29 Nov 2012

Our Nation At Arms

image src: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
Giant of Africa... Bothered by a hoard of lilliputian... Sounds funny when you relate it to Gulliver's travels and his travails, however it seems like a very appropriate adjective to describe what is going on in our nation today. The Giant is slowly but surely bowing to the effects of the combined efforts of the little things that threaten to bring it to its knees. When I think of the problems we face in the country today, I wonder, how did we get here? How did this manage to catch us napping?. One would have thought that the woes of our past would have at least taught us a few lessons and thus effect a change in how things are done. However, it seems like the only thing that has happened is our leaders have perfected the act of playing us "wayo". There seems to be no end in sight for the suffering masses.

28 Nov 2012

More Than Teaching

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“I will slap you,” one of my male students yelled at his female classmate while I stood at the head of the classroom trying to establish general calm. I was first taken aback and then I realized this was another one of those teaching moments. One of the things I have realized about being a teacher is that it is more than just teaching. This is not just a public school thing.

When I was in secondary school, I struggled a bit with the emotional turmoil that came with being a teenager in an all-girls school. The only person that seems to be able to see me and hear me was my literature teacher. I remember sitting and talking to him, all through my secondary school days. He was never judgemental. Ten years later, I still call him when I have pressing concerns I need to talk about.

27 Nov 2012

Free Education


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About 4 weeks ago, shortly after we resumed from the mid-term break, I noticed a line in front of the counselor’s office. The students gathered round with their parents. They were holding brooms, hoes and the textbooks for mathematics and English. These students were registering for admission into the Senior Secondary School. It is now two weeks to the end of school and this scene has all but disappeared. The random lone student carrying their registration material as they approach the counselor’s office has replaced it. Apart from the hoes, brooms and textbooks, they will also be responsible for providing their own furniture.

26 Nov 2012

Who is a Public Teacher?


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I was in a bit of a shock when I first started teaching. I was so unsure of what approach to take. During my first weeks at the school, it had been examination period so I did not think much about the actual process of teaching. Then, before I knew it, the meager holiday was over and it was time to step into the classroom and teach. There were a few complicating factors; the previous teacher had a baby over the holiday so she was not there to show me the ropes. Also, I was scared of teaching because I was not conversant with current curriculum for literature. Even when I was told the book to teach, the fact of the matter is that my degree may say literature but my actual area of expertise is writing. Luckily, I called my mentor who also happened to have been my literature teacher when I was in secondary school. He connected me with the current literature teacher who recommended that I get Exam Focus for Literature. I was extremely grateful for the advice.

21 Nov 2012

Settling the NYSC Debate


The Debate

There have been a lot of arguments about the merits of our National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) program and both sides have their points. 

The advocates are quick to point out:

NYSC: Post Camp Survival Guide

 So I have found it necessary to share this with the newly posted corp members in various states who are still in camp now. I do hope you have enjoyed every moment you have spent in camp till date, and I hope you participated in one way or the other in the different activities usually lined up for corp members during orientation. By now, most of you would be gearing up for the end of the orientation program, and subsequently, the winding up ceremony; some would have already began to speculate where they feel they would be posted, particularly those who might have taken part in one sport or the other, or been a part of the OBS crew and all that. I think there is more for “otondos” to take note of when you finally leave

YOU WIN

So I decided to digress a bit from my usual rant on the decay in our system of education, my displeasure with the NYSC in kwara, and I thought it would be best to write about something I have always wanted to share with students in the tertiary institution (see me writing like one grandma, I only just finished my first degree), I wish I was in school, because I’d have found it easier to get “in the zone” and preach, but since I have been through school i think I would be able to pass my message across. I do hope all Nigerian youths in the Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education who might read this would please not take what I’m about to write out of context, and would reflect on it.

GIVING BACK TO SOCIETY……. TO GIVE OR NOT TO GIVE?

