By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
Abuja-It has been said that educating the girl child is educating an entire nation as the girl child holds a lot of potential to change the society and giving them the right education from the ages of Nine(9) to 18, under the right atmosphere will help in producing the right quality of women.
In line with this, The Sight News caught up with the Proprietor,Cedarwood Academy for Girls(CAG), Mrs Chimdalu Chinedu Nwosu, who stated that her main interest lie with girls of a particular age, noting that the solution to all the problems that have been said to be wrong with women in Nigeria, is to take deliberate steps in catching them young.
Mrs. Nwosu whose school is just for Girls, believes that having such a school will help give the girls different perspective towards life, the kind of perspective that would make them turn out into fantastic adult women.
See Excerpts from the Interview conducted by Gift Olivia Samuel of The Sight News with Mrs. Chimdalu Chinedu Nwosu on the 21st of March, 2018 which happened to be her birthday.
May we meet you?
My name is Chimdalu Chinedu Nwosu
How did you come about Cedarwood Academy for Girls?
Well, the first time I thought about owning a school for girls was when I was 11 years old, so that was when the concept was formed. I so desperately wanted to own a place where young women would be trained. So at the time I saw library, computers, I saw girls coming and researching. You know from 11 to the time we did eventually start the school, it metamorphosed into what it is now. The name just came to me like that so when I felt that it was a name I should name the school, I started researching and realised that it is a tree with so many financial benefits and it has quite a bit of robustness and can withstand quite a lot of different elemental pressures, so I was quite shocked and knew it was definitely a divinely inspired name.
So why did you go for an all girls school?
I am very very loyal to anything that I do or believe in and I just feel that for me, my main interest lie with girls. Not even all girls but girls of a particular age so I just feel that is what I have been called to do, to ensure that we are deliberate about working towards making sure that when young girls turn out into adults, we are able to reap what we intended to see. I am very conscious of the fact that nothing happens by chance so if we keep saying that the quality of women in Nigeria has dropped or are not as virtuous as they used to be, they are a bit loose… All the problem that you hear people go over and over again about women in Nigeria, the solution won’t just drop out of the sky, so there must be some deliberate steps taken to ensure that we no longer have a lot of those sort of girls. One of the best ways is to nip it in the bud or to even ensure that the seed isn’t even sown in the first place and so the best age for that is between the years of Nine (9) and 18.
At 18, you are almost formed in your thought processes and in what it is that entices you. So I just feel that, let’s all join hands and make sure that the girl have a different perspective towards life. The kind of perspective that would make them turn out into fantastic adult women and pursue God, pursue their career and just pursue life with all that they have within them and no longer having a lot of girls who just feel that things should come easy to them and if things don’t come easy then they do all sort of vices to survive.
Don’t you think having an all girls school would lead to some sort of detachment of the girls from their male counterparts?
I don’t think so because it is a day school and until I have an overwhelming deluge of parents asking for boarding, we would maintain a day school strategy and I believe that the girls are here from 7:30 AM to 3 PM and after that, parents at their own time should supervise their social lives. When they are in school, they are here to study and I don’t think parents should put more of the responsibility of socializing on the school so if a parent feels overwhelmingly that at a tender age, the persons priority is for his or her daughter to learn how to be with the opposite sex, fine. They should do that at their own free time but between 7:30 to 3, I would strongly advise parents to let their girls focus, be in an environment where gender stereotypes are not present.
In mixed schools, what you would have are girls aligning with certain subjects and the not-so-fine girls would align with subjects that boys do, you know, you just have those sorts of stereotypes. You have the pretty girls not really wanting to put up their hands for hot leadership positions. There is a lot of stereotypical behavior and gender roles that are inputted on girls in mixed schools . I attended mixed school and so I know exactly what I am talking about.
So, is Cedarwood Academy for Girls just for Christians?
No. We do have our ethos and it is built on the Bible and we do align our concept of religion and Godship to the Christian God, however, we accept people from all creed. I subscribe to a practical Christianity which opens doors and arms for anybody to just come in and feel the love of Jesus practically, every other religion is welcomed. The Jesus I believe in accepts every body so come and be taught, experience his love; and no, we will not force our concept of Christianity down any child’s throat.
What has been your challenges so far?
My major challenge honestly has been a personal one because I am an introvert who likes to stay in a corner but having stepped out has taken me off that corner and I am trying to overcome my self. Another challenge is finances and the third major challenge is that we are just 24 weeks, we just started and so we are facing the challenge of proving to people that I know what I am doing but I will keep working hard because I know that with time, they will begin to believe clearly that this woman knows what she is doing.
What is the highest grade you have now?
For now, JSS 2 so by next year they will go to JSS 3. I wanted to start small so that we groom them and so we don’t take on more than I am able to handle with quality. It is very important to me. Most schools in Abuja start with Creche all the way to SS 3, how do you do that? First of all, you cannot convince me that your strength lies in all of those areas, it’s not possible. So we have Pre-high, JSS 1 and JSS 2 and grow from these classes until we get to SS 3 so everybody, myself, the teachers, the parents and the community at large will see organic growth, will see that we have grown gently and not that kind of hurried growth you see in many Nigerian businesses that is not sustainable.
I have a little issue with some schools that engage in so much activities with little learning. How is Cedarwood different?
I have discovered that schools engage in all those activities so that they can show people that they are doing things. You have made a very brilliant observation and that is something that I just realized two weeks ago and I said-You know what, we cannot keep doing things, having activities. The term we are going into has absolutely no activity apart from a spelling contest that we have been invited for a long time ago and a science fair, so that kids can focus on academics. It is just something that a proprietor has to realise and say okay, we need to pay more attention to academics but the underlying reason why proprietors do that is so they can convince parents that they are doing things and are active.
What are your plans for Cedarwood.
First and foremost, I want incremental growth and what I see first is us having spectacular results in our first junior NECO, that’s my first most immediate goal that every school girl registered here would have a spectacular result and to ensure that the quality of the School is maintained in every 24 hour period. I am so so so adamant that this school must be known for its quality in academics, content delivery by teachers and just all round quality of the morals of the girls and it is something you have to be doing and really pay attention to.
If you are just overwhelmed with trying to make your school bigger or known, it might take away from the intensity with which you do these other parts. I want us to get to the point where people are scrambling to be students of Cedarwood.
Thank you for your time and we pray that Cedarwood would get to that point very soon and happy Birthday to you.
Thanks a lot.