New Telegraph

How Bridge Nigeria restored hope through education in underserved communities

 

Kayode Olanrewaju

Worried by tough setbacks and challenges facing under-privileged children in the society and the need to offer them a life-saving through qualitative education, Bridge Nigeria, a network of nursery and primary schools is not only providing children in underserved communities in Lagos and Osun states life changing education, but also offering the platform that puts them on a pathway to future success, irrespective of their socio-economic background.

As part of efforts to overcome such unique challenges faced by school children, Bridge Nigeria, according to its spokesman, Mr. Femi Awopetu, uses a teaching and learning approach that involves age-appropriate learning by adapting to a child’s level of understanding, identifying the readiness to learn, and then following the best-suited method of teaching.

Consequently, he noted that this personable approach had led many children from low-income families to earn grades that mark highly even on a national standard.

“As a matter of fact, some brilliant Bridge pupils from less-privileged backgrounds have scored top marks that have led to further educational opportunities. These include scoring near-perfect scores at the National Common Entrance Examinations, and receiving scholarships to aspirational secondary schools,” he added.

This is as a visit to a typical Bridge community shows that children who are faced with unique but related difficulties and whose lives are being transformed by the education at Bridge are being given hope to look beyond their prevailing socio-economic circumstances and dream of a better and brighter future.

For instance, he recalled that a Bridge pupil, Pwaakadi Sebastian joined Bridge Rahimi Oyo Academy in Morogbo Badagry after relocating to Lagos from troubled Borno State.

Awopetu stressed: “Unfortunately for Pwaakadi and her sister, Divine, their education was affected due to the insurgency, and so they were out of school. A church member, Mrs. Veronica Okwolo, whose children attend the same school introduced Pwaakadi’s parents to Bridge Nigeria and enrolled them at the Bridge school, having witnessed the transformational education provided by the school to her children.

“She recounted how her daughter, who is now in secondary school, lacked self-confidence and needed support before she joined Bridge and how she saw immediate impact within a year of enrolling her at Bridge.”

Also, the parent, Mr. Sebastian said: “Pwaakadi could not communicate effectively in English before she came to Lagos, even though she understands it. Now, her numeracy and literacy skills have really improved. She reads all by herself and does her homework herself. All thanks to Bridge teaching techniques.”

Recounting the laudable achievements of the organisation, Awopetu hinted that Bridge provides all-round support to the 46 Bridge Nursery and Primary Schools, located across Lagos and Osun states through a full-fledged support office team.

“Examples of the support range from the curriculum development and instructional design through learning innovation and interventions by the Academics team, to the oversight management of all the Bridge Academies by the School Team so as to drive learning outcomes while the Learning and Development Team provides coaching support and continuous training for teachers to develop new skills to aid effective teaching and learning,” he noted.

Meanwhile, another Bridge pupil, Bernice Daniel, a seven-year-old Primary Two student, whose mother is a petty trader was opportune to enroll at Bridge Awelewa School in Obadore Akesan, an underserved community in Lagos with the help of a church member who saw her selling with the mother during a Bridge organised outreach programme.

“Now, Bernice is in school learning and hopes to become a doctor in future. Her mother had always wanted her children to be part of the life changing opportunity that bridge offers to the community and can never be grateful enough for the opportunity given to her daughter.

“The once timid Bernice is now one of the top performers in her class. She oozes confidence and looks forward to going to school every day and learning with her friends. With the team of qualified teachers and a supportive Bridge Academy at her disposal, Bernice has been placed on the pathway of achieving her dreams and changing the narrative of her family,” Awopetu further added.

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