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Despite the concern about Nigeria’s quality of education, young stars break new academic grounds

Despite the concern about Nigeria’s quality of education, some students are recording impressive results in local and international examinations.

John Pius-Obayemi, and Al-Fatihi Abdulmalik, both students of The Vale Tutorial College, Bodija Oyo State, which is an offshoot of The Vale College, shone brightly like the proverbial Northern Star in June this year. 

The duo recorded landmark results in its international examinations. The two finalists excelled in Cambridge Advanced Level with A Stars (A* in Sociology, Economics, Mathematics) achieving second best result during the examination.

This is not the first time the college is recording such feat. In 2014, Maryam Adeyanju got A, A, A, in Chemistry, Physics, Biology and emerged as 2014 Best Result. Boluwatife Adewale was next in 2015 with A*, A*, A, in Chemistry, Physics, Biology while AbdulHammed Babatunde achieved the same feat in 2017 with A*, A*, A*, in Chemistry, Physics, Biology while Joel Christiana also achieved A*, B, B, in Sociology, Literature, History and emerged last year’s Best Results.

So, on Saturday, August 15, the school management, rolled out the drums to celebrate these exceptionally brilliant students during a Valedictory service held for the graduation class of 2020 at the New Bodija, Ibadan Campus of the College. It was impressive as the government’s directives on COVID-19 were observed.

For a first-timer, the tranquil environment of The Vale Tutorial College tucked inside New Bodija in Oyo State was a beauty to behold. The gigantic edifice painted in grey and white stands tall in the expansive compound. To a passer-by, it is a citadel of learning but for its occupants, it is more than a mere academic ground.

It is exceptional. It is an upper sixth form college that has propelled its past and present students to excel and climb extra-ordinary heights in both national and international examinations. The feats made possible through its dedicated leadership and committed teachers.

Established 10 years ago by Mrs Funso Adegbola (nee Bola Ige), The Vale Tutorial College, an offshoot of The Vale College is an independent entity established because of the need to prepare students to be better, mature for university admission as A-level is a solid foundation and pathway to a foreign university and 200 level in Nigerian universities.  For TVTC, it has been10 years of propagating academic excellence.

On what informed the establishment of the institution, the founder Mrs Adegbola said: “The aim for which the school was established is being achieved. It is a journey, not a destination, and we are definitely on the right path. The vision was to provide an enabling environment for lifelong learning, training and nurturing leaders with the right kind of values.”

She said TVTC is different from other Upper Sixth Form Colleges because it is a combination of many factors. According to her, TVTC is a place where students are well-grounded.

“We do an excellent job, with our students achieving high grades and we have first-rate, comfortable hostel facilities. We are not just a Centre, we are a full-fledged school. It is a safe and serene environment, extremely conducive to learning. Here, parents do not have to worry about the well-being and safety of their children. Students have leadership training sessions every weekend where they are tutored on character development. There are mentoring sessions among the alumni and the current students.”

Continuing, she said: “Students have entrepreneurship training at weekends; they also learn different skills such as bead making, make-up and fashion designing, among others. There is close inter-personal relationship between the parents and the school.

“Students have days off to have social interaction with the Director who they see as a role model, selection of the Best Student in Character and Learning every session, Low student-teacher ratio, one to one and effective online classes, especially during the COVID-19 PANDEMIC.”

On Atinuke Ige scholarship, which has continued to bring succour to brilliant students from public schools in Oyo State, Mrs Adegbola said it is a way of giving back some of the values she imbibed from her late parents.

“I started the Atinuke Ige Scholarship in 2013 for students who finished their West African Examinations Council (WAEC) in public schools in Oyo and Osun states. “One of the cardinal points of my father’s party then, the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) was free education for all at all levels. My parents believed in education not only for their biological children but also for children of other people. They have three biological children but raised over 300 children. I just thought I cannot do free education like my father was able to do when he was governor. I know my mother too gave scholarships to people while she was alive.

“About seven years ago, I started with Justice Atinuke Ige Scholarship for brilliant children in public schools in Oyo State who had completed secondary school and were given the opportunity to do their ‘A’ Levels at The Vale Tutorial College so that they can go to the second level in Nigerian universities.

“It is worth N2.5 million for each winner. The programme was successful since we started. The past winners of a male and female, Boluwatife Adewale and Maryam Adeyanju are currently in the University College Hospital studying Medicine and Surgery. Some of our alumni are studying in England apart from those in Nigeria. I believe in the vision of quality education for all Nigerian children irrespective of their backgrounds.”

Still basking in the euphoria of his attainment, Obayemi, a former student of Command Day Secondary School, Odogbo, Ibadan, who is not new to winning academic laurels having scored 6 As, 1 B and 2 Cs in  his WAEC examinations gave kudos to the convener of Atinuke Ige Scholarship Mrs. Adegbola.

“Coming top in my examinations, I felt very elated. I was proud of myself because it was a bit more than I had expected. I knew that these results were good enough to make everyone proud and get me into very good universities.

“Initially, I got a bit discouraged about achieving those scores later when we started coursework, but I put in my best.  TVTC impacted my academic life. The teachers there are also very good and experienced and my academic strengths have been developed and advanced. After this, I plan to seek international admissions into universities and scholarships to study Electrical and Electronics Engineering,” he said.

A few years ago, Mrs Adegbola started an annual scholarship scheme in memory of her late father, Bola Ige for children in public schools. Every year she gives a scholarship for the best boy and girl through examinations: written and oral. The best two gets scholarship worth N12 million for the six years post-primary education.

The scholarship is an award that has transformed lives. For instance, the N12 million awards have benefitted pupils whose parents are bricklayers, tailors, bread sellers, among others.

As the Upper arm has continued to churn out excellent students, its sister arm, The Vale College founded 26 years ago is a record-breaker. Apart from excelling in WAEC and its equivalent examinations, the school has continued to exhibit its academic prowess with students who have become Nigerian ambassadors and global icons.

One of its former students, Miss Yewande Akinola, got an award from Queen Elizabeth II of England in 2012 for being one of the best female engineers under 30 in the whole of the United Kingdom. There are also a number of students who got a First-Class Degree in Pharmacy, Law, Accounting and other courses.

At the recently released Joint Admission and Matriculation Board Examinations (JAMB) 2020, seven of its students made the nation proud as they scored far above 300 out of 400 marks.

Toluwanimi Soladoye got 351; Andrew Alao scored 341; Mubarak Titilola 341; Kofo Oyeniyi 333; Lekan Adekanmbi 326; Oladele Omogboyega 324 and Bimpe Olukolo 309.

It has been one decade of providing quality education. What next for TVTC?

“The reward of good work is more excellent work. Ten years is only the beginning, God has been faithful and we trust Him that the next 10 years will see an increase and enlargement on all sides of TVTC- numerically, physically, spiritually and materially.

In the next 10 years, our Alumni would have become leading experts in their chosen fields and they will be mentoring the future students of the College, by God’s grace,” Mrs Adegbola said.

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