Teach For Nigeria (TFN), a non-profit organisation focused on building a movement of leaders with a commitment to improving foundational learning outcomes and life opportunities for low-income children across Nigeria has graduated its fourth cohort of fellows.
The graduation ceremony which took place in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital recently had industry experts, partners, alumni, and stakeholders in attendance.
Amongst the dignitaries that witnessed the event are Olusegun Obasanjo, the former president of Nigeria, Folashade Adefisayo, the commissioner for education, Lagos State and Abayomi Arigbabu, the Ogun State commissioner for education, who was ably represented respectively.
Folawe Omikunle, the chief executive officer at TFN speaking at the ceremony explained that both the cohort and the Nigeria fellows made a massive impact across the country in schools and communities.
“This cohort is the largest and most diverse cohort at Teach For Nigeria fellows and they made a tremendous impact in their schools and communities.
“We recorded significant gains in academic and non-academic outcomes in the schools, impacting over 70000 pupils even as the world experienced learning losses.
“It is a big feat for the graduating fellows, as not everyone who started with the cohort made it through. 385 out of the 417 appointed fellows chose to stay through despite the challenges of COVID-19 and in the space of 2 years, have left an indelible impact on their communities,” Omikunle said.
Abubakar Suleiman, the chief executive officer of Sterling Bank in his commencement speech while encouraging the graduating fellows to keep up the good work.
“You might have started small, but I need you to think big in your next phase. Do not think that your job is done. Imagine that the world is waiting to support your dreams.
“You must step out and you must continue your journey. Think of how you will inspire and encourage others by sharing your stories with them. No matter how big your dreams are, remember that there are people who will support you.”
According to Gbenga Oyebode, the chairman of the board of TFN, who was represented by Alero Ayida-Otobo, “TFN is a platform on which greatness stands and from which greatness impacts the community. I have seen so many alumni of TFN doing amazing things.
“The first cohort in 2017 graduated 44 fellows but today we are graduating 385 fellows. Teach for Nigeria is an incubator that prepares its fellows for greatness.”
“When you leave, you leave as a force for a change. Together, all of us are changing the narrative of education inequity and raising a generation of new primary school students.”
Meanwhile, Obasanjo in his speech emphasised the importance of providing educational opportunities for people to maximise their innate potential.
According to him, “There is nothing more frustrating than having the capacity and no opportunities. Education for children, youths, and adults should be limitless.
“There is no one who is born without an element of innate capacity which has to be developed and if the person does not go to school, the development of that innate capacity will be hindered.”
Omotoyosi Idris, a graduating fellow, expressed gratitude for the opportunity to pass through the fellowship.
“I can’t tell my success story and journey without mentioning my experience at Teach For Nigeria. It changed my perspective on our society and made me realise that I was the change.
“During the fellowship, I launched the Hale and Hearty initiative focused on improving the education and health conditions of kids in underserved communities.
“So far, we were able to set up and equip a sick bay accessible to 450 direct beneficiaries including learners and school staff. We also conducted free medical outreaches like malaria tests, dental checks, and diabetes tests in the community.
“I am motivated to do more for my society and I look forward to hearing about our exploits in the different sectors in Nigeria,” Idris said.
The graduating class comprised 385 fellows who served in 279 schools across Lagos and Ogun states reaching over 77,000 students in underserved communities.
Over 300 change makers will join the Teach for Nigeria alumni network and continue to build on their initiatives to expand educational outcomes for children in underserved schools.