Wole Soyinka is still fighting for his country
In the idyllic environment of Magboro-Akeran in Nigeria, there is a school dedicated to educating the next generation of scholars who will become leaders in business, government and the arts. Its name is Access International School and its goal is to provide an education of first order in a warm and welcoming, yet academically challenging environment. An important role model for the students and faculty at Access International School is the Nigerian man of letters and political activist Wole Soyinka.
Nigeria’s Nobel Prize Winner Combines Literature with Political Activism
Wole Soyinka is a playwright and poet, and the only Nigerian to ever win a Nobel Prize. He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, the first African to be honored in that category. Soyinka studied in Nigeria and the UK, and became famous for, among other things, producing works of literature critical of governments.
Political activism has always been important in Soyinka’s literature and, in fact, he dedicated his Nobel Prize to Nelson Mandela, who was still in a South African prison at the time. He formed an anti-corruption and justice-seeking student organisation while still in college. A significant number of the hundreds of published works attributed to him deal with the evils of repressive governments. As recently as 2015, he spent election day monitoring voting irregularities.
Nigeria’s most important writer has never been afraid of speaking truth to power. Soyinka’s play performed on the day in 1960 that Nigeria celebrated its sovereignty satirized the new government and argued that it was no better than the colonial ones. He was arrested for the first time in 1964 after resigning his professorship in protest of the government’s censorship. After the 1966 military coup he was arrested again and jailed for 22 months. In Soyinka’s mind, many of the strongmen who came to power were no better than their colonial oppressors, and he has been an untiring critic of "the oppressive boot and the irrelevance of the colour of the foot that wears it,” whether in Nigeria or other countries such as Zimbabwe or Uganda.
Given that he was not supposed to have access to books, pen or paper, it is remarkable that Soyinka managed to write some significant works while in prison. He was finally forced to make a harrowing escape from the country on a motorcycle, and ended up living in the United States and France. He has held teaching positions at universities in the United States, Nigeria, and Great Britain. He finally returned to Nigeria in 1999, avoiding a death sentence in absentia during the prior dictatorship.
Soyinka once famously said that “A tiger doesn't proclaim his tigritude, he pounces.”
The list of awards that Soyinka has received is long. In addition to the Nobel Prize, he has been given four honorary doctorates, six international book awards, and three international fellowships. He has even been made a Yoruba tribal aristocrat.
Obviously, Soyinka is an exceptional man. However, one thing is certain: without a solid education, it is extremely unlikely that he would have become an internationally renowned man of letters.
Quality Education in Nigeria at Access International
Access International traces its roots to 2004, when Dr. Jonathan Akpan gathered an elite team of academics and founded a school for children who are willing to dream big and work hard to achieve their goals. In particular, he wanted to create an environment where children who do not attend schools in the major urban centers like Lagos, Kano, and Ibadan can receive a first class education.
Classes at Access International School are small, with a maximum of 20 students, so that students receive individual attention. And the facilities are modern and comprehensive, with well equipped science laboratories, internet access for each student, a fully stocked library and a creative arts studio. The school also enjoys a partnership with an IT institute, allowing them to receive an IT certification in addition to their diploma.
Access International School believes that young minds must be engaged and that classroom theory must be combined with practical experience. An early love of reading is encouraged through regular assignments and heavy use of the library. The science labs provide empirical proof to supplement and reinforce the information students receive in lectures. The emphasis on literature and science with a significant component of art at the school is not accidental, as the administration believes that all aspects of a young mind must be developed in order to produce a well rounded, curious, engaged adult.
Access International Schools also serves as a centre for various national examination bodies like SSCE (WAEC), NECO, GCE and UME (JAMB), Olabisi Onabanjo University Programmes. It also represents Bournemouth University of UK and Tai Solarin University of Education. The trust that these organizations place in Access International is a testament to the dedication to quality shown by the administration, faculty and staff.
Engagement of parents is also a touchstone of the Access International method, and the school encourages all parents to take an active role in the educational goals of the school. In fact, Access International opens its doors to a parents/teachers forum twice during each term, and is the only local school to do so.
Boarding facilities are available for students who are not from the area, and parents will find them to be clean, comfortable, well lit, well supervised and modern. The living quarters are spacious, and the dining hall is sure to meet every parent’s standards. Security is provided 24 hours a day and entry to the grounds is strictly controlled.
For commuting students, modern comfortable coaches with professional drivers are available for morning and afternoon trips to and from the school, as well as for field trips, extra-curricular activities and other activities.
Whether a prospective parent is looking for quality in instruction, quality in facilities, or quality in transportation and accommodations, Access International School offers all of it in a welcoming, academically challenging environment where children flourish and grow into responsible adults.
Because of its commitment to continuous quality improvement, Access International School Nigeria Education has been selected to receive the BID International Star Award for Quality for 2015 at the convention in Geneva.
About BID and the International Star Award for Quality:
BID is a private and independent organization founded in 1984, whose primary activity is business communication orientated towards quality, excellence and innovation in management. A leader in the broadcasting of Quality Culture, BID recognizes those companies and organizations which lead the most important activities in the business world, and is considered the founding organization in the broadcasting of the Culture of Quality, Excellence and Innovation in 179 countries.
The trophy symbolizes a pledge to the principles of Quality Culture. The QC100 Total Quality Management Model, together with the Quality Mix program, media coverage of the convention and its impact on the community and business sector, create an unmatched platform for continuous improvement within the organization and awareness of the achievements of the company at an international level.
Awards are given only to those who are committed to improving their Quality Culture based on the principles of the QC100 Total Quality Management Model. Candidates are proposed by the leaders of previously awarded companies who they consider worthy of the award. Especially meritorious candidates may also be nominated. The International BID Quality Award Selection Committee then chooses the winning companies who will receive the award in New York, Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, Madrid and London.