By Yinka Fabowale
My son, Oluwamayowa, began his secondary education career years ago with an impressive academic result, leading the entire Junior Secondary School (JSS) 1 of a reputed boarding school in Oyo, in the first term mathematics test.
By the turn of the session, however, the boy’s performance had incredibly and disappointingly sagged to place him among the back-benchers in his class.
I withdrew him from the school after realizing I might have made a mistake sending a boy of his age, unschooled and inexperienced in the old ways that toughened and helped those of my era to assert and exercise independent thoughts and actions.
In my search for a good school he could attend as a day student for thorough supervision, a friend, Charles,Olutayo Adesina, a history professor at the University of Ibadan, recommended Adesina College, Akobo, Ibadan.
The name of the school, founded by Mr. Adejare Adesina (no relation of Prof Adesina himself) appeared innocuous among the top league of secondary schools in the city.
But Tayo assured me: “The fees are modest, but their academic standard and level of discipline are top-notch!”
These were soon confirmed by my investigation and reports about the school reputed to post 100 percent passes or about so of the candidates presented for both the junior and senior West African School Certificate Examination and other external exams yearly!
An external invigilator reported how the school proprietor who doubled as principal dealt a WASCE candidate a hot slap for trying to borrow an eraser from a classmate in the exam hall!
When the invigilator tried to make excuses for the pupil “that he was merely trying to borrow an erazer”, the principal was said to have retorted in indignation “We didn’t bring them up like that. They were taught to be independent and self-reliant. He (pupil) knows he should have brought everything he needed.”
The invigilator said that save for this singular incident, he was impressed by the conduct of the students, and the staff and management of the school, adding that no one cheated at the WAEC examination centre.
Indeed, according to him, it was the first place and the first time in all his years of invigilating WASCE/SSCE that he would not be offered a bribe to look the other way so the candidates could cheat to pass.
I had him and his mother weeping when I insisted my son must repeat JSS1 while we awaited the result of the tests to determine if he could be placed in JSS2.
Foundation, being rock-solid matters to me.
Even though he was promoted to the next class in his former school, the grades were just too weak for me to accept that he continued his learning on a wobbly foundation.
But, I relented when the teacher who administered and marked the papers returned and assured me that his performance was good enough and that he could cope with the help of the regime they operated in the new school.
Fast-forward, the boy graduated with a BSc in Computer science from UI last month!
Others who passed through Adesina College are all flying the school’s flag in different fields and all across the globe. And I really mean, across the globe, winning awards, scholarships, and other honors. Such is Aanuoluwapo Adesina, my friend’s son, who went from making a First Class from Coventry University, in the United Kingdom to winning awards for poetry and writing and publishing an amazing collection entitled: “Emocions”
Aanuoluwapo incidentally is the son of my friend who showed me the path to Adesina avenue of quality learning and character molding.
And for how much?
A mother told me that she paid the same fixed term fee throughout the years her children spent in the school, which was far less than the tuition charged in the upscale nursery/primary school the youngest of them attended before being admitted into Adesina College.
Like many parents, I too ensured that I utilized the privilege of paying less for the ultimate to the fullest, although I often wondered how the school broke even, as it hardly increased tuition fees.
All my children attended the school.
What’s the secret of this great school?
The corps of well-trained, highly qualified, and dedicated teachers? Perhaps, yes.
But the moving spirit itself was the founder and principal, whom, I joined a crowd of mourners in bidding farewell to the great beyond today.
Adesina was the school and the school was him. He ran it 24/7, even when the students and teachers had retired to their respective homes.
An uncompromising disciplinarian, he held his pupils and their parents to the utmost responsibility and the highest standard of regular school attendance, punctuality, and discharge of class assignments. Incredibly, he knew and called everyone by their name, despite the huge population of the school likely to be about 300!
The school principal had his office situated as the first as you enter the school compound. Hence, there was no chance of late-comers escaping detection and punishment which invariably came in the form of several lashes of the cane or painful twisting of errant students’ ears!
Parents dared not try to plead for their children with excuses that being the ones who normally brought them to school, they were to blame for their lateness. You got the raw side of the otherwise polite, personable, super-efficient, and energetic old teacher; and possibly watch your wards punished even more for it.
Adesina sank his time and energy into developing his charges academically and morally. He was more than an entrepreneur, he was a mentor who dreamt of shaping the destinies of the young ones and building them up into armaments to positively impact the world.
Spartan in outlook and lifestyle and with single-minded devotion to his mission, he reminded one of another iconic educationist and founder of the famous Mayflower School, Ikene, the late Tai Solarin.
A measure of the value of his life and deeds, is perhaps, reflected in how his students and their parents, indeed stakeholders in the education sector in Oyo State have been mourning his passage these past weeks.
Adieu, noble spirit. May you be granted helping love and support to continue to serve and make an even greater impact in the luminous realm of your maker.