As an otondo in camp I was able to pick a thing or two from the words that were said to us during the series of lectures organized to give us a proper orientation about what the next one year was going to look like for us. I must admit, I must have dozed off a couple of times when these lectures were held, but each time I opened my eyes, cursing the NYSC officials for “drying” us under the sun while they took shade under the pavilion, one particular thing seemed to always get my attention. There was a sort of dedication of most parts of the lecture(s) to reminding us corp members that we had a duty to play wherever we were

19 Nov 2012

Arise oh compatriots ... Or not


Courtesy freedigitalphotos.net


Morning this Morning, "Arise oh Compatriots". I just recalled the wording of our nations anthem, and something stirred up within me. Arise oh Compatriots? Nigeria’s Call Obey? Who is Nigeria anyways? I remember in camp, during the orientation exercise for the National Youth Service Corp, the soldiers always told us Nigeria went to sleep at 6pm and woke up by 6am and this was always signified with the sounding of the beagle. Nigeria’s call obey? Youths obey the clarion call?


Sports and Education: Ways to make it work



 As a child I loved sports, I loved to watch athletes sprint, and jump, and dart across the court playing tennis, wrestle, box etc. I loved a lot of sporting activities. I loved it so much I was a member of my school's athletic team both in primary school and secondary school. In fact, I was always ecstatic whenever it was time for P.H.E (physical health education), and we had to do the "practical" aspect. I loved giving my mates "gap(s)" as we sprinted down the 100m stretch on our school field. Even now, my best moments in school that I recall were the times I spent taking part in sports. My love for sports lives though, but my participation in sports came to an end when I gained admission into the tertiary institution.

The purpose of education (freestyle)



 Education is not and should not be about providing all the 'answers', it should be about empowering one to be a part of finding the 'answers' (I don't believe in the 'concept of absolutes'; therefore, going by the premise- that 'absolutes don't exist', I'd say that no answer is absolutely complete or fully explains anything/everything and none should be treated as such)

The purpose of education is not to destroy creativity

What is an Anwaru?



 It was Friday; it should have been a normal day. Alas, there is nothing like a normal day when you are a teacher. As has become the norm, I arrived at school and had a breakfast of bread and boiled egg with Ribena. I had my roasted peanuts for a mid-day snack. I engaged in petty conversations with the other teachers while waiting for my classes at the tail end of the school day. I went to the SS1 class to teach during the last period. I was drained already but I knew I had to discipline them because a good portion was not up-to-date on their notes. With my

Education in Nigeria: Back To The Drawing Board



In the world today, it is a generally held belief that education plays an important role in the level of development achievable by any society. While in some quarters some might still disagree with this notion, it is important to note that an educated group of people might have little or nothing to contribute to the growth of whatever community in which they are members. Now when I say Education, I don't necessarily mean being "highly learned" or possessing various qualifications from the best institutions of learning; I simply mean having a

NYSC: Tales of a Kwara Corper - 2

Opeyemi's NYSC Images
 The general belief when one leaves camp (I presume it is general because everyone thinks it) is that after the orientation corp members would be ferried away to places comfortable enough to be called a house, not necessarily a home, but a house nonetheless. Most corp members never expect what is coming when they leave camp. Especially pertaining to accommodation. Some corp members who have relatives in the states where they are posted to serve might not really understand what it is to be stranded in another man's land, if I might use such a term, without a place to lay ones head. In Kwara state here, the issue of accommodation is one that needs to be addressed.

NYSC: Tales of a Kwara Corper


My first day outside Yikpata camp in Kwara state as I recall it now was not so much to be happy about. I recall not wanting to do anything asides from update myself on what had been going on in the world on the web (there had been no internet service in camp)... I didn't pay attention to what I was meant to and I paid dearly for it days later. Initially I was posted to Ilorin East Local Government, which was the "dream" of many "otondos" while we were in camp. I was posted to the Kwara State Polytechnic, and I was glad for it, thinking all I had to do was just report and I'd get accepted, carry on with my clearance and move back home to my family.

