PERSONALITY OF THE WEEK KING SOLOMON’S COLLEGE BREAKING ACADEMIC RECORDS

Come September 14 2014, king Solomon’s College, Boji- Boji Owa, which has as motto, “the brains wears the crown” will be five years in operation. The principal of the college Mr. Frank Uzor Chukwu granted Ika Weekly interview a forth might ago where he spoke the vision and philosophy of the school, exam malpractice in the society and what makes kings Solomon’s College have edge over others.
Please read on.
May we meet you sir?
I am Frank Uzor Chukwu, the principal of King Solomon’s College, Owe Ekei, in Ika Northeast local government area of Delta State. I am a native of Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State. My father Mr. Ogbonna Chukwu was a principal of a college and my mother, Mrs. Chinwe Chukwu retired as headmistress of a primary school. My father is late now while my mother is still alive. After retirement, my mum had to relocate to the village where she domiciles now.
Can you lead us into your educational background?
I had my early primary school education in my village, Mmaku in Awgu local government area where I spent primary one to three before my dad was transferred outside the village. I concluded my primary education in Omor in present Ayemenu local government area of Enugu State. After that I proceeded to Comprehensive Secondary School Unofia very close to Awka, capital of Anambra State where I had my secondary school education. I stayed in the same area where I attended Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. I read political science division graduating in 2005. with 2nd class upper Being that I have found myself in the education sector, I had to proceed to acquire educational qualification to enable me do my job effectively. I then enrolled for post graduate diploma in education with the University of Port-Harcourt affiliated to Warri College of Education. Presently, I am running a masters degree with the Open University of Nigeria.
What jobs have you done since graduation?
In 2006, I did my National Youth Service Corp. In 2007, I began teaching in Asaba. I taught in Wisdom Group of Schools as English and Government teacher. In 2008, I taught in Hollywood College Asaba, where I became the Head of Arts Department. I also taught at St. Peter’s Junior Seminary, Asaba, Bishops Court as Government teacher. It was from there that I came to King Solomon’s College Bosi Boji Owa in 2009 as principal.
Why in particular did you decide to come into education?
I am not doing something far from what my parents did. It is like a home prepared profession. My dad retired as a principal of a college, and my mum also retired as a headmistress of a primary school, my elder sister is a teacher, so I see it like a family profession. So I decided to tow the same path.
Since you towed the part of education, Have you had any regrets?
Not at all. My wife is also a teacher. And that is another interesting dimension to the teaching profession. I don’t have anything to regret about. My dad did very well, he was recognized. He was the first teacher in my entire community before he rose to the position where he retired.
Can you share with us some of the challenges in the education sector?
There are many of them especially how to handle the students that are all from different family backgrounds and are settling in one place.
It is an ardous task to make sure that you carry all of them along by making them what they are supposed to be and trying to fashion them in a particular way which will be acceptable to the society. Another challenge is the provision of facilities. There are some schools that find it difficult to provide the necessary facilities and this creates a lot of setbacks. However, some schools will provide the facilities but will not make effective use of them. Another challenge is governments unstable policies on education without minding whose ox is gord. For instance, today there is change in curriculum which will start by September. In the last West African School Certificate Examination conducted for 2014, suddenly and without prior notice, civic education and other courses were introduced and made compulsory a few months to the exam. These are the challenges. However some schools that know their onions will surmount them. In King Solomon’s College, we have surmounted because in those newly introduced courses, my students performed very well to the extent that they scored A 1. Education policies made by the government is also a challenge depending on the way they go about it.
When was King Solomon’s College founded?
On September 14, 2009, five years ago.
What is the vision of the school?
The vision of this school is academic excellence especially for people of Owa kingdom first and beyond. I mean unadulterated academic excellence. When a child comes out of King Solomon’s college, that child will be automatically independent and no matter where he or she gets to, he or she will not find it difficult communicating with others.
What is the philosophy of the school?
At an early age, our students are taught and equipped to take responsibilities, develop leadership abilities and build team spirit which will bring about and enhance loyalty to the school and the country at large.
It is our aim to develop each child to have the courage to work and achieve success and also learn how to manage success with humility.
