After bagging first and second degrees in education and being involved in moulding the character and future of young ones for over 40 years by working in various schools, Mrs Folasade Phillips, has seen a lot to be an authority in school management and how to handle young ones. In this interview, she speaks on a number of issues relating to school management.
By Adesina Wahab
HOW did your journey in the education sector begin?
Well, I am a 1979 graduate of Education Science from the then University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun State. I later got a Master’s degree from the University of Lagos in 1988 and ever since I have been involved in education as a teacher. I did my National Youth Service Corps at Queen Amina College, Kaduna State and worked briefly in the old Oyo State before I joined the Lagos State Teaching Service Commission and I worked there till 1990.
During the period, I worked in a number of public schools.
In the early 1990s, private schools were just becoming popular in the country. In 1991, I joined Bells Secondary School, Ota, Ogun State as pioneer vice-principal. Then I was commuting to work in Ota from Lagos and my husband told me something that eventually came to pass. He said I should do the job diligently and that I would not need to seek for job again that job offers would be pouring on my laps and I would need to be making choices and that is what happened.
After Bells, the next job I got was to be the principal of Atlantic Hall in Maryland, Ikeja, Lagos. I didn’t apply. It was a friend who called me to come and meet some people in her place one weekend. I got there and we were just discussing about education generally and I was told I have been offered a job. I was there as the principal from 1994 to 2000. I moved to Trinity International College, Ofada, Ogun State as the principal from 2000 to 2010 and became an executive director in 2010 and retired in 2013.
After retirement, I relocated to the United States as I wanted to be close to my family members. After a few years, I got bored. I felt I still have more to contribute to nurturing children. I love to teach, inspire and nurture young people to become disciplined adults and teachers to become more professional and prepare them for leadership. I am proud to say I have achieved that. Teachers that I groomed have become top teachers in various schools. I was able to convince my family to let me start this project and luckily for me, they keyed into the project.
Why the choice of Iperu Remo as the location of the school?
Deciding where to locate the school was another factor. Is it in Lagos? Something jolted me to look at Iperu Remo. During the burial ceremony of my father here at Methodist Church, Iperu-Remo, the cleric that officiated urged us to start an educational foundation.
He said we are a family of well educated people and that struck me. So when the issue of location came up, my mind went to that and I told my husband that Iperu-Remo would be it and he agreed. Destiny helpers and people of like mind have been of considerable assistance.
As part of giving back to the society, we have some programmes for the community. We have the Angels of Light programme through which we give support to the elderly and we do that using churches. That is done regularly. We also have full scholarship for indigent students from this community. Through the Ministry of Education, we get indigent but brilliant final year primary school pupils discovered and we give them admission here.
Advice for government
Regarding the setting up of private schools, there should be some standards to be met. It isn’t that someone would rent a flat and pronto he has become a school owner.
Though all classes may not be built at once, there should be standard in the designs of the schools. For public schools, they are overcrowded and they need more facilities and teachers. Our curriculum should be redesigned and it is people who know about it that should be involved.
Children can be more focused and go in-depth if the subjects are not as many as they are now. Some subjects can be merged. We need to change what we teach and our teaching styles. Let the children do presentations in class. They will be confident and learn the art of speaking and even leadership skills.