Omu - Part 2


Courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

Tunde awoke for the second time that night to soft chants carried on a warm breeze. His eyes opened to the robust moon overhead, the only light in a sea of black ink. Images swam before his eyes, and settled to reveal a truly mortifying scene. Several men were standing in a ring around a long table upon which a red bundle was squirming against tightly bound ropes. The men wore flowing black cloaks, with the exception of one in white, which Tunde could tell from his stature and posture was the Baale. Another man in a red cloak circled the struggling body in the centre. Tunde tried to rise to his feet, but a sharp pain in his shoulders had him return to his sitting position. He was tied to the trunk of a large tree, forced to watch the spectacle in front of him. The men continued to chant in hushed tones, slowly increasing the pace and volubility of the chant till they were almost shouting. A few of

Omu - Part 1


Courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

A dizzying, searing pain in his head reminded Tunde Gbadebo he was alive. He felt like his world had been shifted off its axis and spun twice as fast. As the black curtains were lifted from his vision, he found himself in a small room dimly lit by a kerosene lamp that was dying out. He sat upright and looked around, one hand rubbing his forehead furiously. He found that he could remember nothing at all. “I could be hungover”, he thought, but something within him knew that wasn’t true. “Calm down,” he thought to himself, “Deep breaths.” He tried to breathe evenly and slowly but his heart hammered against his chest like typewriter keys on paper. What if he had been kidnapped? His parents had lived in fear of that for the first 8 years of his life, until his sister had been conceived and his father was transferred to New York. He looked down at his hands, and knew that no kidnapper would leave his victim unbound. So what had happened? So he decided to start with simple facts and work outwards.

18 Nov 2012

What's Next?

Courtesy freedigitalphotos.net
 As I have noted I am currently completing my service year teaching in a public school. This experience has really opened my eyes to the many inadequacies of the educational system in Nigeria. One of the things I am finding disheartening is not at the secondary school level but at the tertiary level. A lot of students that finish secondary school never quite make into university because of many barriers.  I feel like a fraud sometimes when I tell my students that they just have to pas WAEC and JAMB to make it into university or polytechnic.

The Married Women’s Training Institute for the Intending.

There is something about putting a bunch of women in one room; it creates a level of community. A majority of the staff at the school I teach are women. The number of corps member also skews towards a female majority. One thing that has become quite clear, after a few months, is that the teachers consider it part of their responsibilities to instill in the female corps members ‘proper’ etiquettes.

Respect


This past week I have spent quite a bit of time looking through the essay I asked my students to write on their ten-year plan. At this point in my tenure as a teacher, I am able to put a face to my students’ names. I am lucky that I only teach about 70 students so I don’t have as many faces and names to memorize as other teachers. Being able to put faces to names means that when I am marking I can gauge if the work is independently done or they have been ‘assisted’.

I was really surprised when I started reading an essay and it was relatively coherent. I looked at the name and I was curious how the young man had

UNILORIN - Entrepreneurship and Engineering




Introduction
My name is Qazeem and I love technology. I finished from the department of electrical and electronics engineering at Univeristy of Ilorin in 2012. I'm very passionate about impacting the lives of people. I want to be a leader and achieve things  that will benefit society. This very passion helped earn an award as Entrepreneur of the year in 2011 from the junior chamber international (JCI Ilorin Chapter).

I drew inspiration from the award and decided to design and construct a 3KVA power inverter for my final year project. To me it was an opportunity to learn about inverters and possibly start a small business upon graduation selling and installing inverters. Given the fact that jobs are hard to find in Nigeria, having the option of self

UNILAG - The Young and the Inadequate




In July of 2009, yours truly had just graduated young and starry eyed from a typical unremarkable secondary school in Lagos. The plan was simple, I had already achieved a more than decent score in the UTME (It was still called UME back then), and I just needed to ace the forthcoming Post-UME exams and secure myself a spot in UNILAG, studying a course I wasn’t too passionate about, but seemed an appropriate choice at the time, as I wasn’t too passionate about pretty much everything. So, when exam day rolled around, I was prepared,

Ten year plan


Ten years ago, I was a sixteen-year-old SS3 student at a small private school in Festac Town, Lagos. Ten years later, I challenged my SS3 students with an essay asking them to create a ten-year plan. It has been a difficult task for them because quite a few have no idea what comes next.  

