Since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations Member States in 2015, many have expressed their sentiments that in as much as the SDGs are integrated, the 17 sustainable development goals revolve around goal 4 – to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifetime learning opportunities for all.
Thus, if African states can build education systems that not only meet the urgent needs of its people, but also allow learners compete favourably with their peers in other climes, then achieving the rest of the SDGs will become a little less impractical for the continent.
To meet this humongous task of building a sustainable education system, individuals and corperate bodies in Nigeria, especially in the last half decade have started taking the fate of the nation in their own hands. There is a re-awakening and a huge mobilisation of change-makers to re-invent education, making it not only inclusive but equitable and accessible. These crop of innovators are obeying the clarion call to contribute their quotas to the system - which could affect the desired total positive transformation, and faster than imagined.
We have witnessed in 2019, how passionate individuals are leveraging their talents and opportunities; technologies and platforms as forces for good to build the Nigerian education system that we can truly be proud of. And as the world shrinks into a global village, these efforts have not only impacted lives in small villages and townships but the world is now a testimony to their amazing works.
We present to you Edusko Africa's Top 5 Education Personalities in Nigeria 2019.
The personalities included in this list are some passionate Nigerians – among many others – who are contributing their quotas to the development of education in Nigeria and Africa at large.
The list is in no particular order.
1. Bunmi Lawson
Bunmi Lawson is a finance aficionado.
She has over 30 years of experience in finance, insurance, marketing, auditing and banking in Nigeria and in the UK.
Lawson is the former MD/CEO of ACCION Microfinance Bank Limited and a former Executive Director, FATE Foundation Ltd/Gte; Co-founder and Executive Director, VLA Lawrence & Associates.
Borne out of her desire to eradicate poverty by equipping the nation’s human capital with quality education, Bunmi Lawson opened Edfin Micro Finance Bank in 2019 to provide access to finance for stakeholders in the education sector.
The bank is dedicated solely to funding the education eco-space in Nigeria and aims to positively disrupt the standard and quality of education in Nigeria, by providing the much-needed financial resources and services to the education sector.
2. Jim Ovia
Jim Ovia is an astute businessman and former banker turned educationist.
He is the founder of Zenith Bank Plc, Nigeria's tier-1 bank.
He is a member of the Governing Council of Lagos State University, Lagos and a member of the Board of Trustees, Redeemer's University. He also served on the board of American International School, Lagos from 2001 – 2003.
Jim Ovia is the founder and Chairman of Mankind United to Support Total Education (MUSTE), a philanthropic organization focused on providing scholarships for the less privileged. He is the founder of the Youth Empowerment / ICT Foundation, which focuses on improving the socioeconomic welfare of Nigerian youths by inspiring and motivating them to embrace Information and communication technology.
Jim is the founder of James Hope College, a school that offers world-class education for a subsidised fee supported by a substantial endowment fund - the Jim Ovia foundation.
In October 2019, the Jim Ovia foundation acquired the American International School Lekki Campus facility to establish James Hope College in Lagos. The move was borne out of his desire to uplift the standard of education in Lagos state and Nigeria at large.
3. Biodun kolawole
Biodun Kolawole is a leading voice in Nigeria’s education industry.
He is a coach, teacher and quality education advocate who is passionate about educational development in Nigeria and Africa.
Biodun is the founder of Fit to Teach, an educational resource designed to build world-class teachers. Fit to Teach empowers the 21st Century Educators to lead effective lives personally & professionally. Since launch, the platform has organised over 45 workshops and empowered hundreds of teachers.
Biodun is also a lead consult at MSB consulting where he provides strategic guidance and operational services to schools, corporate bodies and the government in the areas of education, CSR consultancy and sustainable development projects.
In 2019, Biodun Kolawole launched 360 Degrees Parenting, a platform dedicated to improving educational and societal outcome through Stronger Families.
4. Olamidun Majekodunmi
Olamidun Majekodunmi is an ardent advocate of skill-based education for Nigeria’s growing youth population.
In 2012 at the age of 21, Olamidun built The Performing Arts School of Nigeria with the purpose of providing students with unique opportunities and a well-rounded education. The performing Arts School of Nigeria supports the community to pursue their passions in the arts with regard to cultural diversity and inclusiveness.
Driven by her passion to help the younger generation acquire skills that translates not only to jobs, but also create career advancing opportunities, Olamidun launched Nexford University to Nigeria as Africa’s country manager of the disruptive solution. Nexford University is an online University geared towards creating greater social and economic mobility across the world by providing learners access to high-quality, affordable, dynamic education that prepares them for the global workplace.
Olamidun Majekodunmi has served as a Director of Education for the Nigerian Young Professionals Forum where she led the architecture of a nationwide Education Intervention Scheme, among others.
5. Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin
Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin is a social entrepreneur, women and girls advocate. She champions the cause of the Nigerian girl by providing access to practical skills they need to break the circle of poverty and become useful to themselves and their societies.
In 2012, Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin founded Pearls Africa, an NGO focused on helping vulnerable girls acquire technology skills. The NGO has since trained and equipped hundreds of girls with technology skills through various programs like; GirlsCoding, G.C Mentors, GirlsInSTEM and Empowered Hands.
In 2018, Abisoye was named one of ten CNN Heroes of the year among many other recognitions and awards.
In 2019, Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin published her first book, I woke up at 30: How I Used Inertia for Global Impact. The book among other things inspires young people to take action, change their perception of the word education, realise and value the great potentials they have.