More Than Academics…

Academics– Time management, entrepreneurship, building trust and learning a second language may be as important as making straight ‘A’s, some top science pupils have learnt. Kofoworola Belo-Osagie of The Nation reports on the vital skills they must learn to stay ahead.

After excelling in a highly competitive National Qualifying Examination to emerge among the top 81 contenders in the TV quiz and innovation challenge stage of the InterswitchSpak 2.0 competition, the winners were told on Monday that good grades were not enough for success in life.

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Interswitch Managing Director, Mr Mitchell Elegbe; Flying Doctors Nigeria CEO, Dr Ola Orekunrin, and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Trade and Industry, Dr Jumoke Oduwole traded places with science teachers during a Masterclass held at Just Media Studios, Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos to enlighten the teenagers about the need to be innovative, think critically, experiment with businesses while in school, build networks, learn second languages, and personal finance, among others.

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Sharing things she wished she knew as a young adult growing up in London, Orekurin spoke about optimal time management, relationship building, money management and values in discussing the topic: “Entrepreneurship- Creating sustainable impact by solving social problems.”
Orekunrin, who said money was tight for her family while growing up, shared how learning Japanese while in school earned her a $100,000 scholarship to study Medicine in Japan after her medical training in the U.K. However, she said she believed she would have made better use of her free time to achieve even more.

“I was focused on my course but did not take up other opportunities. I did not use my time well. In the university you have a lot of spare time.

“Do as much as you can in terms of learning foreign languages and building small businesses to help your family. I started learning Japanese in Year one because my Pastor could speak and at the end I got a $100,000 scholarship to study Medicine in Japanese. I was the first black woman to be offered that scholarship,” she said, underscoring the importance of critical thinking, communication skills.

Orekunrin also spoke of how she started selling shoes and earning money as a student, and what she missed not building on the relationship with people around her as a student.

“A lot of people I went to the university with are now politicians in parliarment. When people get to a position, they go back to their university people. Build relationships strategically,” she said.

On values, which she said was the most important thing to have, Orekunrin said young people should learn to focus on what matters more than being popular.

On his part, Elegbe, whose firm, Interswitch, is sponsoring the contest, underscored the importance of building trust with family, teachers, friends and the community.

Sharing the formula for his trust equation, Elegbe said trust equals credibility plus reliability plus intimacy divided by self-orientation. He said self must reduce and other ingredients increase for young people to gain the trust of people around them. Elegbe also gave the equation for Trustworthy as :Ability (professional competence) x Integrity (extent to which you walk the talk) x Benevolence (concern for others) equals

“Equality only works if we all have equal strengths and abilities. Sometimes people that do not have have no right to ask you. It is you that has got excess that should take the decision to give to those that do not have,” he said.

Since poverty can cause people to be corrupt, Elegbe said the pupils should learn to eliminate poverty by sharing with those in need so they are not forced to become corrupt.

“As youths of this country, if you want change, you need to aspire to other things beyond science subjects. Do not be deceived because you are extremely smart, and have high IQ your future is setfor you. It will be very painful if you have all these and cannot be trusted,” he said.

Speaking on “A Collaborative Approach to Social Innovation”, Dr Oduwole, represented by Mr Ayokunnu Ojeniyi, told the pupils to begin thinking about social innovations to challenges around them and collaborate with like-minded people to bring their ideas to pass.

“Learn to take personal responsiblity. Don’t complain about what you can fix,” she said.

Speaking on the value of the Masterclass, some of the participants said it was a useful time to learn what they were not taught in the classroom.

Mezisashe Ojuba of Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja, who got the highest score of 91 in the qualifying exam, said: “I have learnt that it is very important for me not just to be smart or intelligent in terms of books but also develop my abilities and try my hands on new things. I have learnt I can start businesses while in school. On a normal day in class we don’t really learn these things”.Trustworthy Elegbe also spoke of equality versus equity, saying the pupils should learn to promote equity.

“Equality only works if we all have equal strengths and abilities. Sometimes people that do not have have no right to ask you. It is you that has got excess that should take the decision to give to those that do not have,” he said.

Since poverty can cause people to be corrupt, Elegbe said the pupils should learn to eliminate poverty by sharing with those in need so they are not forced to become corrupt.

“As youths of this country, if you want change, you need to aspire to other things beyond science subjects. Do not be deceived because you are extremely smart, and have high IQ your future is setfor you. It will be very painful if you have all these and cannot be trusted,” he said.

Speaking on “A Collaborative Approach to Social Innovation”, Dr Oduwole, represented by Mr Ayokunnu Ojeniyi, told the pupils to begin thinking about social innovations to challenges around them and collaborate with like-minded people to bring their ideas to pass.

“Learn to take personal responsiblity. Don’t complain about what you can fix,” she said.

Speaking on the value of the Masterclass, some of the participants said it was a useful time to learn what they were not taught in the classroom.

Mezisashe Ojuba of Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja, who got the highest score of 91 in the qualifying exam, said: “I have learnt that it is very important for me not just to be smart or intelligent in terms of books but also develop my abilities and try my hands on new things. I have learnt I can start businesses while in school. On a normal day in class we don’t really learn these things.”

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