JustEd doctoral student sharing ideas on equity and inclusiveness in Nigeria

By on 04.01.2019 in Mobility, Workshop

Doctoral student and Teacher Educator Ida Hummelstedt-Djedou recently visited Lagos to participate in the Nigerian Schools Enhancement Project as an academic volunteer and lecturer. During her stay, Ida shared her ideas around equity and inclusiveness, non violent communication and sustainable leadership with school leaders, teachers and students.

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What was most exciting about the week?

It was a bit exciting to travel alone to Nigeria, even though I have been to West Africa many times. However, the most exciting thing was that I got to talk about themes that are close to my heart, such as equity and inclusiveness, non violent communication and sustainable leadership, to an audience who was very eager to adapt these kind of ideas, but had not had the opportunity to dig into them before. They were very engaged in discussions on how to do it now. It was also so interesting to hear all discussions about what kind of norms that marginalize in the Nigerian society, how for example the differences between rich and poor families is handled in different schools and so on.

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What kind of questions were central during the seminars with school leaders and teachers?

All the school leaders and teachers were coming from the private sector, which holds challenges in balancing the school budget with affordable school fees. Financial issues were therefore present all the time in the discussions. Another central issue for both school leaders and teachers was that they desperately asked for more autonomy and a less limiting curriculum when it comes to exact lesson plans. They got very inspired by hearing about the autonomy that Finnish teachers have. Another keyword was trust, that teachers must be more trusted in order to be motivated and creative.

Also the importance of focusing more on the wellbeing of everybody in the school, encountering pupils with empathy, taking care of each other, not letting teachers or pupils outwork themselves, was much discussed. Another questions was the status of teachers in general, and that teacher education should be better and longer, and teachers should be more appreciated.

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Anything that surprised you?

It did not surprise me so much since I know the West African context from before. What was still striking me when visiting schools, was how the images they have on the walls are entirely of white Western people – also those that show an example of a typical family. Me and Peter Ogudoro explained the importance of representation to the head teachers and told them that the children should be able to recognize people like them on the images they see to not learn inferiority. We encouraged them to start the change and step away from this colonialist structure by changing the pictures.

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How was your stay overall in Lagos?

It was very well organized by my host Peter Ogudoro and his warmhearted wife. They picked me up every morning with a car, and brought me back to the hotel in the evening. The thing that was unconvenient was the heavy traffic jams in Lagos, which make a short way home take at least two hours, so there was not much spare time when I got to the hotel and the sun had already set. But I tried the pool once, and one afternoon we went to the biggest shopping mall in Lagos with Peter and his wife. I ate good food, dishes that I recognize from my experience in West Africa as well as new Nigerian ones. People were happy when I tasted their food, and were keen to give me a good experience of their country. I had been warned a lot about the security in Nigeria, but the way everything was organized did not make me feel unsafe at all. I am very happy and thankful that JustEd offered my the possibility to go, I have learned so much during these five days.

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In Nigeria, the Project Leader Peter Oguduro, was very pleased with Ida’s contribution:

“Ida’s presentations at the School Leaders’, Teachers’, and Students’ workshops and seminars were very enlightening. After the workshop, many of the participants have confirmed that they are adopting new and better attitudes towards their relationships with their communication partners and are making significantly improved choices in line with the school leadership, stakeholder management, classroom-management and communication principles that Ida shared with us during her presentations. We certainly will not be able to estimate the multiplier effect of Ida’s positive impact on the audiences she interacted with accurately but we trust that the good seeds she has sowed will bring forth amazing fruits.”

JustEd Photo: Ida Hummelstedt

Ida’s visit in Nigeria was partly sponsored by JustEd, partly by the inviting organization Nigeria Insititute of Public Relations. The project is led by Dr. Peter Ogudoro, who participated in JustEd’s summer school in 2016 in Gothenburg. Ida’s week in Nigeria consisted of a two days seminar for school leaders and a one day seminar for teachers, as well as school visits and lectures for students from secondary school on how to plan for their future. 

Photos and text: Ida Hummelstedt

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About the Author

About the Author: Charlotta Järf is in charge of the communications and marketing activities for JustEd, The Nordic Centre of Excellence, an international research network with 14 partner universities in 8 countries. With ten years of professional experience in Communications and Marketing, and five years as a TV, radio and newspaper journalist, Charlotta has a practical set of skills in strategical communications, PR, social media, graphic design, video and content production. .

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