By Kofoworola Belo-Osagie
ANUOLUWAPELUMI Dawodu is headed for Queen’s College, Yaba when school resumes and it is a big deal to her family and school.
Getting admitted into the 94-year- old school on merit is no mean feat considering it is one of the most sought-after of the 104 Federal Unity Colleges across the county.
The 12-year-old girl scored 186 out of 200 (93 per cent) in the National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE) written last October to earn her place.
Her mother, Mrs. Abimbola Dawodu has her school, Bridge International Academies, a network of nursery and primary schools that serve low-income communities across Lagos and Osun States to thank for it.
Anu was the best female pupil among those presented by her school for the examination. The best pupil was Shiji David Showemimo, who scored 190. Shiji has been offered admission to King’s College, Lagos.
Mrs Dawodu, a foodstuff seller, said she was glad she eventually chose Bridge for her daughter. Even after hearing about the school from a community ambassador, she said she was not decided until she heard a friend’s testimonial about the school’s method of teaching and quality of teachers.
“Looking back, I am happy I made the decision to enrol them at Bridge because ensuring that our children have the best education foundation and are set for a successful future and a good quality of life was what my husband and I wanted for them,” she said.
Writing the examination at a period the COVID-19 disrupted the school calendar meant that Anu had to study mostly from home. However, she said the support she got from her school went a long way to help her prepare.
“I was always reading and studying with the daily lessons provided by Bridge,” said the girl who hopes to study Archaelogy.
The school supported all primary six pupils with free common entrance prep questions, in addition to the daily lessons in the @Home remote learning programme which include learning guides, self-study activity packs, digital storybook library and free mobile interactive quizzes designed to keep children learning throughout the pandemic.
Anu was not a lone performer. According to information on the school’s website, the 112 pupils from all Bridge Academies presented for the examination, performed well above the national average.
It says: “2020 is the second consecutive year that Bridge Community school pupils sat for the Common Entrance Exam.
“In total 112 pupils sat the exam (58 girls; 54 boys) from some of the most impoverished communities in Lagos and Osun states, including Ikorodu and Awoyaya. The number of children sitting the exam was an increase of 100 per cent compared to the previous year. This is despite the challenges experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in Nigeria.
“In 2020 the minimum aggregate marks for selection under national merit was 142 out of a total possible score of 200 marks.
“62 per cent of Bridge pupils surpassed the Lagos State Unity Schools’ cut off mark. Bridge pupils outperformed the national average by 23 percentage points.”
The Academics Director at Bridge Lagos, Mrs. Rhoda Odigboh, said the school believes any child can excel regardless of their background if well taught.
“Our teachers must take some credit for the success of their pupils. The learning gains continually evidenced by our pupils are as a result of the dedication, passion and hard work by our teachers who are at the heart of our mission of delivering a life-changing education for children.”
“The success our children have achieved in the national exam shows what Bridge has always believed that every Nigerian child can excel, no matter what their background, if given the right opportunities, supportive teachers and empowering schools,” she said.