15 Facts to Consider Before You Register Your Child in a School (15)

This is the reason for which I was born and called of the Lord to plead the cause of the African Child through Social Empowerment Advocacy. My strategy is summed up in Enlightenment is superior to Enforcement. As a matter of fact enforcement is impossible without enlightenment. The rights of the African Child will never be protected except the custodians and the child are aware of their rights.
Still in the spirit of enlightenment, permit me to share with you the 10th fact you must consider before you register your child in a school: do they respect the right of the child to play and relate: child have the right to play and relate with one another. It is the beginning of their participation rights. It is a demonstration of adult’s commitment to the need of the child to be allowed to maximise his childhood. A child, who is not allowed to maximise his childhood loses his foundation for meaningful existence. It therefore means there is no foundation to build a meaningful adulthood. Children must be allowed to play and relate. You must therefore be interested in the commitment of the school you want to register your child to the right of the child to play and relate. You must look out for the environment of the school as regards its commitment to the right of the child to play. Do they have space for children to play? Is there space for track and field, football and other sporting activities? Do the school have robust plans for sporting activities including building teams in different sporting activities? Do they engage in sporting activities including organising their own inter house sport? This is important because the way school are built these days leave no room for children to express their rights to play.
The other issue to consider is if there is room for the children to relate. Children should be able to relate in the classroom and engaging in extra-curriculum activities like membership of clubs of interest. Allowing the children to relate also will include teaching them how to relate excellently and respectively with other children of same and opposite sexes without barriers.
At this point I will like to share an experience I had in primary and secondary school.
I started speaking from when I gained consciousness as a child. I have never been quiet. I think I must have picked that from my parents. Both of them were not quiet people. When I got to primary school I was still speaking. But as a child, the speaking was not structured, neither was discipline engaged. I mean, I spoke when it occurred to me. I spoke when people were not interested in listening. An outspoken child possesses strong tendencies to develop excellent interpersonal skills if well nurtured and guided. He will sustain the advantage of getting goals achieved through initiating and sustaining meaningful relationships.  
I was labelled, in primary and secondary schools, a noise maker and disturber. Now, noise makers met with strict punishment and public opprobrium. The truth was that ‘noise-making’ and ‘disturbance’ were like the sins of witchcraft in our schools and the commandment was ‘suffer not a noise maker or disturber to live in peace,’ They were often displayed and whipped on Monday morning before the assembly of students and teachers.  
The practice in my school(s) was that the names of ‘noise makers’ were written when the teachers were not in the class. In retrospect, I think what was tagged noise making was interpersonal engagement between children. The problem was that in trying to teach children to conduct themselves in an orderly manner, their intuitive leaning toward relating with their peers must not be tempered with by all means. It is my view that the lesson of orderly conduct cannot be communicated effectively without teaching the children interpersonal skills. To try to scare pupils with punishment for communicating with peers is to snuff out of the child’s interpersonal intuition. This becomes an attack in the child’s innate ability to socialise.
Therefore in registering your child in a school, it is important you ask question in this area. It is not enough to ask question, you must endeavour to visit and take time to observe how pupils are treated in this area. I urge you friends, Think the Child, Think Today, Think the Future. Have an INSPIRED day

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15 Facts to Consider Before You Register Your Child in a School (14)

Thank you for joining me today. I also thank all those who like and comment on this series. I pray that God will always grant us the wisdom to do all things in the best interest of the children He has blessed us with.

I am elated that we are getting close to the end of this series. Today I will share with you the 9th fact to consider before you register your child in a school: Is there room for freedom to learn? Concluding on the 8th fact, I addressed the issue of freedom of the workforce. I also stated that freedom is modelled and not taught. My goal here today is to define what I understand by education and see how you can ensure that the school in which you register your child has the capacity to educate the child.  I align myself with the submission of a school of thought that EDUCATION derives from the verb EDUCE, which means ‘TO DRAW FORTH FROM WITHIN.’ I agree totally with Muriel Spark, that ‘to me education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil’s soul.’

To achieve the foregoing, freedom demands that the child is studied by the teachers, whose primary responsibility is to discover the child and not to make the child into his/her image or the image of the school. The child is already made in the image of God. He is created a total being by God. He doesn’t need adjustment. His problem begins when the handlers think the child is incomplete and they want to install into him what they believe will make him total. They call it curriculum, discipline, examination and the rest of it. Unfortunately there is hardly an agenda to learn from the child through observing and listening to the child. They believe that the child comes to school empty and it is their role to stuff him with all he needs to make a difference in life. With this conclusion I differ. A child is not empty. He is born loaded. It is the responsibility of the custodians, parents/guardians and teachers to bring out to the knowledge of the child what is inside of him for his use and that of society.  That is why you can’t help the child until you learn of him and you learn from him. You must learn of him before you attempt to learn from him. As a matter of fact, it is impossible for you to learn from him if you have not learnt of him. Because when you learn of him, you will discover how to learn from him.