When I look at my students’ essays, I am amazed at how many have great plans. Beneath the layers of bad grammar, bad spellings, no punctuations, and countless structural issues, many students have expressed a desire for grand careers. I can’t help but cringe because I realize that just a

First Day


I remember my first day as a teacher clearly. I was dressed in an Ankara print gown. As I was resuming on a Friday, I figured it was best I assimilated as quickly as possible. Hence, I was in the traditional attire. I arrived at the school in April during the final exams for the second term. I was quickly assigned to invigilate one of the SS1 classes. On arrival at the class, I was in shock.

Let me give you a little background at this point. I am a former student of a public school myself. I attended Queen’s College, Yaba, in the 1990s. I resumed Queen’s College in the days when classroom size in the Junior Secondary School level was hovering above a hundred students to one classroom. Somehow, the classes still

Cool Apps for your Smart Phone


So, you have an iPhone. You’ve heard of all the amazing things it can do, but you don’t know how to harness its full potential. For that, you need apps, and with over 300,000 and counting apps in the App Store, finding the best ones is a Herculean task. Never fear, I’m here to help. This is a list of some apps that I think are highly useful, fun or just simply cool. And even better, they’re free, or most of them anyway.




17 Nov 2012

Debriefing of an NYSC Teacher: Held Back

She seemed unstable; her eyes were soaked in tears. The tears brimmed over the edge of her lashes but did not roll over. She threw her head back to stop the tears from rolling down. Her hands frantically wiped at the tears. As she walked away, her steps were clumsy and she looked like she would fall over in a moment. The staff room was quiet as we all watched her leave.



Dark Knight Rises review

[Editors Note: This article was written by Ranti on the 29th of July, when our work-study program was   still in the incubator phase. Being posted now so it counts towards Ranti's work-study submissions. Thx] 

Eight years after a memorable clash with Heath Ledger’s The Joker, Batman (Christian Bale) is back in the cape and eye make-up for Christopher Nolan’s finale to one of the most memorable superhero trilogies in modern day cinema. Tended to patiently by ever loyal Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine), Bruce Wayne has sunk into a hermitic lifestyle after taking the fall for Harvey Dent’s crimes as Two-face, a noble deed which has numerous criminals behind bars and off the streets of now peaceful Gotham City. However, a new threat, in the form of menacing and formidable villain Bane (Tom Hardy) arises, Wayne must don the mask to protect Gotham once again.

The film begins in a grandiose manner, featuring a plane hijacking, and the kidnap of a nuclear scientist set to composer Hans Zimmer’s percussion-heavy score. Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) is dealing with the guilt of silence while Harvey Dent is celebrated as a martyr. Anne Hathaway makes a splendid entrance

8 Nov 2012

Do people still do this???

Hello,
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2 Nov 2012

A Back-to-school Guide for the Student who doesn’t want to go back to School.



Being at home during the holidays is perfection right? Freedom to do whatever you want; eat endlessly, watch all those TV shows you missed out on, hang out with your family and friends while you have actual fun, cuddle with your significant other in gorgeous Kodak moments, the list is infinite. Then tragedy strikes in form of a new semester and thoughts of all those endlessly long lectures, pop quizzes, draining walks in

Contagious


You record a video of yourself reading a classic Shakespeare comedy in your native tongue.

You upload it onto YouTube

Time passes and suddenly your name is everywhere across the internet, Soon it leaks into the real world and you become quite famous for a while.

You have made yourself a viral sensation.