Diligence, passion and creativity recently attracted a major honour to an educationist, Mrs Fisayo Adesanya.
It was a glorious moment for Adesanya, who is the Principal of Jakande Estate Comprehensive Senior College, Abesan, Lagos, as she emerged the World bank Global Ambassador for 2020.
She was honoured at a ‘High Level Conference on Accelerated Learning in the Middle East and Africa, held in Cairo’ as jointly organised by the World bank and the Egyptian government.
Adesanya was one of the two Africans selected for the award, with the second coming from Kenya.
Speaking on behalf of the other recipients, she said the unique learning environment which she and her colleagues – teaching and non-teaching staff – created in their school engendered positive changes in their pupils.
According to her, the method called ‘Community of Learners’ created a sense of inclusiveness and ownership among the pupils.
This drew applause from the conference participants, including World Bank officials, Egyptian Government functionaries and others from different parts of Africa and the Middle East.
Among them were the Egyptian minister of Education, Dr Tarek Shawki; Minister of State for Education in Nigeria, Prof. Emeka Nwajuiba; and Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki.
The conference was hinged on the fact that despite improved access at all levels of education and impressive investments in education and training, a major challenge in the Middle East and African countries is poor learning. The bank had projected: “The ability to read with comprehension for all children in late primary school—generally by age 10—is a goal of every education system around the world. The ability to read is a gateway to further learning and skills development, enabling young people to participate effectively in society.
“But children are not learning. To galvanize action towards tackling the global learning crisis, the World Bank announced a new “Learning Poverty” indicator, defined as the share of children who cannot read and understand a simple story by age 10. A new global target was announced as well, to reduce that number by at least half before 2030. The Bank estimates that 53% of all children in low- and middle-income countries are ‘learning poor.”
It noted that accelerating learning would require continued commitment to learning, measurement of learning, and better use of technology; more and better spent resources; and increased collaboration to improve knowledge sharing and leverage economies of scale.
Dr. Jaime Saavedra, World Bank Global Director for Education, said, “We must accelerate improvements in learning and centre reforms around what is best for the student, giving children the foundational skills to become permanent learners and productive citizens.”
On his part, Egypt’s Minister for International Cooperation Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, said, “No country can achieve development without the human element, and this conference signals our high-level commitment to education reform.”
In his plenary address, Egypt’s Minister of Education and Technical Education, Dr. Tarek Shawki, shared Egypt’s story of its ambitious reform programme aimed at modernising the education system, using scripted lessons, new curriculum guides, digital learning resources, improved teaching practices, and computer-based student assessments.
“What we are doing in secondary education today is to prepare for an unpredictable and rapidly changing environment – we want to produce graduates with good skills, not grades,” noting that the “Education 2.0” reform program revolves around teaching children the skills needed to compete in the future. “We have to ask ourselves – what are the competencies needed of today’s teachers in today’s environment? – because the old model is not working,” he said.