The real test of a sound school is the quality of students it is able to turn out. We believe that this is the desire of every well meaning parent. In choosing King Solomon’s College, parents would have made one of the best decision in the educational life of their children. It is our aim to live up to and surpass the expectations of each parent whose child or children have come to learn in our well designed academic calendars.
We believe that learning is a highly individualized process and that every child has a peculiar disposition and unique potential that requires individual attention. That is why our teaching method is child- centered with high moral potential, and we operate at low student- teacher ration. Our systems, ensure, that positive changes are not delayed so as to constantly maintain the development of personal lives and child’s thought.
What have you done in the last five years to ensure that your vision and philosophy impact the children and the society?
Like in every conventional secondary school, we have stipulated courses which students are expected to offer. We train our students not only academically but also to make them learn how to operate computers from the Junior Secondary School level so that when any student leaves the school, he or she can handle computers for profitable ventures. We have a well equipped computer laboratory where we train the students skillfully to be self reliant in ICT.
Can you enumerate some of the learning facilities you have here?
We have well equipped Physics, Chemistry, Biology laboratories and contemporary materials that will aid the students in research work. We also have a well equipped library that can assist people in higher college. We try to be ahead of other schools.
Do you have extracurricular facilities?
We have Lawn Tennis Court, Football Pitch, and Basket Ball Pitch all in very good shape. We also have Table Tennis court. These are all extracurricular activities for as the saying goes, all work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy.
Can you tell us what makes your school the best in Ika land?
(Laugh) I think you should say the best in Delta State. If you say the best in Ika land, you are limiting us. Shortly after the inception of King Solomon’s College in 2009, we participated in a state organized competition, Chris Ikomi Essay Competition. Our school did not just come out first in Ika land but took first in the senior category in the whole of Delta State. In my opinion, that is a great thing to reckon with. The school has not lacked in other competitions. We have continued to come out 1st and 2nd in different competitions organized in Ika land. I believe this school is the best. Our school environment with the serenity gives our students an edge over others. It is a complete environment for schooling.
Is the relationship of teachers cordial with the students?
If the relationship of teachers is not cordial, the students will not feel free to ask questions and that will affect and hamper their academic progress. Here, I know all the names of my students, about 135 of them. Not just their first names but also last names. That will tell you how cordial the relationship is. The relationship between the teachers, the management, with the students are very cordial.
Is the school boarding or day?
It is both boarding and day school. We have the intention of making it all boarding. That was the original plan, but because the owner of the school wanted to give the people of Owa a sense of belonging, he made it day and boarding. We hope to make it wholly boarding in the near future.
Is your school enjoying good relationship with the people of the host community, Owa kingdom?
They are good people. They are encouraging us. Our relationship is cordial.
How many students do you have per class?
Good question. Because we try to maintain and vie for academic excellence, we try to minimize the number of students in a class. In each class, we have 25 students. The reason is to make sure that the teachers are able to monitor the students and handle them appropriately.
Lets take you away from the school, would you subscribe to the view that the standard of education is falling?
The standard remains. The approach is what matters. The standard is already there. The problem is the attitude of people towards education. It is no longer news that in so many schools, teachers and parents aid and abet malpractice. In such schools, the attitude of both teachers and students is depreciating.
What do you think people should do to change their attitude towards education?
It is a simple thing. The teachers must be ready to teach. They must be prepared to go extra mile.
In King Solomon’s College, teachers come here Saturdays and Sundays and nobody gives any remuneration. They are doing it from their hearts because they want the students to pass. And there is no way the students will not complement this effort when they see their teachers putting their best. If all the schools follow suit, the attitude toward education will change. And that same standard which is set abinitio will be maintained. It has to do with the management, the teachers and the students. The management, must ensure that they have the standard in their school, and then pass this orientation to the teachers as well as to the students letting them know that the school is offering a zero torance to malpractice. When it is done that way, attitudes will change. The problem is that many schools don’t consider that. What they want is just to accept the money for students to pass without studying well, thereby destroying the society. These students are the future leaders. If they are half baked, the society will be in trouble. There must be a reorientation to maintain the standard. Schools should do all they can to hire qualified teachers. Some schools hire cheap labour and that affects the performance of students. And those school are the once that always resort to malpractice. In King Solomon’s College, every teacher is a degree holder. Some of us have double degress and all it takes to bring up the children in the way they should go so that others should emulate us by hiring qualified teachers.
