By Sunday Ani

An education consultant and lead consultant at Knowledge Station International, Oluwafemi Dairo, has said that the only way to break the myth surrounding mathematics as a subject in Nigeria is to ensure that experts are involved in the development of the mathematics curriculum. A seasoned professional, Dairo has dedicated his life to the advancement of education in Nigeria, particularly mathematics education.

In this interview, she speaks on the need for the government, and stakeholders in education to engage experts in mathematics curriculum for students to pass the subject with ease, his journey into the education sector, challenges, and memorable moments, among others.

How did you start your journey into the education sector, and how has your passion for mathematics evolved over the years?

My journey into the education sector began over a decade ago, precisely in 2009. It was driven by a deep-seated passion for change in the education sector, with keen interest in proffering solutions to the alarming rate of failure in mathematics in Nigeria. Through the years, my dedication to the subject has only grown stronger, fueling my commitment to improving mathematics education.

What motivated you to start organising the mathematics students’ summit and the mathematics teachers’ workshop?

The motivation behind organising the Mathematics Students’ Summit ( MSS) and Mathematics Teachers’ Workshop (MTW), stemmed from the need to address the gaps in mathematics education in Nigeria, as the rate of failure in mathematics is alarming, and  this in turn, has equally discouraged many students from pursuing their desired career. Furthermore, the desired goal of helping students pass mathematics with ease will not be possible if teachers are not empowered with the adequate tools, skills, and knowledge required.

What are some of the key challenges you have faced in promoting mathematics in Nigeria, and have you overcome them?

The key challenges in promoting mathematics education include, overcoming the fear or anxiety associated with the subject, and ensuring accessibility to quality resources. Through targeted initiatives and collaborative efforts, we have been able to tackle these challenges. I also believe that the campaign for change in Nigeria education will only sprout if change is embraced. This is the reason our training initiatives and projects at Knowledge Station International are comprehensive, inclusive, and mind enlightening, so as to cause a paradigm shift from the stereotyped way of thinking to a broader horizon.

How do you ensure your training programmes, projects, and initiatives are innovative and engaging?

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Our training programmes and projects are geared towards incorporating interactive activities, real world applications, and technology driven tools to make mathematics more accessible and simplified for both students and teachers. We are also mindful of the fact that our major goal is to offer solutions; therefore, our resources are well researched and thoroughly put together.

Can you share some success stories or memorable moments from your work in education?

One memorable moment was witnessing a transformation in the results of students in a particular state in Nigeria. The students had attended our three-day mathematics student summit, where they were tutored on how to prepare adequately for mathematics examinations, and the results were mind blowing as there was drastic improvement in the mathematics grades, and the number of students who gained admission into tertiary institutions increased greatly. This was a satisfying and fulfilling moment, not just for me as the lead consultant, but also for my team as well. It was also considered a win for the state government, as we have assisted in offering solutions to a challenge that has plagued the education sector of the state over the years.

As an expert in education sector in Nigeria, how do you stay updated with the latest development and trends in mathematics education?

I stay updated with the latest development and trends in mathematics education through continuous professional development, attending conferences, locally and internationally, networking with peers and staying abreast of relevant researches and publications.

What advice would give to principals, stakeholders and the government on how to improve education in Nigeria?

My professional advice to principals, and stakeholders in education, as well as the government, is that they should embrace change and be willing to pay the price. If you aspire for improvement, there must be a measure of sacrifice you are willing to pay. The change in grade will not be delivered on a platter of gold, but must be intentionally sourced. Principals of schools should subscribe to training and retraining of their teachers in order to equip them. The government should also engage the services of experts so that they can help with the mathematics curriculum and other vital aspects that will facilitate the anticipated improvement.

What are your plans for further contributions to the field of mathematics education in Nigeria and beyond?

My future plans include expanding our outreach efforts, collaborating with more schools and educational institutions, and leveraging technology to further enhance mathematics education on a broader scale.