By Seun Oladunjoye
A popular parlance says, “If education seems expensive, try ignorance.” This gives effect to the fact that there is nothing compared to education, which in return brings knowledge.
It is also like a driver who drives a vehicle taking its passengers to a certain destination. So, teachers are the drivers who drive pupils/students, the passengers in the vehicle of education to their various destinations of knowledge.
In the picture is also a very important and conspicuous element – battery (reading), without which the passengers of education cannot get to their desired destinations of knowledge.
Meanwhile, education here, as it stands will not be ordinary one, but a qualitative education through a thorough learning enhanced teaching and the level/conduciveness of reading.
With popular demand, Nigerian NewsDirect sought the views of some authorities and stakeholders in the education sector to drive home the point on the “Essence of Modern Library in Qualitative Education.”
The Founder, The Ambassadors Schools, an award winning school, Mr. S. Y. Osewa explicitly submitted that the environment plays a major role for the genius in a child to come out and that one important part of the environment in the school is the Library.
According to him, “The Library makes a whole lot of impact on the quality of education a child gets. This is because everything that comes out of you is the product of what goes inside of you.
“So, if there is a very good (modern) Library where the students can digest quality information, that which they digest will be their output.”
On why modern library is essential in qualitative education, Osewa therefore concluded that there is a very close relationship between the modern Library and qualitative education.
In another development, the former Vice Chairman, Nigerian Union of Teachers, now Head Teacher, Abati Primary School, Shasha, Akowonjo, Mr. Olaboye Hamzat agreed that we all know the uses and importance of library, as making the users of it to find out, in in-depth research manner, what we want academically.
According to Mr. Hamzat, ” in a layman perspective, teachers do assign the students to research on certain topic, which they make use of the library. This is part of education.
“So, through the use of Library, modern one so to say, you develop the students’ general intelligence rapidly.”
Also in his own view, the Headmaster, The GEM International Schools, Mr. Oyewole Akinloye referred to modern library as certainly a setup that enhances the development and academic capability of the students, in the sense that it actually brings in some of the latest development from different parts of the world.
“So, modern library comprises of e-learning, the ability of the students to actually access whatever information is being available for their colleagues all over the world. With this, there is no restriction to what they can learn and they can as well go out of the class to learn. It also enables them to know the standard obtainable anywhere in the world, which will actually enhance the quality of education they receive.”
Measuring Qualitative Education
Osewa said qualitative education is all encompassing, as it is not just an education that has got to do with only teaching, but the one that is all about teaching and ensuring learning takes place.
“When there is a system where a child learns and can put into practice what he or she has learnt, the qualitative education can be said to have taken place in that child.”
The school founder gave insight into the act of not just learning by hearing alone at The Ambassadors School, but that they engage in lots of practical that boost students’ learning ability.
He added that the school teaching system is not just teaching students to pass exams alone, but ensuring learning takes place and that whatever they learn, they can put into use any time, any day.
On his own, the former NUT Vice Chairman took qualitative education to be measured through the performance of the students and through the use of relevant instructional materials during the class teaching.
“The aspect of teachers is another way to measure how quality an education received is, in terms of the materials and different teaching methods they use in class, as we have different methods of teachings.
“That is to say, when the actual teaching methods are put in place in teaching the students in class, definitely there will be improvement, hence qualitative education.”
When painstakingly taking a look at what Nigerian education system had suffered in the past, in which the education gotten then was not enough in preparing for the challenges ahead, Mr. Akinloye of The GEM International Schools suggested that qualitative education must now be such that helps and being able to give the students enough space to operate, even in the nearest future – still being relevant in about thirty (30) years to come.
“As a result of what happened to us in the past, particularly to academic system in this part of the world, in which the education we got was not enough to prepare us for the challenges ahead, now for education to be qualitative, it must be such that will prepare the students for the coming challenges.
“For instance, many are jobless now, this is because it was not fine-tuned that a time we come that computer will be in vogue for almost everyone’s survival. But today, we discovered that when those things came in, a lot of people could not cope and favourably fit in, therefore it jettisoned whatever they might have known in the past.”
On how a modern Library should be
Osewa pictured that a modern Library must be fully air-conditioned, cool and a silent atmospheric condition for any child or student to come in and read for learning.
He said, “A modern Library, like the one we have here, must have a comfortable and conducive environment for studying. Apart from the environment, when you go round the shelves of a modern library, you must see that there are lots of resource and reference materials that students can research from, apart from the regular subjects they offer in class.
“We also have, on our shelves, literary fictions and non fictions materials, science facts, newspapers delivered everyday for the students to be exposed to a whole lot of information, among others.
“So, a modern library is one that can influence the children’s lives positively and that can also motivate learning and add to whatever the child is learning in school.”
Further corroborating, Hamzat said for a library to be modern, there must be provision of necessary instructional materials on all aspects of education, as the students will be able to lay their hands on them whenever they visit there for their various researches.
Very important here, he added that the students don’t only get what they wanted from their visit to the library, but they are also opportune to get what they did not know or might have not come across before through their research.
He said, “Also, a particular student as case study can be said to have gotten qualitative education, through his or her performance – I mean, output.”
The Headmaster of The GEM International Schools is not also left out, as he said aside a 24/7 internet connection for modern library, it must not be without having a comfortable chairs and tables.
According to him, “if you are not well relaxed, assimilation might be difficult to achieve, as this is just pointing at comfortability in general.
While picturing the serene environment The GEM is having for their modern library settings, Mr. Akinloye agreed that learning cannot take place in the atmosphere that is not conducive, especially being fully air-conditioned.
“Other complementing things are good and updated instructional materials, not jettisoning the fact that there are still some old books that are very useful and our library is always updated with newspapers.”
Schools without Library
Osewa was point blank on the issue of schools without library, as it is actually not a good idea because the student’s learning will only be limited within the classroom.
“Here, we don’t just give our children fish to eat, we teach them how to fish, in the sense that after they are taught in class, it is also expected of them to make further research to broaden their knowledge about a particular topic.
“The more they research, the more they become master in it; it will be very encouraging to have library in our schools, even some homes are having it, why will schools not have it?”
Therefore, Hamzat advised the students to make use of the library with passion, with a view to improving themselves, through which they will have quality and sound education.
While admonishing those at the helm of affairs of getting qualitative education on the essence of modern library, The Ambassadors Schools founder opined that after library is provided it should also be stocked with interesting and informative resource materials, so as to write off students complaints of no materials in the library.
“In our library, anytime we have new books, we do have book review by the Library Prefect, introducing the new books and also to spur the interest of the students to visit the library.”
“We always have few library competitions like best library user of the week, and winner of puzzle games, among others. These are means of motivating the students to using the library and reading.”
It will be recalled, according to this popular saying “when you want to keep something as secret for Nigerians, put it into black and white.” This implies that Nigerians are known for not used to reading.
Contradicting the above assumption, Osewa concluded that there have been lots of improvements, as students and Nigerians now give reading a place as a result of lots of efforts on motivation.
“The fact is that modern library has immense importance in grooming a student into getting qualitative education,”. Hamzat said.
Akinloye therefore saw the place of motivation and encouragement of the students as germane in nullifying the above insinuation.
“Sometimes, I have a student in my class who won’t sit down to study, so I had to enforce that he always get me one story daily. Not too long, it was discovered that because he wants to tell us his story, had loved to visit the library.”