Any special appeal to parent out there who do not yet know about the strength of your school?
What one does not know is bigger than the person. Any one who is not informed, will be deformed in knowledge. My appeal to parents out there without minding the cost is for them to seize the opportunity of admission now to have their wards registered at King Solomon’s College. Here we don’t believe anybody is a write off. We have our means of moulding every child. In the just concluded WASCE, all our students made their results. The only assistance they had was the teaching from the teachers. In the school our students had 100 %, pass grade one and in JSS 3 exam our student also scored 100 %, of grade one, that is to say nobody is a write off in our school. King Solomon’s College has proved her worth again. Despite the WAEC pronouncements as regards the mass failure in the just concluded exam, King Solomon made a hundred percent pass of grade one. We are ready to do it again. Let parents come to us and we will prove to them that the taste of the pudding is in the eating. They must however have it in mind that there is no amount too much to invest on their wards when it comes to education.
What is your take on child abuse and on boys and girls who dress irresponsibly?
It has to do with both their immediate family and the school where they attend. You will bear me witness that in the College of Education here in Agbor such dressing was prohibited. If the school prohibits it and the child goes home to dress badly, it is no longer the fault of the school but the way the family looks at it. Parents must live above the challenge of moral decadence in our society. Prov 22v6 says, “train up a child in the way he should go so that when he grows old he will not turn aside from it”. In King Solomon’s College unlike other schools where the boys and girls put their trouser below the waste, we see it as something wrong. Students cannot dress that way in our school. It is not possible. I have sent a number of students home to invite their parents to discuss such situation. So it is not proper to allow our children to dress any how in the name fashion. Charity they say begins at home. Have you bothered asking why most Nigerian and foreign artist perform naked? I have pondered about it. These are results of lack of home training. Parents have big responsibilities to make the children behave well in the society. Parents should rise to the responsibilities and checkmate the way their wards dress.
“In the area of child abuse where underaged children sell during school hours, there is a law in Nigeria that forbids that. What is the government doing to stop it?
They must do something to enforce the law. Go to the market and see children of school age selling during the school hours. Nigeria is good in having good policies but the problem is implementation. So the government must live up to expectation. Whatever is worthy of condemnation, we must all be prepared to condemn it.
Has your wife played any role in your success?
Like I said, she is a teacher. She has played a big role in King Solomon’s College in terms of advise and in my life generally.
Do you have mentors?
My mentor is Malachi Ochei, special adviser on communications to the Enugu State government, Hon. Uche Nayokpe, a one term member, Enugu State House of Representatives. Then a mentor that I call a role model is Okoka Friedrick, former principal of Hollywood International College Asaba. He made me what I am today in education.
How do you feel being the principal of King Solomon’s College?
Grateful. I am very grateful to God. I give all the glory to God who made it possible and who supplies me with wisdom to manage the school. I am also very grateful to the proprietor of the school who always like to hear about the progress we are making in other to make adjustment to see that the school is developing the way he wants it. I pray that God will continue to sustain, and enlarge his coast. I could not have been able to completely handle the college without his wisdom of advise of experience as an ex-teacher in primary secondary and tertiary schools before traveling abroad
How do you relax
I relax with my wife and children. There is enough space in the school to enjoy ourselves
How do you see the future of Nigeria?
As a political scientist, Nigeria has a great future but the problem are the practitioners of politics. Politics should not be a do or die affair like the way we are seeing it here. The problem is selfishness. If we can eshew it, we will have a great future and carry every one along. We should put the right pegs in the right holes. I pray that referendum will be used to determine the outcome of the just concluded National Conference where all Nigerias will have the opportunity to participate in determining their future. Decision through referendum will represent the choice of the Nigeria people. My prayer is for the politicians to turn a new leaf and do what is right.
Any other word for parents and children?
Education is the greatest legacy one can leave behind for children. I mean sound and good education. Parents must endevour to provide necessary reading materials for their wards. Nobody goes to the farm without hoe or cutlass. The same thing is true of education. What is a student doing in school without text books. There is no way a child will do well without these necessary materials.
I pray that parents will live up to expectation in provision of necessary materials for their wards. Parents should also enhance the reading ability of their wards at home as much as if not more than the teachers are doing in the school.

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