The school in which you register your child must understand the freedom, which a child deserves to make meaning of education. The school must understand that teachers are facilitators. They must not therefore fall in love with the sound of their own voice so much that they do not hear from the child. A good facilitator knows that learning is impossible without the active participation and contributions of the participants. The child is an active participant in learning. He is not a dumping ground. He has the rights to participate in matters, which concerns him including what he is taught and how is taught.  One of the four baskets of the right of the child is the right to participate in matters that concern him. The only foolish question a child will ever ask is the question, which the child is not allowed to ask. The school must create a tested machinery to deliberately spur the creativity of the child, which is the whole essence of learning.

When I talk about freedom, I talk about freedom generally and individually. The freedom to bring the best out of the child must take into cognisance the individuality of every child. There are no two children that are the same. The school system must be ready to deal with each child as individuals and give them the opportunity to flourish. There must be not attempt to compare children with each other.  The size of the class plays a major role in this. I will shed light on this later in the course of this series. I beg to sign out here. I will see you on Monday by the grace of God. Think the Child! Think Today, Think the Future. Have an INSPIRED day.

15 Facts to Consider Before You Register Your Child in a School (13)

Hello friends, sure you are doing well today. It is a great day for me when I see before me the best of opportunities to cause a change in the lives of our children.
Today, I will bring to conclusion the 8th fact to consider before you register your child in a school: consider the working conditions of service of the academic and non-academic staff. Having discussed remunerations and benefits, I think I should consider the environment of work. The first thing you must watch out for is the freedom of the workforce to be all that they can be. Are the teachers allowed to have their say even if they do not have their way? Is there a defined mechanism within the school system? Freedom of expression must be a cardinal principle of operation of any meaningful institution of learning.

Please note that one of the greatest gifts a child will leave an institution of learning with is his/her freedom of expression. Freedom of expression is not taught it is modelled by people and environment. The child is going to take after the prevalent environment. It is called socialisation. Environment is superior to rules. An institution, which is serious about freedom, will create an environment for it. The truth is that one of the entities, which leaders are afraid to liberate is the minds of the people. Until a leader becomes very secure in himself/herself, he/she will not allow the people to express the liberty their individuality deserves.

Freedom of expression is suppressed by charging an environment with fear. Fear and freedom do not co-exit. When fear takes total charge, it also takes away the presence of love. Without love, education is impossible.

Let me conclude by saying that when the conditions of service are not conducive, it creates instability. Instability will create a high staff turnover and this portends great danger for continuity in education of our children. I invite you to please think about these things. May God give us wisdom in all these. Do have an INSPIRED weekend.

