What did the parents have to say…

…about the purpose of schooling?

❝There is no substitute for education.  That’s something my mother’s always said.  …some formal training in the four walls of a school will always give you an edge above the next person.❞

❝Schooling is not optional for us…some of my children are artistic, others of them say, “I want to be a footballer or I want to be an actor.”  I say, that’s fantastic, but you will have to have formal training and that can only happen in a school.❞

❝Education is a given, you know, that’s all, I cannot imagine, I think any parent regardless of their socio economic, or most parents, regardless of their socio economic level, understands the value … So bottom line is, why not, and, is there any alternative to not getting educated?❞

❝What my parents have made me realise is that education goes with privilege.  It’s, it’s a privilege to be educated.  You’re looked at differently than other people that are not educated.❞

❝Even in the marketplace, you find market women always telling their children ‘don’t end up like me’ ‘I’m doing this because I want you to have what I didn’t have.  And even parents who are educated still tell their children the same thing.❞

❝Simple. Don’t go to school, you’ll end up being poor in this part of the world.❞

❝I sometimes think that this emphasis on formal education is a bit dangerous… We are encouraging the girl to go to university and so on and so forth, but there are not enough jobs.  So you have a lot of unhappy, dissatisfied and educated people competing for jobs that they consider are menial. They are miserable; they are unhappy; they don’t do it properly.❞

❝We don’t have that ‘niche’ for people who feel ‘I don’t want to go to university.’  I mean, they will call the pastor, they’re going to call the family members, have a meeting. By the time they’re done, you wanna go to school.❞

❝Schooling…is a must for us on this side of the world. And if you can afford it, you do more. The more you can afford…the further you will go with your child.❞

…about assessment for learning?

❝The Nigerian child…we are incentive driven.❞

❝I am Ibo, from the eastern part of the country, and we just have to see that thing we are working for and if you are telling me I am doing something because I am doing it…I’m not going to put in my 100%, not really, if there is no competition, if there’s no, you know, the thrill of beating somebody else…❞

❝They have a saying here that the person who’s at the top doesn’t have two heads. Every parent says that.❞

❝I don’t think [a gradeless classroom] would be appealing to a Nigerian environment because it’s supporting the weaker students and who’s admitting that they have a weaker child.❞

❝You need to be able to have a grade, to say, OK, this is where I am. Alright, I need to move on. If there’s no grading, you know, there’s no need to put any effort. Grade me and I know I need to move where I want to go.❞

❝There is this adage that says no matter how sharp the knife is, it will not be able to cut its own tail. D’you understand? No matter how brilliant you are, assessing yourself would be a very great task.❞

…about wellbeing in schools?

❝How about this? That the child is not scared to go to school, that the child feels free enough to be able to ask those questions. About that fun part, I’m having a hard time with, but happy I can relate to! Fun, no! It would be great, it would be wonderful…❞

❝I think in an ideal world, they should be happy and they should have fun, as long as they are learning, in an ideal world. But we all know we don’t live in an ideal world.❞

❝What do we tell our kids? Go to school, go to school, go to school. Why? Why must I go to school? I knew that I wanted to become a very big man…Honestly that was my quest and I think I asked my senior brother, how do you become big man? And he said, go to school. So that cleaved somehow in my brain that, no matter what the circumstances, you have to go to school.❞

…about their ideal school?

❝I think that power should just remain with the teacher.❞

❝I believe it should be a guided environment where rules must be in place, because, if there are no rules set in place, it will be a jungle. So an ideal school for me would be a place where you have a set of rules and, of course, a very good environment that is conducive for learning.❞

❝…in my ideal school, it becomes, it’s a two way thing in which children can ask questions, you know, and they need to be heard, in a respectful manner.❞

❝I would like to keep the teachers as happy and satisfied as possible… I find that, where the teachers are satisfied with the system, even if it’s the salaries or the benefits or whatever it is, the children turn out better. Because then you don’t have to turn to tutors: why do we need an extra teacher if the teacher is doing all that she should do and the child is happy?❞

❝Every teacher should know that every child is like a locked door and, if you turn that key (clicks fingers), you are fine.❞