President Names COMPASS-Supported School the Best in the Nation

December 9, 2008


With help from the COMPASS project, the Race Course Primary School was named the best primary school in the nation when it received the President’s Teachers Schools Excellence Award for 2008.

The award, presented in October, is the Nigerian government’s way of recognizing schools that have shown quality improvement and raised standards and achievements in education.

“The school won the award for its outstanding performance which is a result of compliance to new teaching strategies taught by COMPASS,” said the school’s head teacher, Mansur A. Uba.

Two years ago, the Race Course Primary School in Kano, Nigeria, was much like other schools in the country. It faced many challenges in providing quality education to its 900 pupils: classrooms were inadequate, the library’s book shelves were empty, and the PTA lacked much needed resources including skills for proposal writing, financial management, and advocacy strategies.

In a letter addressed to COMPASS’ state team leader, Uba noted that, “Indeed, the success and achievements were enhanced due to the COMPASS assistance and intervention which made the school what it is today.”

COMPASS — Community Participation for Action in the Social Sector — is a U.S. Agency for International Development-funded project which integrates health and education to improve learning outcomes for Nigerian children in the states of Kano, Lagos and Nasarawa. COMPASS aims to complement the government’s efforts to achieve universal quality education by 2015.

Creative implements COMPASS’ basic education component in collaboration with four international and Nigerian partner organizations and the Nigerian government. COMPASS is led by Pathfinder International.

Race Course Primary counts as a special school for a number of reasons including an active PTA, adequate learning facilities which include a library and computer room. “Above all, it’s the teachers’ determination which is a result of COMPASS’ capacity building and provision of materials,” Uba said.

According to Uba, prior to COMPASS’ interventions, Race Course Primary needed an adequate library, teaching and learning aids and renovated classrooms. Its teachers also needed “skills and strategies for dynamic teaching and learning.”

The Creative-managed basic education component is increasing the enrollment rates of girls, strengthening PTAs, and providing teacher training support in 1,400 public primary and Islamiyya schools. The project’s strong professional development component also includes training new teachers in modern teaching methods at local colleges of education. Through these activities, COMPASS seeks to establish sustainable educational reforms in the communities where it is working.

— Alexandra Pratt in Washington, D.C. with reporting in Nigeria from Nafisa Ado and Yardada Maikano.

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