‘Why entrepreneurship should be part of school curriculum’
Mrs. Azukaego Ekpe, Principal of Daati’s Pride School, Gbagada, told ELIZABETH USEN and VICTORY USIOBOH why entrepreneurship should be embedded in school curriculum.
What inspired you to engage your pupils in entrepreneurial training?
Education is not all about books and pencils alone. Education has definitely gone beyond that. Even the social media is a means of education, when used properly. So, you cannot limit the kids to only what they read in books. They should also be encouraged to use their hands.
Today’s children are very creative, and you can’t tell in which area these creativities will manifest. It may not be from the aspect of being a writer or an artist. Some children even enjoy and love photography. So, we cannot limit the children to one corner of learning.
How will acquiring entrepreneurial skills affect their future?
First, the children will be able to compete globally. I always say that Nigerian children are no longer Nigerian citizens alone, but global citizens. So, if the only thing they have to offer the world is what they have learnt within the four walls of classroom, it may be a disadvantage to them.
They need to develop other skills and look in other directions than just academics. So, if what you read in class is not putting you in the limelight, the other skills they have developed overtime can equally put you out there. If the individual is not able to compete in the area of academics, then he/she can compete with just handworks like painting, drawing and sculpture. So, they shouldn’t be limited to class knowledge alone.
What challenges have you encountered since you started?
There was a particular child that loved just playing with papers. He would fold them into different objects. Now as a parent, you might not really or readily see the value of what that child is doing at that particular time, because you have other dreams for that child. Truth be told, most times, parents may feel disappointed, but it’s all about understanding.
As parents, you want to guide your children to the right path. But you find that these children keep going back to that same thing they always love to do. They might just tear paper and turn them into a pole, the other into a microphone. And then the parents are like, ‘what are you doing? You are just tearing all the papers in the house.’ But to the kids, it’s a different thing and has different meaning.
So, as parents, I think the best thing we can do is to help them discover their inner abilities and tailor whatever skills they are showing to suit their nature and person. That’s the only way they can go even beyond what we can imagine.
So, how do you get parents to cooperate with you to achieve the goal?
We always tell parents that an all-round education is crucial to their children’s total development and future. As a school, we have educational skills and life skills. The entrepreneurial aspect falls under life skills.
There are some things that, in the long run, will be of great importance. And one cannot tell where or when they’ll come handy. So, if they have these entrepreneurship skills alongside their educational skills, it’s something they’ll embrace eventually, as they get older. The beauty of it is that it does not disturb their education. Indeed, it can even be used to enhance the academic aspect. Their curriculum is complete, and they are still learning, as they should. However, these life skills are also important. With that, the parents understand that it’s not just for now, but for future purpose.
Do pupils engage in these skills voluntarily or they are being imposed on?
No two children are the same. Every child is unique in his/her own way. What we can do now for the children is to expose them to different diverse skills. Of course, the child will show strength in certain areas. And through observation of what the child finds interesting, we are able to determine what is right for that particular child.
For some children, it’s just by watching others that they develop interest in certain things. So, we create different avenues for this through videos, talk shows and debates, among others, for them to hear about different things. They are blank slates now, as they don’t know much. But when you introduce them to different things, they begin to develop interest. When they show their choices or preferences, we help them fulfil their passion.
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