15 Facts to Consider Before You Register Your Child in a School (12)

<Thank you for joining me here today. I feel greatly inspired to do this Social Empowerment Advocacy. I think this is an inspiration borne out of a God-ordained desire to be of inspiration to you all today.
Without giving in to much of preamble today, permit me to round up the 8th fact to consider before you register your child in a school. I identified the 8th fact as consider the working conditions of service of the academic and non-academic staff. I discussed with you largely on remuneration and work hours of teachers and other members of staff.
Today it is important that I consider other benefits, which creates stakeholders mentality in any organisation, including the school system. The word, ‘stakeholder’ is one of the most abused words in organisations. Leaders of organisations want the workforce to have stakeholder mentality without giving them any stake in terms of ownership and other benefits, which creates a stakeholder mentality. The truth of the matter is that until members of staff have a real stake in the system, he/she may not have a stakeholder mentality. I see many schools where the teachers and other members of staff cannot register their own children because they cannot afford the fees. The question I ask is that will the teachers and other do their work as a stakeholder when they know their own children cannot attend the school in which they sweat to give their best. How will they feel when they know that the children of the promoters of the school attend the school? You may want to find out what is the pension plan of the institution of learning. According to the Pension Reform Act, 2004, any organization with a minimum of 5 members of staff must follow the pension plan as laid out by the law. Please find below the highlights of the pension plan according to the provisions of the law:
 The Pension Commission regulates the pension administration
 The major operators are the Pension Fund Administrator (PFAs) and the Pension Fund Custodian (PFCs)
 The PFA is in charge of managing the pension fund it gets the people registered with it while the PFC just holds the funds the PFA has received
 Each staff is at liberty to choose the PFA of his choice and the company he works for cannot impose a PFA on him. He can also change PFAs if he so wishes.
 The minimum contribution is 15% of salary. 7.5% from the employee and 7.5% from employer. The employer can decide to contribute extra above the 7.5% if he so wishes.
 If the staff moves to a new company, he just informs the new company of his PFA and the new company would the start remitting his pension to his PFA.
 The employer can decide to bear the burden of paying the total pension of the staff i.e. the 15%.
 The pension payments are tax deductible i.e. they are treated like expenses by the company.
 In addition, every employer must take out an insurance policy for all staff.
Apart from the foregoing, you may want to find out what is the medical policy for the members of staff. How often are the remuneration and other benefits reviewed to meet up with a staff contribution and economic and political state of the nation? Please note that the ability of the school to meet the foregoing may be dependent of its size and financial prosperity. My conclusion however is that where there is a will for running an excellent institution of learning, there will be a written policy on staff working conditions(call it HR Manual), which may be implemented in phases as the school grows in economic strength.
There are people, who have been able to embrace higher values and have accepted stakeholder mentality because of their love for children and the future they see for themselves and their own children. This group of people are intrinsicly motivated on their job of giving a future and a hope to the children under their care. I must therefore say that this group of people are always very few within the school system, particularly in the Third World, where we live in the jungle and survival is the theme song of meaningful living for many. Therefore the destiny of the school system must not be built on the sanity of few but on a system of reward, which encourages service delivery from the heart. The school system must move from a winner-takes-all mentality to a win-win mentality.
I think I should round up on this issue of remuneration and other benefits part of the working conditions. Tomorrow, I will round up the 8th fact with a discussion on the premium the school places on freedom of its staff, which is a crucial part of conditions of service. Stay INSPIRED, it is a great week ahead.

15 Facts to Consider Before You Register Your Child in a School (11)

Hello friends, I am excited to be here this day to do this Social Empowerment Advocacy. Thank you for all your comments and likes. It is lifting that you come here daily to be blessed by what we do.

It is Friday and it is my last piece for the week. I will share with you the 8th fact to consider before you register your child in a school: Consider the working conditions of service of the academic and non-academic staff. One truth we must accept as a matter of necessity is that the working conditions have a fundamental role to play in the performance of the staff of any organisation. Input will always determine output. When I say conditions of service, I refer to work hours, remuneration, other benefits (including pension), retirement plan, freedom of expression, disciplinary measures and the rest of it.

What are the work hours of the members of staff including teachers? I recommend as daily work hours, 7 hours for teachers and 8 or 9 hours for non-teachers. I also recommend that if what whatever reason the members of staff are to work extra hours, they should be paid an overtime allowance.  Why did I recommend lesser work hour for teachers? It is because in most cases, their workload goes beyond the school hours. They would need to prepare for the next day. The truth of the matter is that preparation is very fundamental to effective teaching.  When the work hour is not respected teachers and others in the school system to not have time to prepare and rest for the next day of work and this has serious impact on their output and their output has unimaginable impact on the pupils. If for whatever reason the members of staff have to put in extra hours, I think they should be paid an overtime allowance.

The next issue is the nature of the remuneration. It has been said that good teachers are costly, but bad teachers cost more.’ The truth is that a school will always get the services of the kind of teachers it pays for. Better put, a school will always get the services of the kind of workforce it pays for. While there are many sources of influence to the child within the school system, permit me to focus more on the teachers. As far as I am concerned the number one client of a school are the teachers and not the parents. The teachers have direct link with the pupils on daily basis. The only product of the school is the pupil and the best advertisement any organisation can have is the state of its products.  Therefore, if the school wants to boast of good products, it must pay attention to the remuneration of teachers. It is important that teachers are well paid. It is not the case in this part of the world. Published on the website, http://www.worldsalaries.org is an article titled, Teacher Salaries – International Comparison. The article did a comparative analysis of teachers’ salaries in 26 countries.  The United States of America tops the international rating list. The average monthly salary of a teacher in the United States of America is put at $ 5, 266.  The teacher puts in 36. 6 hours weekly. His or her job descriptions include: (i) prepares annual programmes of work for classes in secondary education establishment; (ii) gives instruction and conducts discussions; (iii) maintains discipline in class; (iv) prepares, assigns and corrects exercises; (v) sets, administers and marks tests and examinations; (vi) reports on pupil progress to head teacher and parents. The last country rated is European country known as Romania. It is curious that no African country is rated.

