Providing a platform for discovery and creative expression

Dr. Segun Oyebolu

Dr. Segun Oyebolu

Premier College Ijebu Ode was established to bridge the gap in the educational sector using a combination of practical expression of theoretical inputs and exploration of new frontiers based on individual peculiarities. Dr. Segun Oyebolu, the Proprietor and Chief Executive Officer of the institution spoke on the Focus of a CEO in this interview with Nnamdi Nwokolo and Dayo Olorunlomeru.

What informed the setting up of the school?

Premier College started operation three years ago as a response the falling educational standard in Ogun state in particular and the nation in general. The school thus represented a throwback to the good old days. The idea of the school is to provide qualitative education because in the course of my career, I’ve met so many people who can barely express themselves or articulate their vision incoherent way, so I decided to contribute my quota to lifting the educational standards by starting this unique high school. It is my own personal answer to arresting our dwindling educational fortune. We want to raise the bar in quality education using tools and technology that will enable students become functional and useful to the society.

What are the challenges facing the education sector in Nigeria?

I think basically the problem with education sector is the fact that our schools are not centers for creative expression, and most times people go to school basically to obtain a certificate in order to secure a job. Schools should be about discovery and exploring your abilities; schools should help to develop critical and creative thinking skills in students that are relevant to national development. However, our government and the society are not willing to reward creativity, our penchant for paper-certificate has led us into the sorry situation we are now. Inadequate infrastructure, lack of qualified teachers, unstable academic calendar and curriculum coupled with unstable government policy has been detrimental to the growth of the education sector. One important thing we need to know is that, if we want students to be better, we need to equip them with the tools that will make them functional. But, while doing that, we also need to make sure that schools are not run as profit-making ventures, rather as a platform for discovery and sustainable creative expression.

The key word is sustainable, so Premier College does not offer free education; but, we offer a truly affordable fee for a world-class secondary education.

What can the government do differently to help the education Sector?

The role of government in the development of the sector cannot be overemphasized; first of all, they need to invest more in education through the provision of infrastructures, learning and teaching aids. Funding is another area where the government needs to step up its game to make education more functional. They also need to embark on massive training and retraining of the teachers as well as make teaching attractive to the best brains. The development of any nation or society depends on the quality of its human resource, so, we cannot afford to leave the future of our students in the hands of unqualified teachers.

There’s proliferation of schools today, yet the quality is dwindling, what’s responsible for this? I started Premier College, Ijebu-Ode in 2013 as a result of my desire to build and produce good and quality human resource for the benefit of our economy and nation. I strongly believe that our education must be engaging and productive to be able to bring out the best in the society.Our students are provided with necessary tools they need for effective learning process. For example, upon enrolment, the students are given free textbooks in all subjects, laptops, uniforms, bags as well as free lunch at no extra cost to parents. This is to make learning easier and interesting. As a matter of fact, our recruitment policy places emphasis on qualified teachers with proven success at local and international examinations. Our unique selling point is our ‘total care system’ which priorities all round development of the child including academic, spiritual, social as well as physical development. However, it will interest you to know that the School does not have traditional class rooms but dedicated subjects rooms to enhance the learning process.

On the School Curriculum

We operate an integrated Nigeria-British curriculum but most importantly, the school prepares its students for local and international examinations.Our state of the art campus is equipped with wireless internet facility to aid learning and the school administrators have designed a firewall that will restrict access to certain websites.We have equally made provisions that ensures unscheduled checks are undertaken by the system administrator to forestall abuse by students. The school also has an inbuilt social network and excellent communication system that allows parents to interact with our teachers on a regular basis.All our laboratories are equipped with relevant state-of-the-art teaching equipment. Our rich ICT facilities help to create a learning environment that is smooth, innovative and exciting. Our majestic school complex is wirelessly connected to the internet so that students and teachers alike can safely browse the web through for research.In subjects like mathematics which draws upon abstract concepts, our learning centres come alive with smart whiteboards, tablets, laptops as visualization and manipulation of variable becomes a routine.

What is the young Professionals Programme [YPP] all about?

The Young Professionals Programme is a core module of Premier College operations. We believe secondary education should not be about passing examinations and getting certified only. Rather it should incorporate self-discovery, self-development and ultimately self-actualization.It is our firm belief that when children are provided with the right tools, atmosphere and appropriate motivation they can truly start achieving their goals from teenage years. The YPP places greater emphasis on digital literacy as a core competence for all our students. In fact, all our students takes Computer Studies as a compulsory subject throughout their 6-year education at Premier College. We believe very strongly that our future leaders must be well at home and extremely proficient in the use of modern ICT technology as a premier signature.

How does it work

All enrolled students are issued individual laptop computer on resumption at school for all their academic works and these systems are also release during holidays for our students to use while at home on holiday. The computer then becomes a companion as assignments are given out and returned via the internet using the school wireless connection.However, beyond that, there is are special periods after school during which our students have free, unrestricted access to all ICT facilities available in our laboratories on daily basis. At the beginning of each term, students are given an opportunity to declare their interest and our life coaches recommend a software or computer language that the child must learn and perfectduring that term. So, at the end of each term, all students are expected to present an original project using the software or computer language based on the recommendation of the assigned life coach. Opportunities for further development are then assessed so that progress can be made.The Music School at Premier College is essentially a performing arts training centre where students who are talented or interested in the performing arts can hone their skills.Students who are in the arts are privileged because the training they need is already embedded in their curriculum. However, students who are in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) specializations can take advantage of weekend and holiday classes to develop their talents.At the end of each term, the school organizes a recital event for the school community to appreciate the work of the creative minds in the student body.

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