London University: Restoring Igbo cultural values and language


By Abraham Jonah, Middle East Editor

FRI, NOVEMBER 4 2016-Concepts University College London, as a leading distance learning educational and online institution has been spreading her tentacles in knowledge delivery across the globe via partnership with other recognized universities and establishment of schools in Africa and Nigeria in particular.

The University makes it possible for people to earn tertiary education regardless of where they live or work, their commitments to career, families and strive to remove the barriers of time, space, past educational experience and level of income.

As part of it, Concepts Schools dully incorporated through every due process is running across Nigeria; delivering best of education at the elementary and high grade levels.

Whilst every school focus on curriculum delivery, Concepts schools with her campuses in Ekwulobia and Abuja city go beyond the norms to arts, cultural value retention, language brand loyalty and has impacted lately on the Igbo language of Nigeria.

That the Igbo language and culture are being eroded by foreign influences is no more news. It is against this background that many concerned Igbo people and agencies have one time or the other made strident efforts to save the Igbo language and values from total extinction. However their efforts have not paid off maximally as the trend has continued unabated, no thanks to the failure of the family setting in adopting the Igbo language at least for domestic use.

But the recent institutionalization of the Igbo language and culture by Concepts Schools, Abuja, is an indication that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The schools, established in 2005 and owned by a diaspora returnee, Amb Dr Marcel Ezenwoye has been providing all-round quality education that has indeed given it an edge over others.

However the aspect where it has carved a niche for itself is its anchoring of the Institute of Igbo Language and Culture in Nigeria. Among others, the initiation involves establishment of the Igbo language debates, jingles, Igbo competitions for nursery, primary and secondary pupils; inter-school cultural day competitions in Igbo language – idioms, proverbs, dressing, native delicacies, dances; personality shows featuring prominent Igbo sons and daughters both at home and abroad – highlighting efforts at reviving the dying Igbo language and culture, origin of Ndi Igbo, Igbo political ideology as well as public speaking for youths and the aged. The innovation also includes donations to establish Igbo Language and Cultural Laboratory where arts, gifts, talents, drawings, books, cooking materials, Biafran war artifacts (such as Ego Igwe, Biafran currencies will be showcased) documentaries of ethics, values, festivals and traditional ceremonies.

Amb Ezenwoye, while bemoaning the dying Igbo language and culture, called on all stakeholders to come together to revive it.

“It is against this backdrop that Concepts Schools in Gwarinpa, Abuja, is championing the process of establishing the Institute of Igbo Language and Culture to be the flagship of this effort. There are many good sides of our culture and this is the time for us to come together to teach the young ones the need to imbibe them. It is a pity that parents of Igbo extractions expose their children and wards only to the alien cultures and languages to the detriment of our native ones. In our schools, we prioritize our cultural values in addition to alien ones to make our future generation all-round individuals,” he said.

Concepts Schools, located on 126, CITEC Villas, Gwarinpa, Abuja, is also part of Concepts Sports Academy in Abuja. With its sound sporting equipment, the school integrated sporting activities into its academic curricula to ensure that pupils and children develop both mentally and academically. It is also a centre for gymnastic activities for the adults.

Amb Ezenwoye said, being a proprietor of one of the best colleges in the United Kingdom, Concepts Schools, Nigeria, has come to fill the missing links in the education advancement of the Nigerian child as well as the adults because the school also operates adult classes where the Igbo language and culture are taught.

Dr Ezenwoye said, “In my schools, we partnered the Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria to launch a professional qualifying examination benchmark. Getting it right from nursery to the secondary level is the solution. At Concepts Schools, we combine education and sports: badminton, violin, football, basket ball, dancing, karate and martial arts among others. Some of these children are hyper active. When they exhaust their energy, they settle down to read. We also have IQ enhancement programme where the IQ level of these children is enhanced. The average IQ of Nigerian children is 70% as against about 130 overseas.”

He identified lack of academic database in Nigeria as the bane of sound education development in the country.

Mrs Kate Okeke, a member of the Parent-Teacher Association of the school, also said that “This is the pioneer school in cultural promotion, sound education in conjunction with sports. My children attending this school have improved tremendously since they resumed here. Before now, they used to find it very hard to speak the Igbo language. Today they write and speak it very fluently.”

A pupil of the school, nine-year-old Nnenna Ibe, says she wants to be an athlete.

“It is in this school that I got to know that I can run very well. The school organizes sports competition. In one of such, I came first and since then, I have developed interest in sports. I also play other games,” she said.


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