I think this 8th fact is quite big. Please permit me to round it up here. I will continue here on Monday by the mercies of God. Have an INSPIRED weekend and stay INSPIRED.

15 Facts to Consider Before You Register Your Child in a School (10)

Yesterday, The TeacherFIRE™ Revolution was installed in Edo and Delta States. I was fuifilled that the fire is spreading. We owe it all to God, who causes us to triumph in all things. He opens and no man dares shut and when He shuts no man dares opens.

Today, I bring you the 7th fact you must consider before you register your child in a school: How do they recruit their teachers, care givers and others, who relate with your children. Please note that character is superior to expertise. It is true that when you say someone is an expert, he must have 3 attributes. The first is skill; the second is experience and the third is character. Zig Ziglar submits, ‘Character is the 5th and final part of the success formula. Without it, the best attitudes, the strongest skills, the most concrete philosophy and the most worthwhile objectives mean nothing. Not a single one of the prior 4 parts of the success formula will matter.’ It is not enough for a teacher, care giver or other people, who relate with the child to have skill and experience, the school must be interested in their character quotient. It must therefore put in place a credible process of character verification. A custodian of the child in school cannot give what he/she does not have. The goal of the school must be to reach the head and the heart of the child. The head is the seat of knowledge and the heart is the seat of compassion. To attempt to reach the head of the child without reaching the heart is to raise intelligent devils. Please permit me to submit that it takes expertise to reach the head of a child and it takes nothing but character to reach the heart of the child.

Having worked within the school system in the last 15 years, I have seen many experts in the school system without a pinch of character. I have seen teachers and care givers, who have been caught eating the food meant for their children. I have seen teachers, who exploit pupils. I have seen sexuality education teacher, caught molesting one of the children, he was supposed to be teaching. I have seen a situation where a 24 year old teacher was sacked in a school for sexually molesting a 6 year old girl and reported to the police. While, he was on bail, we discovered that the suspected teacher had been hired by another school.

The truth of the matter is that it takes time and patience to come across hands with character. It is our responsibility as prospective parents to ask the school, how their hiring policy, which takes into cognisance character verification. I sign out here today. Have an INSPIRED day.

 

15 Facts to Consider Before You Register Your Child in a School (9)

It is an exciting day for me as I had a wonderful time being ministered to this morning by the Maker of all souls, my God and my Father. The truth is that we are set for breaking new and higher grounds in the work He has magnanimously committed into our hands to be the hope and conscience of the African child. Our ultimate mandate is to become an independent regulatory body for institutions, who work with children and where custodians of the children work.  We are so confident that we are getting there faster than we have ever imagined or ask because the One, who mandated us is in the business of doing exceedingly, abundantly above, what we can ever imagine or ask according to the power He has mercifully deposited to dwell inside of us.

Permit me today to share with you the 6th fact to consider before you register your child in a School: Are they professional consciousness? Education is not for all comers. As far as I am concerned, it is the most delicate profession in the world. I think it is a responsibility you must be trained for if you must make positive and enduring impact in the lives of the children, except in very few cases, where one is gifted by nature to work in the educational sector without formal training. In such cases, such individual must have invested heavily in personal development in response to the call of God to teach.

Today, the whole idea that a teacher needs formal training to help the pupils is fading away. This is to the detriment of the child as it affects the quality of dissemination and the quality of dissemination affects the quality of assimilation and the quality of assimilation determines the quality of impartation and without impartation there will be no transformation, which should be the goal of education.

From crèche, pre-school, nursery, primary to secondary schools, you must be interested in the qualification of the hands, being deployed to give cares to your children. A care giver is not one because a school crowns him/her so. The school in which you want to register your child is not certified to train care givers. It is supposed to look for those, who have been trained and put them in care of your children. Please, also note that a person does not receive the capacity to give care because the school employs him or her to give care. Human beings and organisations alike cannot give what they do not have. A crèche was recently shut down in Belgium because it was not working with professional hands. Does the school in which you want to register your child work with professionals in teaching, child development, child psychology, child protection, child public health, child counselling and all. Beyond that does the school work with non-academic professionals in the area of administration, human resource, curriculum development, finance, security, school run management, including the employment of qualified automobile assistant, otherwise known as drivers and other critical areas.

Please note that the size of a school is not an excuse for not working with professionals. The truth is that when a school is committed to excellence, it will find the wise and cost effective ways to engage the services of professional and competent hands. The school may consider doing so on consultancy or part time basis, but it will not settle for less in the best interest of the child. I beg to take my leave. See you tomorrow. Have an INSPIRED Day.