Today we are visiting the International School Ibadan (ISI), which is right on campus. We are warmly welcomed by the principal Phebean O. Olowe and executive staff who start right into the traditional Nigerian foto session. A dozen pictures later the principal decides that this would be enough, she goes back to work and we finally begin our tour through the school premises. The administrative officer Femi Ogundoro is our guide and answers persistently all our questions - especially the teacher students are really interested and almost never stop asking questions. So that’s what we learned today: The ISI was established in 1963 by the University of Ibadan and functions as a co-educational institution. As the first international school all over Nigeria it was founded to provide an environment where children from within and outside Nigeria could live and learn together, thereby fostering racial integration, international friendship and unity. Children visiting the school currently come from four different countries (UK, USA, Kenia, Nigeria), but all of them have Nigerian roots. As Mr. Ogundoro explains, many parents living abroad want their children to know were they come from and therefore send them to the ISI for a couple of years. About ten years ago the amount of international students was considerably higher, since they had 28 different nations back then. We assume that the decline of internationality correlates with the increased danger in Nigeria. The 1600 students are in between 10 and 16 years old and approximately 300 of them are living on the school premises. Girls and boys are accommodated in separate blocks but attend classes together, so the school is co-ed. On our tour we visit the administrative block, some classrooms (e.g. physics, that are very well equipped), a computer lab, a little library, the medical block, the sports field and other facilities. We are impressed by the modern equipment (they even have smart boards, which some schools in Berlin still don’t have) and wonder were the money for all those facilities is coming from. Mr. Ogundoro elucidates that the school is very popular among Nigeria and parents have to pay high tuition fees. For example if your child is not living on campus you would have to pay approx. 180,000 Naira per year. That are „only“ 430€ but compared to the average income of Nigerians it becomes explicit that only a certain kind of people can attend this school. This makes us a bit sad, but on the other hand at the moment it would just not be possible in Nigeria to achieve such a high education level on state schools. Therefore we can understand the need for high tuition fees. At the end the principal is eager to get our contacts so we may establish an exchange program with our future schools. Again we get showered with a whole bag of presents including branded products of the school such as a notebook, a towel, pens and a school magazine.
Text: Sandra Hesse, Anna Korneva und Valerie Pobloth
Published online by: Alina Grünky
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