Welcome to this page today. Good to know that children returned to school this week. Protection issues keep coming up. Most rampant are cases of kidnapping, sexual, physical and emotional abuses. Our field experiences in the last 14 years have shown that the most effective antidote is enlightenment as we do here weekly.
So as the schools resume, our major interests as stakeholders in the life of the child (parents, guardians, school owners, teachers and all) should be if our schools are prepared to protect the children.
On our part, we have continued to reach out teachers in schools with our TeacherFIRE™ program, aimed at raising the consciousness of teachers on child protection. Why teachers, you may ask? The Economist Magazine of January 4, 2011 provides an answer, “BUDGET, CURRICULUM, CLASS SIZE– NONE HAS A GREATER EFFECT ON A STUDENT THAN HIS OR HER TEACHER.”
In the pursuit of the foregoing, we have taken the protection message to more than 3,000 teachers within and outside Lagos in the last 1 year both in private and public schools. The program has been hosted by Lagos Empowerment and Research Network (L.E.A.R.N), a non-governmental organization initiated by the First Lady of Lagos State, Dame Abimbola Fashola on April 15, 2010 for 600 public school teachers in Lagos State.
I make bold to say today without fear and favour that the program, which is highly commended and recommended by UNICEF’s Education Specialist has become a credible yardstick to measure teachers’ child protection compliance in public and private school today.
As you are urged to ask your children’s schools if they are TeacherFIRE™ compliant, joint me as we continue our journey with the 17th human hindrance to the protection of the rights of the child.
17 IMPROPERLY CONSTITUTED SCHOOL BOARD: a board is the mind of a company or organisation. The peace of a company or organisation is dependent on the soundness of its board, both in terms of integrity, intelligence, skill and experience. Therefore the area of core business of a company should determine the membership of the board.
For example, the law firm that I led registered businesses, incorporated companies and social works for clients. It is a non-negotiable requirement of the Corporate Affairs Corporation that for you to register a professional organisation either as company or social work, you must have an expert in the area of your endeavour on your board of directors or board of trustees.
It has been found that beyond meeting the requirement of the Corporate Affairs Commission, many schools do not take time to select the board members of their schools according to the needs of the child for excellent, enduring education and the best interest of the child. It is common practice today for schools to be run by one-man board or in some cases by a board of two. Many are schools that are run by a passive board.
Many schools, who make this mistake, do not understand that the dividends of a school system are the lives changed and that they have a duty to give to the society finished products and not factory rejects. Since the board represents the mind of the school, a school without a properly constituted and active board cannot boast of proper policies, which protect the interests of all and every area of the life of the child. I must quickly add, before I leave this point that it is the responsibility of parents to find out what and how a school is being run before registering their children there.
18. THE HEAD TEACHER: A HEAD teacher is the one, who doesn’t understand that he has a responsibility beyond ministering to the head of the child. He focuses on the head and doesn’t care about developing the heart of the child. He does not understand that he is a social worker in whose hand lie the responsibility to develop a complete child, the head and the heart.
The head of the child is touched with knowledge while the heart is touched by compassion. Thus Roosevelt said and I verily believe him, ‘nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.’ The HEAD teacher does not understand that when the head is full of knowledge and the heart is not refined, the head uses the knowledge against its owner, against his family, against fellow children and against the society. Someone said intelligence without emotional balance will lead to wickedness. My teacher in Primary 3 did not understand the difference between being a HEAD teacher and a HEART Teacher. I will share with you my story in full next week.