Commissioning of new annex: Buhari, Bunvic, Aale, applaud Zoe Schools as Ayede Poly rector harps on technical skills
Zoe Schools, Ogbomoso, was a recipient of humongous applause Monday as it commissioned a new annex (Citadel of Grace) at Irewolede Estate, Ogbomoso.
Aale of Okelerin, Oba Samuel Babatunde Amao; Dr Abdulfatai Buhari, senator representing Oyo North senatorial district; Hon Segun Odebunmi, representing Surulere/Ogo-Oluwa federal constituency; Dr Taofeeq Adekunle Abulhameed, rector, Federal Polytechnic, Ayede; Mrs. Oyeyemi Ojo, Inspector General Ministry of Education, Ogbomoso Zone 1; and others at the event all heaped encomiums on the founder and proprietor of the school, Rev’d Niyi Adebayo and his wife, Grace, the management, staff and students for their efforts in making the school a force to reckon with as reflected in the performance of students during the memorable event.
This is just as Dr Abdulhameed, Ayede Polytechnic rector, who was guest speaker, hammered on the imperative of acquisition of technical and vocational skills as panacea to Nigeria’s industrial stunted growth noting Nigeria cannot develop unless it goes the direction of technical and vocational education.
Zoe Schools, a privately-owned multi-campus fortress of learning founded on September 13, 2004, as Zoe Crèche, Nursery and Primary Schools at Isale-General, with 13 pupils, and with secondary school section – Zoe College – begun on September 15, 2008 with 31 students, has grown in leaps and bounds to becoming a school boasting six locations and which is high flying. It has forced itself into reckoning rubbing shoulders with the best in the land.
According to the proprietor, Rev’d Adebayo, who is also the founder and lead pastor of True Worshippers Church, Oke-Anu, the seventh branch at Mooro, in Surulere local government area of Oyo state, will soon take off, saying this is in adherence to the philosophy of the school, which is being close to their students.
Innovatively, its authorities adopted nom de plume for each branch which includes Peace Branch at Isale-General, Joy Branch at Orogun and Zoe Flourish at California for the primary section, while for the secondary section, it has Zoe Grace at Irewolede Estate, Zoe Wisdom opposite Alata Flour Mills, Abaa and Zoe Praise at Naira Motel area.
The coordination, discipline, focus and striking performance demonstrated by its students during the exciting event no doubt inspired the avalanche of praises from the various dignitaries.
“It is quite fantastic indeed. I am impressed. That is the summary of it all. The authority of Zoe International School, they are building nations just as it is said by Kabiyesi. I am impressed even the students, their performances, did you see the way they were displaying knowledge?” This was the remark of the rector of Federal Polytechnic Ayede, Dr. Abdulhameed, when asked to give an assessment of the school during an interview with newsmen after the event.
Senator Buhari while speaking noted, “I am shocked by your humble beginning, perhaps that is what motivated your desire to give back to the society.” He obviously said this in reference to the hard life of the youth of Niyi Adebayo as highlighted in the programme bulletin, specifically his missing higher institution despite several university admissions because he couldn’t raise money and so had to resort to all manner of demeaning menial jobs such as being farm labourer, hawker of nylon packaged water (forerunner of sachet water) at motor parks, tipper truck (sand) loader and so on.
Continuing the chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport stated, “You might not know the impact of what you are doing until these kids grow up. Whenever anyone is doing anything, he is not doing it actually for anyone but for himself.”
Corroborating the need to boost technical education in Nigeria, the former House of Representatives member maintained that acquisition of technical education will form the basis of Nigeria’s economic growth.
Hon Odebunmi popularly called Bunvic impressed by the school expressed regret he had not partnered with them earlier on while assuring he would see to whatever can be done in the area of interventions from both government and individually though noting the rules forbid facilitating government intervention to the private sector.
Oba Amao, Aale Okelerin, who graced the programme with his wife, Olori Deborah Ojuolape, similarly commended and congratulated the proprietor of the school, asserting he is building nations and wished him greater successes.
Mrs. Oyeyemi Ojo in her speech presented on her behalf by a Director, Mrs. Fabeku, also submitted that the ministry of education is enthused by the strides of Zoe Schools “and by their concern for the upbringing of the young ones.”
Ojo further praised the school stressing, “You have been cooperating with us, it is not in your character to give us trouble,” though she did not expatiate on what kind of cooperation or trouble she meant.
While saying the environment is conducive she charged students “to maximize the available opportunities so you can excel.”
Earlier, the administrator of the school, Mr. Ebenezer Ayobami Alao, informed that the school despite having the doors of government’s grant or assistance shut against it, has 168 staff both teaching and non-teaching including 104 graduates in its payroll, expressing gratitude to Niyi and Grace Adebayo.
He unveiled the project due for commissioning “as a modern building of four blocks comprising 11 classrooms, one main school hall, one mini hall, two offices, one equipped ICT hall and one major laboratory.”
Rev’d Adebayo in his address disclosed the laboratory and ICT/CBT Centre is dedicated to the woman under whom he honed his skills as a private school teacher and later owner, Dns. Maria Aduke Ajagbe, the late proprietress of Aduke Goodness and Mercy School whom he said “exposed me to tough leadership and administrative obligations in school management.”
He asserted it was not easy maintaining a staff strength of 168 in view of the economic situation of Ogbomoso and Nigeria in general however expressing belief that “better days are ahead.”
The cleric emphasized the school offers qualitative education with bias for technical cum vocational education, underlining, “In Zoe College, students must graduate with two certificates, one in their academics and the other one from one or more vocations of their choice.”
To underscore the fact of the school being a prime choice of parents and students he informed that two weeks into the new session they had shut door of admission against prospective students for lack of space thus appealing to the august guests for assistance either from their private pockets or from government. To this a number of guests hearkened with handsome donations while the impracticability of facilitating government grants or projects to a private establishment was re-emphasized by both Senator Buhari and Hon Odebunmi.
In his lecture, titled, “Technical Education in Nigeria: Problems and Prospects,” Abdulhameed noted that Nigeria’s economic plan had woefully failed and “unless you have technical and vocational skills you won’t have a job. Many graduates from the best universities are without jobs today,” saying however it was not like this in the past just as he lauded the employment of 168 staff at Zoe Schools.
The former Dean of School of Engineering Technology, Federal Polytechnic Ede, Osun state, therefore urged Nigeria needed to go the direction of technical education, positing, “We should give priority to technical education. The youths should acquire vocational skills. Go to Singapore, go to China, vocational skill is the secret of their success.”
He charged the students not to be contented with only theoretical knowledge but by what they could do with their hands and to avoid the pitfall of hankering after money early in life or illicitly.
The Ayede Polytechnic pioneer rector affirmed technical education is the “in-thing if you want to make it.”
He added, “A craftsman in China earns far more than a professor in Nigeria, 5 times higher,” while canvassing a holistic educational reform in the country.
The event also featured final rounds of Senator Fatai Buhari’s Talk Show and Hon Segun Odebunmi Bunvic’s Kiddiz Spelling Bee, with the winners receiving generous rewards.
The outgoing senior girl, Favour Ogundiran charged her colleagues to be “tenacious, strive to overcome challenges, be close to God and be like candle that lights the world.”
Oke Isaac, the alumni president, speaking through Damilola Adeniran said the “love for our alma mater is alive in our heart,” while the vice president, Rachael Adelani, performed the induction ceremony of the fresh graduates into the alumni body.
The final phase saw Bunvic and Buhari commissioning the projects followed by an inspection of facilities.