* Founder, Mrs Ekama Emilia Akpan urges FG to arrest scandals in examinations to save Nigeria’s education industry
By Ignatius Chukwu
Showers International Christian School easily wins awards almost every year in the British Council examinations.
Now, the founder and education investor, Mrs Ekama Emilia Akpan, has revealed why the school excels in those exams that do not have fraud.
She has also advised the FG to save the Nigerian education system from exam scandals and by attracting the best brains through better funding.
The new federal administration has been urged to carry out immediate turnaround in the education sector to save the sector. The government has also been asked to arrest scandals in Nigerians examinations to avoid downgrading of Nigerian certificates and examinations.
An education investor and founder of Port Harcourt-based Showers International Schools, Mrs Akpan, urged the FG to start with increase in funding to attract the best brains and hands.
The CEO was speaking in response to her school, Showers, producing the best student in Combined Sciences in British examinations for the third year running.
She was also reacting to the recent scandals in public examinations in Nigeria especially the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) scores.
On the JAMB score scandals for which a student is apologizing, the school proprietress said there is a law on exam fraud. “Start by jailing offenders. So far, nobody knows how many persons in jail for exam fraud. The way to start is, if they catch an offender, they jail him or her, especially the adults that manipulate things for children. This is because exam fraud is stealing. You are stealing the future of a child you are manipulating for in the name of helping. The fraud has long term effect.”
Akpan said such scandals are not seen in British exams. “That is why the British education system is still the best. They always try to protect their system. No teacher is allowed to mess up anything. The US is trying to catch up, and China is pursuing them. Nigeria should be seriously catching up with Britain.”
Saying education is not all about academic certificates but hands-on practice so whatever a students learned he or she can do it.
On why Showers consistently performs excellently in British exams, Akpan, who is a SMEDAN board member and former vice president of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) after serving twice as MAN chairman in Rivers/Bayelsa chapter, said the current scandal concerning JAMB score is not healthy for Nigeria’s education and its image worldwide.
She urged the political class to understand that if they mess up the education system, it ends up bad for everyone.
“There is need to balance things. In other parts of the world, the best brains go into teaching. This is to show that only the best is good in academics. In addition, character is a premium in considering teachers. A teacher must thus understand that he or she must have strong character too.
“Many think it’s about grade. That was why somebody went to mess up in the JAMB exams. When you cause a mess in the media, it affects all. That’s why funny things happen when you want to register for some studies with some foreign bodies. They suspect your transcript.”
The Showers way
Explaining why Showers is excelling in British exams, Akpan mentioned the 4 Cs: Character, Capacity, CapAbility, Competence. “Once you have these, the society benefits.
“We scrutinize results steadily to see area of strength for each child. You then push each child in his/her best area. We find out your ability and capacitate it.”
On regular awards by Showers, she said it could explain why Showers seemed to be winning academic performance awards every year, now consistent for three years in the British Council exams.
She said the British Council subjects are based on abilities plus competitive edge. “Some of the schools still doing well use same methodology. Showers wants to be the best in the south-south.
“If a child is able to make A star (A*) in a subject, you pick him out, but the more important thing is to make them defend it. We have done well in sciences. Holy Ike who won the British Council best result in 2020 is in Russia now on scholarship. This year, Jidenna Aaron Dibor has won it. We pay attention to technology to excel. The world is now about technology and entrepreneurship.
“The good news is that this boy (Jidenna) wrote from SS1 (and scored English A, Maths A, Add Maths B). That was why the British Council chose him in the ordinary level category. Most of them in his set did well in combined science.
Showers has a high mark in British and Nigerian exams so that wherever they go to, they can easily survive.
Why British exams don’t have scandals
The education manager their examiners know they will be sacked if they dared do any nonsense. She said the British Council examination authorities do not keep exam papers; they burn them.
She said: “The schools writing these exams are under strict warning never to give bribe. If an invigilator demands anything, you report immediately. The examiners know this and keep off.”
On the other hand, she said, if Nigerians don’t support corruption, it won’t grow. “Nigerians working with the British Council behave well. They don’t even accept food.”
Some sources said the ones for Nigerian examination bodies will complain that the examination body that sent them did not pay them, and this is a signal that they want something from you. If not, they punish your school, cut down time, etc.
But Akpan said if we all know that these acts destroy even our own children, everybody will help to stop it.
Reacting to his feat in the British Council examination, Jidenna Dibor thanked her teachers at Showers. “I also want to thank the British Council for affording me the privilege to express my genuine gratitude for the Cambridge Learners Award.
“Secondly, I want to thank the Management of Showers Christian High School, the teaching and non-teaching staff and my fellow students. I was admitted into Showers Christian High School in September 2021 and I have been exposed to various external examinations. These truly have changed me for the better.
“Our ever-ready and determined teachers were always present in class to brush us. Our proprietress always stuck her neck out. She always believes her students can all achieve goals even where the students had doubts.”
He said the most impressive is the firm stand of the school against any form of examination malpractice. He said the students have been made to imbibe Abraham Lincoln’s saying that ‘it’s far more honourable to fail genuinely than to achieve a false win.”