establish Oasis because this area was like a desert, so God told me to establish an Oasis in the area.
That comes with some challenges, not so?
When I established this school, the idea was to do it right when others were doing it wrong and to care when others don’t give a damn. The first challenge I had was with the teachers, who teach just for the sake of it. They were not used to my style and plans, but eventually, I got good teachers.
The fee was another challenge when I started. I made the fees cheap because I wanted to extend my gestures to everybody, but unfortunately, some parent still didn’t pay as at when due. Some even took their children away from the school without paying. This made it so difficult at that time.
What did you mean when you said you wanted to do it right when others were doing it anyhow?
The core values are doing it right, when others do it anyhow. Caring when others don’t give a damn. So, in our school, no child is left behind.
That must mean a huge investment in quality teachers.
For the Nursery school, the least qualification in that section is the NCE. And in addition to that, they go for training on Montessori. For the primary section, we have graduate in education, and the emphasis is employing only graduate in education. We start subject teaching from primary two, so you teach the exact subject you studied, like the math teacher is someone who studied Mathematics.
Is that what makes your school stands out from the rest?
The standard of the school is that our word is our bond; we run a school that believes in tell me, I would forget, teach me I may remember, involve me I will always remember. This is the philosophy of Doctor Maria Montessori, who was the first female medical doctor in Rome. She worked with children in Rome using gigantic teaching materials she was able to come up with, that has now become the trademark of Montessori schools. Our teaching method was patterned after her, the emphasis of this school is based on practical teaching. We believe in this philosophy of involving a child and that is why we do different practical method.We do project, class demonstration, role play, so that we will involve the child and in this way, the student are involved in the teaching.
Does that methodology apply at the primary level too?
The nursery is full Montessori. We follow the national curriculum for the primary section as stipulated by the regulatory body.
How would you advise government to improve education standard in the country?
If education is to remain a tool for nation building and development, our government must as a matter of urgency revamp education. The government has a responsibility to consciously grow tertiary education. More tertiary institutions need to be built and existing ones overhauled. Policies must be put in place to promote the development of this important sector of the economy.
Do you see any need for government assistance to private schools?
Yes, there is need for government assistance to private schools in the area of training. The government should provide seminars of training for private schools teachers without pay, because when there is any seminar, the government school teachers attend for free, while the private school teachers are asked to pay high price, and it’s discouraging. There should also be enabling supervising and monitoring. The private schools are paying huge amount to the government and there is no standard, the private school supervisors from the government are not effective.