Come September, the the Teach for Nigeria project will deploy the first batch of 60 high-achieving young graduates to under-served schools and communities to work as teachers for a two-year period.
They are being selected from a pool of first class and second class upper graduates who have also demonstrated leadership in their careers and have passion for education.
Teach for Nigeria Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ms Folawe Omikunle, said at a briefing in Lagos, that the introduction of the initiative, which has its roots in the United States, to Nigeria is to help provide access to quality education for children from disadvantaged backgrounds so they can compete with their more privileged counterparts.
“Our focus is really to address education inequality in Nigeria. We face inequality issues ranging from rich to poor, male/female etc. We believe every child should get the best education regardless of their backgrounds,” she said.
To this end, Ms Omikunle said Teach for Nigeria fellows would be deployed in schools which would otherwise have been unable to afford them as teachers. Whatever the school pays them as salaries will be supplemented by incentives from Teach for Nigeria.
She said the first batch of 60 fellows would be deployed to low cost private schools in the state and public schools in Ogun State, where apart from teach, they will demonstrate leadership and address problems of their new communities.
“The first aim is we really need to get exceptional graduates to teach. The second goal is to get more communities to identify problems that cause inequality in education,” she said.
Before being posted to schools, the fellows will undergo a six-week residential training, which Chioma Okotcha, who is in charge of recruitment, said would cover pedagogy, classroom management, leadership and teaching practice.
While in service, the fellow will enjoy the support of mentors and school tutors to support them as teachers.
She said the recruitment of fellows, which is in progress, opened with online registration last month. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed, followed by a test, and then full assessment of the candidates.
Mrs Ifedola Dada, President, Association for Formidable Educational Development (AFED), the umbrella body for low cost private schools in Nigeria, said the group was glad to partner Teach for Nigeria because its vision aligns with the group’s goals.
“AFED was the first to sign MoU with Teach for Nigeria. We find that it is in line with what AFED stands for. We want to give children the best but how can we afford it with the fees we charge? Most of today’s teachers read education because they were rejected from other departments. So why won’t we have problem in Nigeria. But Teach for Nigeria will supply us with first class graduates as teachers,” she said.
Teach for Nigeria Ambassador, Tosin Ogunkoya, said by participating in the project, he was following in his mother’s footstep, who spent her career as a teacher moulding lives.
After the first year, Ms Omikunle said Teach for Nigeria would deploy 72 fellows to the north.
“Our plan is to reach three regions in Nigeria by our fifth year of operation. By our 10th year, we hope to reach all the regions,” she said.
Chairman, Teach for Nigeria, Mr Gbenga Oyebade, said the organisation was willing to partner with like-minded organisations to move its objectives forward.
Member, Teach for Nigeria Board of Trustees, Mrs Nike De Souza, said the board was happy the programme was finally seeing the light of day after many years in the works.
“We have been on this journey for three to four years and we are happy to see Teach for Nigeria finally up and running. Teach for All America sends out 10,000 fellows into the school system in America. We need to come up with disruptive education solution to solve problems of out-of-school children in Nigeria,”she said.
Also published on Medium.