Mr. Muazu Omeji, the principal of Nigerian Tulip International Colleges (NTIC) Abuja, shed light on some of the factors that have made the NTIC brand reliable and acceptable in Nigerians. He spoke recently to select media. CALEB ONWE brings the Excerpts below:
A lot has been said about the NTIC schools in Nigeria concerning how it all began. Can you shed some light on this?
To start with, let me intimate you that Nigeria Tulip International College (NTIC) is an educational institution run by the First Surat Group whose primary interest is in the areas of education and health with the single vision of building human resources and raising responsible individuals equipped with necessary skills and knowledge of the contemporary world.
The story of NTIC began in 1998 in a rented two-bedroom apartment with a vision to become a household name in the educational sector in Nigeria.
And by the grace of God, through dedication and hard work, the school has grown tremendously. In addition to high academic standard maintained over the years, NTIC schools have been successful in the area of good moral upbringing.
This has been acknowledged by both parents and students themselves. I want to attribute this success to the quality of teachers in the school.
Is there a place for Nigerian culture and values considering the fact that the school is a Turkish school?
Yes. There is of course. We run a comprehensive educational programme.
The academic success of our students cannot be separated from the suitable and conducive environment they enjoy. Just like our slogan of “The Right Environment for Learning”, it is our belief that a combination of theoretical and practical approach to teaching is one of the most efficient ways of transmitting knowledge.
We not only strive to make available high-quality classrooms for academic learning, but also modern laboratory and social clubs for our students to practice what they have learned in class.
We also realized that students need to excel in other areas of life such as sports, cultural activities and leadership to be able to be well grounded for the next phases of their lives. As a result, the school has introduced concepts like social club, cultural activities and sports facilities to serve as spaces for our students to develop their innate skills.
Excursion activities and competitions are also organized to enable our students to experience other cultures while their psychomotor domain is being exploited.
What can you say are your strong points as a school?
In NTIC, it is our belief that human beings are born as empty vessels which can be shaped by good values. As a result, morality is not an area we toy with. Attention is paid to character right from the point of admission.
I think, that is one of the reasons all our ex-students have remained good and worthy ambassadors of the school and the country as a whole. Part of what we do is employing hostel supervisors with good character and strong academic backgrounds. They assist the students in their day to day activities in the school. Just as in any secular institution, we offer CRK and IRK as subjects.
Every student is at liberty to profess his or her religious ideals.
What about the teaching staff?
As mentioned earlier, we do not compromise on quality and, to remain above board in the field of teaching, quality of teaching staff must be taken seriously as a result our teachers a consistently trained and retrained on the modern teaching pedagogy. In addition, we have an internal mechanism for monitoring and appraising our teachers.
As a fact, before you are employed as a teacher in any of our schools, you must also pass our moral test regardless of your educational qualification. There is also a feedback mechanism we have in place in grading our teachers.
Now, you might want to ask why we do all of these? The answer is this. The NTIC brand was built from scratch, and one of the promises we made to our parents was that, not only would we ensure academic excellence for their wards, we would also ensure that they would come out as good and worthy ambassadors in the society. And as they say, trust is a burden.
The burden is on us because parents and guardians have entrusted their children to us. And we have strived to keep that trust.
The NTIC has been organizing the National Mathematics competition for quite a while. What is the motivation?
One of our core mandates is to collaborate with the federal government of Nigeria in providing quality education to her citizens. And we have stayed faithful to this mandate.
We have had collaborations with the relevant educational institutions in the country, but worthy of mentioning is the collaboration with the National Mathematical Centre (NMC) in organizing annual mathematics competition for primary five and six pupils across the country.
The 14th edition of the competition was organized in February this year, where over 34,000 primary school pupils nationwide participated.
Out of this figure, 16 outstanding students were offered full scholarship into NTIC schools. This is aside the over 100 pupils that were offered various levels of scholarships. As you know, the importance of Mathematics at every level of academic struggle cannot be over emphasized.
There was a kidnap incident in one of your schools recently, what has the school authorities done to forestall a reoccurrence in the future?
It is indeed very unfortunate but thank God our students were released unharmed. Actually, even before the incident, we have always paid utmost attention to security issues.
To cut the story short, after that incident, the management engaged the services of some security experts to run a security audit of our schools, which they did and made recommendations. As we speak, those recommendations are being implemented.
The management has on its own reviewed the security arrangement in all our schools. I bet if you go around our schools, you would be amazed at the level of security in place. For obvious reasons, I would not want to disclose some of the measures we have put in place. But I want to use this medium to assure parents that by the grace of God, that incident would not repeat itself.