Mrs Christiana Ebiai is the Principal of Regent College, Abuja. Before now, the highly-respected educationist has served as principal in five different private schools. In this interview with FELIX KHANOBA, she speaks on the need for parents to expose young children to colleges that run internationally accredited Advanced- level (A-level) examination programmes before sending them to foreign universities, among other issues.
On the qualifications and experience that landed her the position of principal in the high-flying Regent College, Mrs Ebiai, who is currently undergoing a PhD programme, said her sojourn in the field of education which began 40 years ago, and the stints as principal in other schools played a major role.
“I entered into the field of education 40 years ago fresh from Lagos Anglican Girls’ Grammar School. I taught Literature and Integrated Science for one year as one of the pioneer teachers of a grammar school in (Old Bendel State) Edo State, I later went to University of Ife to acquire a Bachelor’s degree, then to University of Lagos for a Post Graduate Diploma in Education and a Master of Education in Comparative Education, I am presently studying for a PhD in Comparative Education which I should achieve in the next one year to cap it all.
I have been a principal for 18 years in five different private secondary schools and a private primary school in Nigeria,” she said.
Asked on the quality of education that holds sway in Regent College, she said as a unique curriculum based sixth form college, it provides high-class education and partners with some foreign institutions on its programmes.
“It is a world class sixth form college that is accredited by the Cambridge International Examinations for the conduct of Advanced Subsidiary and advanced level examinations. We are in partnership and affiliation with the top 5 per cent of world universities for feeder University Foundation Admissions (UFP) in many sought-after fields of practice. Our college is also an accredited Universities and Colleges Admissions Service centre (UCAS).”
According to the educationist, there is need for parents to first embrace sixth form colleges for their young children before thinking of sending them abroad for degree programme.
“The minimum age of admission to study a degree programme in the university is at least 17 years by the third week of September in the year of admission. Hardly do you find a year 11 or SS3 student that is 17. Their average age range is 14-16. You will agree with me that it is a big gamble to release a young child into the world to depend on his own devices because if a child is sent abroad too early, distraction and peer influence can lead to the de-railing of such a child.
Many parents make the wise choice of having their children attend a sixth form college in Nigeria so they can play a supervisory role in these crucial 1 or 2 years leading to university entry.
Another advantage for parents is that the fees you are required to pay in Nigeria would be on the average, about 10 per cent of the fees you would have had to pay for the very same quality of education outside the shores of Nigeria and the money you will save in these 1-2 years can be ploughed back to extend the child’s stay to the master’s level,” she said.
On the school curriculum, Mrs Ebiai said Regent College curriculum stands it out from other sixth form colleges.
“Our curriculum is constructed to groom leaders that will bring about positive change tomorrow. Our students will imbibe an experiential leadership oriented curriculum that is geared to build a mind-set of change and the willingness to affect the future of Nigeria positively. They would know their country and its neighbours and place them in a comparative perspective with the countries they aim to proceed to for studies, to extract workable African solutions for Nigeria. Our college is designed to be an academic think-tank for the youth where academics will be pursued at a vertex point but the ideals required for achievement and change will not be left un-touched,” she said.
She also bared her mind on the quality assurance measures in the College to always ensure best form of education.
“We have put together a carefully selected faculty with the right disposition and passion for student achievement who are also skilled in the application of modern educational technology application. Our faculty are very experienced and acknowledged top achievers in their individual subject areas. They will challenge the students and broaden their intuitive and cognitive development skills as they bring their individual exciting approaches to the administration and delivery of their subject matter.
In addition to this, our UK partners will compulsorily visit our college for teacher training at least twice a year, the curriculum is the same as the one our partner institutions deliver, the exams are the same, and a marks scheme is provided for uniformity and standardisation between our college and that of our partners. Furthermore, our teachers will visit the UK school now and then for immersion and on-the- job observation and training.”