EducationOpinion

OPINION: Grace Schools and the edge of qualitative education

By ‘DEJI AYOPO

When Malcom X said “education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare it today,” he knew exactly what he was saying. And this saying couldn’t be truer for the late Deacon Bisola Osinowo who, way back in 1968, founded the primary arm of Grace Schools, which has now become a big, significant presence in Nigeria’s education firmament, to provide quality education to Nigerian children irrespective of social background. That foundation she laid several years ago is now a befitting edifice for academic attainments.

Grace schools (primary and secondary, with secondary coming on strea in 1994) founded by the late Deaconess Grace Bisola Osinowo is a school with a remarkable difference. The founder, knowing the importance of education, had to establish the secondary arm as the primary arm was founded in 1968. She defied all the odds to ensure that she left a worthy legacy by contributing her quota to educational development in Nigeria.

Today, Grace Schools stands tall amongst its peers as a reputable citadel of learning, focused on providing qualitative education to its students. Needless to say that the school has, over time, become a reference point in primary and secondary education in Nigeria.

Corporate social responsibility

Mrs. Tokunbo Edun

What is spectacular about Grace Schools located in Gbagada, Lagos, is not only that it provides quality education to its students but also, perhaps even more so, because it pays much attention to the needs of the community where it operates with a view to meeting such needs under its corporate social responsibility programme. According to Mrs. Tokunbo Edun, the Executive Director, Grace Schools demonstrates social conscience by providing for the needs of the various schools and students it has over the years supported through its CSR initiatives.

But more importantly, says Edun, Grace Schools is poised to support the government in improving the standard of education in the country, a task that falls within its strategic vision of embarking on initiatives that will enhance qualitative education in Nigeria. Because, according to her, government alone cannot fund  adequate and high standard education in Nigeria, especially in terms of providing support to indigent students. And that’s where Grace Schools’ CRS programme is most evident as the school boasts a laudable scheme of support to indigent students from th communities around where it operates.

Thus, Grace Schools continues to provide annual scholarship to indigent students. According to Mrs. Edun, such scholarship awards are designed to provide succour the less privileged in the society, explaining that the annual educational scholarships to indigent students would certainly enable them have access to qualitative education regardless of their background. This is one area that the school becomes socially responsible by helping the less privileged in the society.

Covering SS1-SS3, the scholarship, according to her, is worth over N1million per session and covers tuition, boarding fees, exams fees, books, uniforms etc. for the entire duration of an awardees senior secondary years.

So far, over 30 students have benefitted from the awards since its inception in 2004 while over N100m has been invested in the scheme by the school.

The renowned educationist said the award was instituted in honour the late founder of the school, Deaconess Grace Bisola Oshinowo and has become an annual event to support the less privileged in the society.

Edun says that beyond passing the entrance examination, there are other parameters used to ensure transparency in the processing of the scholarships. One of these is that the background of the students is actually poor as the school’s management visits the recipient’s family before the final presentation.

Foreign affiliation

Grace Schools has a partnership agreement with Loyalist College, Ontario Canada, the first of its kind with any Nigerian school. The agreement stipulates that Grace Schools as the official representative of the Ontario, Canada-based College, can admit students for the first year of their study before proceeding for completion of their education. This partnership clearly positions Grace School as reference point in providing world class education.

International School Award

Grace Schools is also a recipient of the prestigious British International School Award, based on the successful completion of an impact evaluation on the school’s international work to the British Council.

The International School Award rewards schools that have shown a commitment to embedding international awareness and understanding within their school.

Schools are encouraged, through British Council support, towards completing collaborative, curriculum-based work with a number of international partner schools and involvement of the wider community.

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