Reasons why students ignore academic competitions – Dr. Stella Ebuetse, educator – The Sun Nigeria


By Christy Anyanwu

The The seemingly easy money reality TV shows have contributed to the decadence of education as students see the rigor of intellectual development of all value. Most young people now just want to make a quick buck and become celebrities and millionaires in the blink of an eye. As a result, most of them no longer find interest in education and have no desire to excel with good grades.

An academician and founder of the Sastoma Empowerment Foundation (STEFO), Dr Stella Ebuetse, disapproves of what is going on and passionately strives to turn the tide through an academically-themed reality TV show called Wake up the Giant. Literary Reality Show, which will target high school students in the 11 and 18 age group. Already, his organization has organized auditions for the reality show.

In this interview, she talks about the project, its challenges and how she faces them.

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You have a commendable and unique project. Please talk about it in detail.

I’m writing a book about my journey to Wake Up The Giant. It has been a very long journey. I started in 2017. I have been a literature teacher for over 30 years. I teach literature in my school. When I started, I had over 50 students in SS3. At one point, I noticed a drop in the number of literature students and got worried. I started asking questions and found out that our kids are so lazy to read books. They want to study mass communication and the theater arts. I would tell them that they cannot study these courses without literature. The reason they don’t write literature is because they have a hard time reading. The main reason people don’t study English literature is because they have trouble reading. Lucky for me, Big Brother Naija arrived, which was a really good program. It brought in a lot of money for our young people. But I was not happy because the first edition then gave the winners 27 million naira. The first class graduates were awarded N5000 for being the best in their class and they were not celebrated. I was angry. So the Holy Spirit said I don’t have to be angry. “You studied literature up to the doctorate. Do something in your field. These kids want to be entertained. They want to get out of the school wall, interact with people, etc. I asked God where I am from.

As far as academic competition is concerned, the situation is horrible. Academic competition has completely disappeared in Nigeria but I decided to start somewhere. I wrote a lot of letters to almost every bank in Nigeria, sent letters to almost every governor in Nigeria. We have only had one response from Zenith Bank and Access Bank who have expressed interest in providing partial support. As it was time to take off, I received a call from the Governor of Edo State. I have been married to an Edo man for 33 years. I started giving lectures in Edo State. I decided to go with the governor. Unfortunately, in the middle of the road, the Ministry of Education intervened and it was just a fuss. Finally, with the support of my husband and my family, we were able to carry out this project on our own. Later, the Edo State government paid us for a portion of the hotels we rented for those ten days.

We contacted a lot of people, but unfortunately in Nigeria now people are interested in sponsoring projects related to entertainment, music and dance competitions, but not education. Sadly, I was about to quit two weeks ago, but Sifax Group came to sponsor and it was a great relief. The Ooni of Ife and other royal fathers also got in touch with me and I believe God, as we take off now, other sponsors would come on board. The hearing is currently taking place in the South West region. The Lagos edition will begin on November 12.

What inspired the name, Wake Up The Giant?

I was trying to find a name that better matched my goals. A name that is easy to understand. Our kids are smart, bright, and some of them can write great stories. Unfortunately, there is no one to push them. They are very intelligent. I sometimes see them playing plays and I wonder who will discover them in these villages. I did reality shows in Edo State. I have visited almost all the villages in Edo State by bicycle. I have been to schools and I have seen these students as a sheep without a shepherd. Especially when they don’t even have English and literature teachers. When they came for the first audition, they were so shy, they were so reserved, they were so hidden. I felt we could just push them a little bit to awaken that creativity and talent in them. I started writing at the age of 14. I have had people who may have prompted me to write, for example, Professor Dayo Alao with blessed memory. I thought there should be some kind of shoulder for children who have this gift of writing. In science, we have a lot of people supporting math and science, but when it comes to English language and literature, we are just powerless. Sadly, with today’s reading culture, we may never see lines from Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Ola Rotimi, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Chukwuemeka Ike, Femi Osofisan, Gabriel Okara, Christopher Okigbo, Zulu Sofola, Zainab Alkali and Sam Ukala, among others. , which gave us memorable stories and everlasting rhythms

What advice do you have from students for students on drugs and engaging in other social vices?

The problem starts with our leaders. I was going to Ghana for my last price in Ghana and some teenagers sat next to me. I think they weren’t over 19. They looked at me like I was an old woman and they didn’t even know I was Yoruba. One of them said, “This Baba charm is very effective.” These teens were apparently going to engage in vices and crime in Yahoo Yahoo.

Recently I went to a particular state and was shocked at what I saw. I visited a particular state with regard to this program and learned that there was a high school where students were taught to be a Yahoo Yahoo scammer. I was shocked. Parents will now take their children to this school and their parents pay dearly for it before they graduate. Then ask these kids why they get into crime, they just tell you education is a scam in Nigeria. Who has education helped? My niece graduated from Akure Federal University of Technology with First Class. He was promised 5,000 N. To this day, they have not given it to him. She is almost finishing her doctorate in the United States. My daughter graduated from one of the best private universities in Nigeria, she never got a single gift from this university. When she went to take her master’s degree in the United States, in one of the most discriminated against states in the United States, she was the best in her department. She studied engineering. The department rallied around her because they saw something in her. She received a scholarship, a job and treated like a queen. She came out as the best graduate student of this school. She was to wear her Nigerian flag and be the representative of the Nigerian government there.

What are some of your memorable moments as a teacher over these 30 years?

I discovered that teaching is like a vocation. I don’t think I can do any other job in my life outside of teaching. I will continue to teach until I go to my grave. If you are a parent and do not believe in moral education, do not take your children to my school. I tell my teachers I’m not after money. Give them spiritual and moral training, not just academics. By the grace of God, over time, they will change. Teaching for me is like a drug: it is healing and satisfying, it gives me joy. I see these children as my biological children. This makes it easier to deal with them, whether they are bad or good. Most of my students would tell me what they don’t tell their parents, especially those who live at home. I see them as mine. I identify the weakest.

You read theater arts for your first degree. Why didn’t acting appealed to you, being a Nollywood actress?

I used to be an actress. I am a very shy person. When it comes to performing on stage, I’m a different person. I’m sinking. In fact, in Edo State, my husband and I were the first to start the Christian drama, through Shalom’s Christian ministry.

Tell us how you met your husband?

He has a theater company in Auchi. I was newly married to him and I was very pretty. I would stay inside the room and look out the window and see other girls playing the part of my husband’s wife. I said ‘Haa, I can play this part.’ This is how I became a member of the group so that they do not take my husband away from me and that I can also monitor what they are doing there. So I joined her theater group and became a very successful actress in Edo State. When we got to Lagos I wasn’t comfortable with all of these romantic roles in the movies and I’m not really romantic. So I decided to stop acting so I could take care of my kids and focus on reality TV.

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