It is said in some quarters that women are the MVPs in the education sector because they are nurturers. By nature, women are naturally wired to show care and motherly instinct of distinct attention to their environment, especially children.
IBIENE seeks to find out how true this statement is and seeks an audience with one of the true MVPs in Nigeria.
She calls herself a ‘Value Builder’ committed to developing human capacity and ensuring people identify and fulfill their purpose in life. Her pool of experiences of nearly 25 years, from the banking sector to Information technology exposed her passion for innovation and strong entrepreneurial spirit.
Meet Elfrida Diete-Spiff Omole, the Executive Director of Bere-Mont Group, a leading provider of educational and healthcare services in Nigeria.
Getting to know what rocks the boat of this member of the prestigious Stanford Seed Transformation Network, who loves coaching and mentoring young people will be worth your while.
Here’s how the conversation went.
IBIENE: If life has taught you lessons, which one of them is unforgettable?
ELFRIDA: To be intentional about life. We are all on earth for a purpose and we achieve our purpose as individuals. Though we embrace our differences while collaborating with others, we must walk our own path being conscious of our individuality and true to our values. We must not be deterred or distracted by this ‘noisy world’.
IBIENE: What was your inspiration for going into the education sector and still going strong since 1978?
ELFRIDA: The first school, Bereton Montessori School was founded by my mother, Chief (Mrs.) Victoria Diete-Spiff and her love for children is uncanny. According to William Wordsworth in his poem, My Heart Leaps up, “The Child is the Father of the Man” I strongly believe that the destiny of any adult is tied to their childhood and educators play a great role in influencing young girls and boys alike to have the right mindset to succeed in life. The challenges and expectations of the 21st century require a lot of skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovative skills. My vision is to raise a balanced child that imbibes all these skills.
IBIENE: What highs have you experienced in the process of running schools?
ELFRIDA: The Graduation events. Experiencing students improve in their learning and being rewarded on Prize-giving & Award days. The first days of school for new admissions. Winning of competitions. News of Achievements of our Alumni. Parents’ testimonials.
IBIENE: What is that one unforgettable pleasant and proud moment you have experienced as you carry on the business of educating young minds?
ELFRIDA: There have been a lot of pleasant and proud moments, but I will share one in recent times. In 2020, a student in the final class in secondary school had eight (8) A stars in the IGCSEs and eventually was awarded the ‘Best across 8 subjects in the Cambridge IGCSE’ in the country.
IBIENE: Is there something children have taught you about life?
ELFRIDA: Learning never stops. We learn every day and young people and children have taught me to always speak my truth. They say what is on their minds. By being very vocal and expressing themselves without being rude.
IBIENE: What are your thoughts about the system of education in Nigeria and by extension the continent?
ELFRIDA: Education is the bedrock of any nation and priority should be given to education by any forward-thinking government. The major challenge is adequate funding which will take care of the research for curriculum upgrades, infrastructure, and manpower needs (both training and compensation). The education policies must be updated and driven by regulatory bodies. Also, proper monitoring must be carried out by regulatory agencies to ensure quality assurance and control across both the public and private sectors.
The concept of teaching and learning is still evidently very remote in its planning and delivery. The curriculum is very theoretical in nature thereby not enabling the learners to apply themselves. This is highly predominant in the public sector as good education is being driven by huge investments by the private sector. With the advent of technology in teaching and learning, blended learning is being practiced. This has gained great popularity post-covid-19 pandemic. Some state governments in Nigeria have also bitten the technology bug to an extent. However, there are still interruptions in teaching and learning in tertiary institutions caused by incessant strikes which can and should be averted in the future.
IBIENE: What are your parting words for those in the sector as well as the government about the value of education, especially for the formative years of children?
ELFRIDA: The world is evolving from the era of discovery of knowledge to the era of application of discovered knowledge and the African child needs to be fully equipped to be in the spotlight of the global stage.
Lifetime investments need to be made in education from the early years to nurture their 21st-century skills.
Education is the key to success!
Education is a powerful tool and weapon we use to change and transform the world!
A world without education is a world with a vacuum!
Education is an investment made by a sponsor (usually a parent) in a person (usually a child) which yields immeasurable returns.
Do you have any question or comment for Elfrida? Do share with us in the comment section.