Effortswill Academy, Ejigbo, Lagos, has been listed among the top 100 schools in Nigeria for five years consecutively. The over 35-year-old school and one of the pioneer private schools in Ejigbo, Lagos, is reputed to be among the best in primary school education. Mr. Adetayo Adeyemo, the director of the school, shares with Christian Benefits’ Babatope Adebayo the vision of the school to be the best for value, and also the unique propositions of the several academic and sports awards-winning highbrow school that competes among the best schools globally. Adeyemo says Effortswill is not just about education only, but also has a culture of sports. Excerpts.
Please, can we meet you?
I must first commend the name of the magazine, Christian Benefits. It is a wonderful name. It reminds us of what the idea of Christianity is, and our gain in this journey, which is the kingdom of heaven irrespective of the many things we achieve on earth I am Adeyemo Adetayo, Director of Effortswill schools. I have worked in Bank PhB, in consulting, different countries and traveled quite a bit to improve myself career wise. I am happy I got the exposure working and studying in other countries. It gives you that external experience that you would need to include in the running of this great institution.
What informed the establishment of Effortswill Schools, Ejigbo, Lagos?
Effortswill is over 35 years. We pride ourselves in being one of the best schools in Lagos. This is a second generation school. My father (God bless his soul) founded the school in 1987. However, the school was his wife’s pet project. It was her calling. She had been in education for many years before the school started. She runs the school from its inception. Her husband was supportive financially and morally, but was busy in his day job in an industry different from education.
How long have you been working with Effortswill Schools?
I joined Effortswill Schools 12 years ago. The school was founded when I was 11 years old. Coming in many years later demands a high sense of creativity and innovations by creating what is relevant in order for the school to remain relevant for another 35years as it were. I am happy my exposure and experiences in project management, finance sector and my academic qualifications round the world has really helped. I have worked under my boss who is also my mother for the past 12 years and she is still very much around as the proprietress of the school. We do not agree all the time, which is expected because we are from different generations. I guess it is in that kind of reality that we have and witnessed our growth. I can also learn greatly from those that have been doing it all their lives.
What is the vision that drives the school?
We have a strategic and mission statement that we change every 5 years. We aim to be the best school for value because if we can do all these at this bargain we can proudly say we have done well. That is why we have a very healthy population as we don’t have a free seat from crèche to SS3. It reminds me of the widow that was commanded to borrow not a few jars from her neighbors. The way we are at Effortswill, if we have another building of the present structure, it would be filled up. It’s a contract we have with God. We have been listed in the top 100 schools in Nigeria for five years consecutively which is a very wonderful award in terms of how it endorses the hard work we have done over the years and our innovations. However, I make bold to say we are not in the top 100 because we are the best school in Nigeria.
Can we have a look at the school’s structure and facilities that stands it out in qualitative education?
We have prototype buildings equipped with all you may expect for convenience for our pupils and students in terms of the conveniences, classrooms and other tangibles needed for academic growth and concentrations. We got two acres of land which we use for our parking spaces which makes us corporately responsible because we don’t cause traffic for whatsoever because all our parents can drive in and many of them can park their cars and return later to pick it. Aside these, we boast of a huge and humongous sports facilities that include lawn tennis, basketball court, swimming pool, a standard football field, ample space for recreation because all works and no play makes jack a dull boy. The basic unique identified proposition is in spite of all these facilities, space, experiences and academic focus that we have, we are the best for value. What people pay here for what they get when you compare it to other schools on that list, we are simply the best because if you are investing the price of a Passat car and getting the luxury of a Mercedes Benz , then BMW has nothing to say. Effortswill is not just all about education only as we have three of our students in NBA in America. We have a very strict culture in sports. As a matter of facts as a pupil or a student, you are exposed to any two from football, basketball, volleyball and baseball, swimming, chess, dance and drama, music, chess and lawn tennis every term with coaches. Our laurels are everywhere. Victory is now the minimum accepted standard in the school. We have the facility and the culture which guarantees the success.
Tell us more about the basic unique propositions of Effortswill Schools
Arguably we have the best primary six in Nigeria with evidence. Walk into any federal government college and ask for the senior boy or girl- Kings College, Lagos, Shagamu, East, West we have the best primary six. Many schools don’t have a primary six again. So, imagine why parents would allow their children study one more year with us. We have two arms of 52 primary six students as we speak. When all their peers and relatives are going to secondary school they are with us, yet they wait because once you finish the boot camp of primary six, and if you don’t want to go to boarding house for safety concerns, anywhere you go you are king and queen. Before you can get a challenge with mathematics, you have to get to SS1 because we have two wonderful teachers who have been with us for over 30 years. They are wonderful educators. The children carry huge bags and they come on Saturdays. It means a lot of hard work and that gives them that edge.
