How I cured my pupils phobia for Mathematics – Principal

Written by on January 12, 2018

The dream of every secondary school principal in Nigeria is to leave a lasting legacy behind, one that will definitely serve as a point of reference for future generations of pupils and school administrators. Mrs. Agnes Owolabi must have had this in mind when she arrived at the Federal Government Girls’ College, Sagamu, Ogun State, in 2015 to take over as the new Principal.

After settling down to work, one of the first things she discovered was that many of the pupils had been having a phobia for Mathematics. It was, by all means, a very unsettling discovery.

Aware of the implications of a sustained negative attitude to the subject on the part of the pupils, in the short or long term, as well as the effect on the school’s performance in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination, she had decided to do something to solve the problem.

Owolabi, in a meeting with News men held on the college premises on Wednesday to announce the institution’s plan to celebrate its 40th anniversary, explained how she eventually helped to cure the pupils of their phobia for mathematics.

She said, “I had to introduce a compulsory breakfast Mathematics lesson. Also, I made the prep period compulsory for all the pupils and ensured that there was synergy among the Mathematics teachers in the preparation of topics for delivery.”

The breakfast lesson, she continued, proved in the long run to be effective in igniting the pupils’ interest in the subject and in sustaining their confidence at solving mathematical problems.

The principal noted that the lesson, which took place between 7am and 8am each day, enhanced the coverage of the Mathematics syllabus and gave the pupils and their teachers enough time for revision exercises.

“The pupils were required to treat one mathematical problem, at least, in a day and this was evaluated. We had what we called a Mathematics Marathon Programme in which the pupils were made to solve mathematical problems requiring short answers within a specified time every week,” she added.

Owolabi, who is also the Coordinating Principal for Federal Government Colleges in the South-West Zone, unveiled a weeklong programme of activities for the celebration of the 40th anniversary of FGGC, Sagamu.

Announcing that the celebration would begin with a tree planting exercise and a candle-lit procession at the college premises on January 15, she said, “There is a saying that life begins at 40. But, for our beloved school, I like to differ a little by saying that life is reassuring at 40. Looking back, I have the confidence to say it has been glorious as the school has continued to nurture generations of thorough-bred secondary school leavers, who have been going into the outside world to locate their destinies and make their mark.

“Our achievements have been largely made possible through the high moral and academic standard maintained by the school in the last 40 years. We have produced high-flying technocrats and prominent women who have been contributing to the socio-economic growth of the nation.

“The college performs brilliantly in the WASSC and NECO examinations. In 2012, our pupil, Miss Oluwatobi Oluwasanya, emerged the winner of the National Essay Competition. In the last WASSC examination, our school recorded 100 per cent in almost all the subjects.”

The principal denied claims that FGGC, Sagamu, had been involved in admission racketeering. She argued that since the institution did not at any point in time take part in compiling the list of successful admission seekers, it never could possibly be involved in such a thing.

Asked if the college had had any case of homosexual behaviour and indiscipline among the pupils, she replied, “We haven’t had any serious case of lesbianism in this college. Once, a girl claimed that an older pupil touched her body in an uncompromising way. We had to carry out an investigation and found that she lied. The tone of discipline in the college has been high. Our pupils are highly disciplined. This is why we haven’t had many cases of misbehaviour.”

A quick tour of the vast compound of the college revealed some ongoing building projects, which confirmed Owolabi’s claim that its alumni have been quite supportive of the management’s efforts to improve its infrastructure.

One of the buildings under construction, already christened ‘Empowerment Hall’, will serve as a skills acquisition centre for the pupils. It was donated by an old girl of the college, who has also volunteered to pay the salaries of the staff of the centre when it takes off.

Other members of the Old Girls Association of the college have also built boreholes, toilets, renovated other facilities within the compound, provided computers and donated several pieces of classroom furniture, as well as sponsored awards and provided medical tests for the pupils in a collective effort to make the environment conducive for teaching and learning.

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