National President of the prestigious Eko Boys High School Old Boys Association(EKOBA), Mr. Rilwan ‘Bola Fashina tells TheFact Nigeria that Alumni associations are pivotal to growth in the educational system and mustcontribute by providing infrastructure for learning,engaging the students in career guidance andmentorship. Excerpts:
How should Alumni/school management relations be, towards improving academic standards in schools?
Alumni Associations should be critical stakeholders in the development of their Alma Mater. They should work hand in gloves with the school owners and managements to ensure continual improvement in academic as well as social activities. This can be done through joint needs assessment with the schools managements to determine best areas of intervention. Donation of materials for improved academic activities, support for socio-cultural activities like sports, prize-giving days, career talks etc. Alumni Associations could also be involved in infrastructural development and upgrading.
Of serious concern is the problem of vices among students. How is your Association addressing this in your Alma Mater?
The Eko Boys High School Old Boys Association (EKOBA) is actively involved in the educational, social and moral upbringing of the current students of the school. Through the National Association and what we refer to as Service Clubs (consisting different sets, including those in the diaspora) EKOBA undertakes regular interventions in the running of Eko Boys High School, in Musin in support of the Lagos State Government’s efforts. We donate furniture, science and information technology equipment, mend broken fences, support sporting and other extra curricular activities among others. We also visit the school regularly to engage the students and motivate them.
What should alumni members be doing in terms of mentorship in their different fields of endeavor?
Alumni Associations should be involved in regular Career guidance talks for Students in their Alma Mater to help them choose careers and have role models to look up to.
Collectively and individually, what is the role of alumni in providing scholarships to deserving students?
Providing scholarship particularly for indigent students is one good way of supporting schools by Alumni Associations collectively and Old Students individually.
What is the latest on EKOBA’s demands on the LagosState Governor, Sanwu-Olu to immortalise the late Oba Idowu Oniru and development of the School’s new site at Ibeju Lekki?
Late Oba Idowu Oniru was an indingene of Lagos, a respected monarch in his days who brought commendable development to Iruland in Lagos State. As an illustrious Ekorian, our Association simply made a suggestion to the State Government rather than a demand. It is our belief that immortalising him would encourage and motivate other Lagosians to contribute even more to the development of the State.
Why are these issues important to the Ekorians?
Our school, Eko Boys High School has a rich history as the first indigenous, non-denominational, private secondary school in Nigeria founded on January 13, 1913 by the late Revd. William Benjamin Euba of blessed memory. It has produced many Nigerian icons including many of Lagos origins like Late Oba Adeyinka Oyekan and the Late Justice Muri Okunola among many others.
Do your members feel disappointed by the governor’s inaction? (If any)…
Disappointment, No! The recognition or immortalisation of an individual by a government is a process. As critical stakeholders in the development of Lagos State, EKOBA only brought the issue to the front burner of public discourse. From records available to us, succesive Lagos State Governments usually recognise the illustrious sons and daughters of the State.
What development projects have your Association embarked on in the past 10 years?
We have undertaken many development projects in EBHS in the last 10 years and beyond, including maintenance and sometimes repair and upgrading of the school facilities, provided scholarships, furniture and ICT equipment. The branch of EKOBA in Europe has recently purchased a School Bus which delivery was delayed only by the lockdown occassioned by COVID-19. We have expressed EKOBA’s interest in supporting the Lagos State Government in the development of the new site of EBHS at Abijo GRA in Ibeju Lekki Local Development Area. We have been raising funds for the fencing of the almost four hectares of land and the construction of Assembly and Dining Halls.
How was discipline and academic competitiveness inyour days compared to what is obtainable today?
Discipline in schools in our time is incomparable to what obtains today for many reasons. Our population was smaller, societal values relating to discipline was higher generally, our teachers knew all of us by names and would get the absolute support of our parents for whatever disciplinary measures were applied unlike today.
What were students’ main concerns during your school days?
Preserving your family names, attaining the heights and possibly surpassing our role models and being children of pride to our parents were of utmost importance to us then.
Looking back, was there anything you wereever beaten or punished for?
Yes there were many. I was particularly beaten for sneaking
out to play football outside the school before close of daily activities usually after our examinations.
What is your advice to students/school administrators?
To students, there’s no short cut to success. Endeavour to work hard and work smart by taking optimum advantage of technology. Remain focussed on your dreams and find a worthy role model. For School Administrators, appreciate your role as being critical to National Development as only well tutored and disciplined students would assure a greater tomorrow for our Nation.