Commissioner for Education in Lagos State, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo has congratulated the management and staff of Emerald Schools on the commissioning of the Emerald Day Secondary school in Ifako, Gbagada, Lagos, saying the education sector needs solid system to raise quality children.
Adefisayo who spoke at the commissioning of the school on Friday said the school is a good thing happening in Lagos State.
“I have known Mrs. Obaze for years and I always appreciate our relationship. I was listening to the journey of the school since 1995 when the school was opened and it has become a conglomerate of sort with autonomous branches, I say well done,” she said.
Extolling the virtues of the management, Adefisayo said, “Number one, you have set up a good corporate governance model, so it is not just about you. One thing in my educational journey I have seen is how so many schools do not outlive their owners. It is about building professionals.
“I see you have started, so it will carry your dream. I like the way you talked about your staff, the quality of learning comes from the quality of the teachers and the quality of the teachers comes from the comfort of the teachers.
“I congratulate and thank the staff and management of the school. I appreciate the staff for their loyalty. I also like the words on the logo. Discipline is not beating children. We need solidity in education, we need to have solid system to raise solid children and I like what you are doing,” she said.
The Honourable Commissioner also appreciated the school for engaging in Corporate Social Responsibility.
“I also love your Corporate Social Responsibility. Many of your parents are using jeep and you could have ignored the road leading to the school but you are fixing it. I also like your determination to meet your mantra. I like the scholarships, you never can tell where those children will get to,” she said.
Director of Emerald Schools, Mrs. Edna Obaze highlighted the uniqueness of the school.
Speaking at the event, Obaze who has run the group of schools for 27 years said the school has many selling points.
“We have so many selling points. The first one is character formation because that is very important in anyone’s life,” she said.
Continuing, she said, “Without character, you are nothing. Character is first, there are many things that distinguish Emerald schools.”
Obaze however mentioned another selling point of the school. “Our facilities are another selling point that make us unique. We do not settle for less. We have a vocational school, I don’t know of other schools that can boast of vocational schools.
“Entrepreneurship is very important to us, we ensure students graduating from our school should be able to do things for themselves.
“We all know what is happening in the country, once they graduate or even before they graduate, they are already doing things. Some are already in fashion business, we had a fashion show and you can’t imagine what our students have been doing,” she said.
On the academic prowess of the school, Obaze said, “We produce distinctions (As) in Mathematics, English and other subjects, then we do not play with music, every child that passes through here must go through music,” she said.
Obaze said her school holds character of the students so dearly and every child must be morally upright. “We are particular about virtues, we are very particular about character, raising role models. We produce students who are socially responsible. Raising role model is our byline so we make sure that the children going out of here are socially responsible,” she said.
Obaze did not fail to talk about the Corporate Social Responsibility the school is engaged in. “We train so many students, we have scholarships, we take care of indigent students, one of them is in Pan African University now, we are also socially responsible as well. For instance, we graded this road our school is on,” she said.
Earlier in his opening address, Mr. Sam Obaze who is the Chairman, Board of Advisers, Emerald Schools gave a background of the educational institution.
“Emerald Schools started in the year 1995 at 23, Adenuga Street, Ifako-Gbagada, Lagos State. Just like the biblical little seed, planted by the sower, Emerald Schools budded, grew and continues to grow. At the moment the school boasts of two nursery and primary schools, a boarding secondary school, a school of vocations,” he said.
Continuing, he said, the school produced its facemasks and sanitizers during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to him, the school even produced for other schools.
“We also have kiddies land, the schools are all autonomous, self-accounting and they all report to the Executive Director, Mrs. Edna Obaze. Today we are gathered to commission yet another offshoot of the great tree called Emerald Day Secondary school.
“The school came about because some students can only realise their full potentials in boarding school while others can only realise their full potentials in day school, every child is not the same. Not sending a child to the right school can make the difference in realising the full potentials of that child. Besides that some parents prefer day school for many peculiar reasons,” he explained.
Talking about the teachers, Obaze said, “To maintain our peculiarity, our teachers are drawn from Emerald schools. The school seats on 2.5 acres of land, every arm of the school will occupy purpose built buildings and it is students centered. The facilities speak for themselves.
“We pride on virtues and refined system built over time, we envision that Emerald Day School will bring vitality and solidity to the educational system. We have about 400 staffers across the schools and some of the staff have been with us for about 20 years, we owe them gratitude for their dedication because they have staked their future with the school and we cannot afford to disappoint them just like we cannot afford to disappoint the parents who have entrusted their children.
He also talked about the Corporate Social Responsibility of the organisation.
“We are a responsible organisation, everywhere we are, we work for the improvement of the local community as much as we are able to. We have extended water supply to the front of the gate of the Emerald School in Ogun State where people get water, we have also completed the gate of the community with a gate house,” he enumerated.
Still on the Corporate Social Responsibility the organisation has embarked upon, Obaze said, the school has scholarships for indigent students as well.
“We have awarded scholarships to three indigent pupils of the community. The first of them, Rilwan Adeniji is now in a private university still sponsored by the school. He will graduate next year,” he said.
He said the organisation has adopted a public primary school which has been given a facelift by constructing the fence and improved some infrastructure.
Talking about the challenges of the school, Obaze said, “Every other businesses and individuals have challenges. The challenges faced by businesses today are also faced by the education sector namely costs of operation. Diesel cost for example has gone up by 100 percent. If you know how much we spend on diesel, you will pity us. We keep hoping that things will get better,” he said.
Cost of food is another challenge Obaze mentioned, as growing children must be satisfied while school fees cannot be increased arbitrarily because the parents are already stretched.
The solution the school has however adopted according to Obaze include cost control. “We have created cost control so we get value for every Naira spent. All our achievements wouldn’t have been possible without the leadership of Mrs. Obaze and the management,” he said.
Principal of the school, Mr. Emmanuel Irhiemi talked about what the society should expect from the new school.
“As you can see, we believe in raising role models and as our vision states, to train children that are socially responsible and when they become socially responsible and they get into the society, it means the society will be better for it because human beings make up the society and whatever the training you get goes into the society.
On the affordability of the school and scholarship facility, he said, “We already have scholarships for the students who wrote the exams and in all our schools we always have scholarships for the best students.”
A Friend of the Obazes, Mrs. D. Okorodudu at the event mentioned what she likes about the school.
“What I like about the Obazes is that they are practicing Catholics, apart from intellectual knowledge, you have to balance it with the spiritual. No matter what your achievement is, if you don’t have character, you are useless to the society,” she said.
Chairman of the School Parents Management Forum comprising the parents and guardians of pupils in the school, Mr. Yomi Daniels at the event said the school is unique on various levels.
“Apart from the morals and spiritual upbringing, there are two things I like about Emerald Schools, they are academic excellence and music. I love music so when I got to Emerald, I saw a life band, most especially jazz music that is being produced ably led by their music teacher.
“My son was here, he is now in the university. My daughter is here too and she said she wants to study physics. There is also one thing that encourages me. One day our daughter came home crying when they changed her tie from gold to red. Gold is for students on 90 and above, they are called high flyers while red is for those below 90. This will motivate the children to study hard,” he said.