What are Effortswill students’ performance ratings in the last three WAEC?
We continue this culture in our secondary school WAEC results. Unfortunately in the secondary school arm it’s a little bit more difficult as we inherit children from other schools that don’t have our DNA totally. We have to start imbibing in them our culture. We have a duty to build them to the scholastic level we are known with. Our focus is solely on providing qualitative education. In lieu of this our WAEC results are very good but it is difficult to compare to primary six where we own those children entirely from the creche to primary six. We have exceptional WAEC and NECO results compared to other schools. We are very mindful of the Godly heritage the school is known for and as such we will never do anything associated with exam malpractices as we focus on hard work and quality teaching as it is a lot of work for SS3. It’s a boot camp for them as they resume 7a.m, evening classes and weekend teachings. So, when the exams come they have been adequately trained and they pass with flying colours.
With the recent unfortunate death of a Chrisland student, what is your view on the safety and security of the pupils/students in Nigerian private schools?
Safety, unfortunately schools have a lot of work to do. You might plan everything. You might have fire extinguishers and security at your gates, CCTV cameras and your staffs trained on all the necessary ingredients to protect you from any challenge whatsoever. However, that is sometimes not enough. Case in point is about a child that went for inter-house sports in another location. How can the school have predicted that a pop corn machine from a vendor or whatever it was could create such a fatality? Of course the school would get the blame but looking at it critically could the school have done anything to prevent that? It’s very sad! A life is lost as no parents would pray to weep seeing the death of their child and become sorrowful over such a huge loss. Having said this, sometimes it’s beyond the oversight or the focus of the school environment. But what can we do so that we try our best on our own side ever to make sure everything is taken care of. Security now is broken into two- internal and external threats. Internal threats we have bullying, a child falling down and having fracture. We have risks of falling from the stairs, electric shock, football fracture and many others. Effortswill over the years has learnt to create an environment where you can reduce this to the minimum. How safe is the environment? We have a swimming pool totally locked and opened. Only the life guard and coach are around. It is located in a place whenever you are in the school you can see it for proper and public monitoring. The second type of threat is external. There is kidnapping, children can be going home in the school bus something happens. Students can be going home in public transport and there is an accident. To an extent that is beyond the control of the school. Yes, the school manages the school bus and must be sensitive to all happening within it as it is our staff and property that is conveying the students safely to their various destinations.
Share with us Effortswill safety mechanism that guarantees the well-being of its pupils/students
Every holiday we have seminars not necessarily on safety, which has now become very necessary, but also on other grounds to keep them at par with current and global practices to efficiently do their work in order to satisfy our customers which are the parents. Safety in itself is a subset of that. We have fire people that come to train us and a muster point where we are all gather in case of emergency. We have a standard first aids facility with a certified nurse and a retainership from a hospital very close to the school. And of course, ultimately the watchmen watches in vain if God is not partaking in that particular project.
What safety and security measures should private school owners put in place in ensuring the safety and security of the pupils and students in their custody?
Private schools owners should increase the level of sensitivity concerning security situations around them and put in place necessary systems around them that would help them deliver on the security expectations because the situations in Nigeria is not peculiar to schools alone.
What should be the roles of parents and guardians in ensuring the safety and security of their wards while in the custody of their private schools?
Parents and guardians should be interested in partnering with the school in creating strategies and working out policies that won’t put their children at the point of danger. Some children have already been exposed to danger at home, and a security hazard happens in school every one would be shouting that it happened in the school forgetting the source of the threat was from the home. Anything that would jeopardize the successful implementations of the security policies should be disregarded. Security starts from the home.
What measures should the government and the National Association of Proprietors of Private schools put in place in ensuring that private schools owners are not careless with the safety and security of the pupils and students in their care?
In situations like accidents in public transports or kidnapping and other dangerous occurrences we unfortunately have in this country, we have to partner with government agencies and the community to continue to create strategies where safety is seen not only as the responsibility of the school but as that of the parents, the community and the citizens of this great country. Association of proprietors of private schools must also organize training and make sure there is a standard safety guideline where schools can network and learn from one another. The association should also create support systems for schools
Lastly what is your advice to your fellow private school owners in ensuring the safety and security of students or wards in their care?
The child in your care should be seen as your child because once you see them as your children you will deal with everyone as your children. You will protect them with all you have. In Effortswill every child is our child.