By Chinenye Anuforo, [email protected]
Peter Ogudoro, is the founder of the community for Nigerian teachers. He has the big ambition of changing the country’s education system one teacher at a time. The community is focused on helping teachers acquire the skills they need to make Nigeria’s education system globally competitive. In this interview he tells us about winning the $50,000 grant from the Facebook Community Accelerators, and his vision for education in Nigeria.
Building the Facebook community to a membership of over 243,000 teachers
The growth of the group was slow at inception, between 2016 to 2019. But the outbreak of covid-19 in 2020 really changed the game for us and helped us to gain traction online. About 95% of our members joined the community between April 2020 and now. The lockdown forced many teachers to use online platforms to do their jobs and run their lives. It’s been an exciting journey.
My doctoral training in the United Kingdom, Austria, Norway, and Sweden as well as a Fellowship sponsored by JustEd in Finland revealed that teachers drive development for society through learner-centred pedagogy, and this is conspicuously absent in the Nigerian education system. I returned to Nigeria in 2016 and launched the Nigerian Teachers online community to create awareness among teachers regarding development-oriented and globally competitive teaching techniques.
This was the natural thing for me to do because all of the relevant government agencies and officials I approached for the opportunity to help the country with my knowledge and skills ignored me, probably because they were afraid of losing power if what I brought from top research-intensive universities in Europe was implemented in the Nigerian education system. However, they could not stop me from using it to achieve my dreams to help Nigerian teachers. They were oblivious of it until I won the Community Accelerator Award.
Benefits from being members of this community
In collaboration with other content providers, I have shared very valuable resources that have helped teachers learn modern techniques for doing their jobs. Our platform has also become a pipe through which school owners get the teachers they need to run their classrooms. Our members have also learned how to earn extra income through the ideas we share on the platform for free. We celebrate teachers and their students. This has encouraged many who wanted to quit teaching to remain in the profession and the education industry.
How do you feel as one of the finalists from Sub Saharan Africa, who are leading online communities on Facebook?
This is about the best thing that has happened to me as a professional teacher who has been in the education industry for over three decades. I feel fulfilled now and have come to the conviction that it was not an error devoting my life to serving society through teaching and education research.
The Community Accelerator Programme, how has the impact been so far?
Very powerful. The intellectual tools the programme makes available to me for amazing impact on our members and other stakeholders in the education industry is mind blowing. The award will enable me to do further research on teaching techniques in Finland and come home to share lessons learned with education stakeholders in Nigeria, starting with our members. Meta is, through this award, blessing the Nigerian education system in immeasurable ways.
You received $50,000 as a grant to help bring to reality your project plans for Nigerian Teachers. Could you share more light on the proposed project?
We are starting an Annual Teachers’ Conference with the resources provided by the award, developing amazing resources for every teacher in Nigeria, and undertaking a learning tour of the Scandinavian countries so we can understand and leverage what our colleagues are doing there to use our classrooms to transform lives and help Nigeria accelerate its development for global competitiveness.
What do you think about Meta’s efforts in empowering online communities like yours?
Meta is a life saver and helper of governments and societies. They are using this programme to accomplish amazing things for society which cannot be accomplished in any other way. I am eternally grateful to the organization for this recognition and further impact I am making in the global education space.
Importance of skill acquisition for every Nigerian Teacher
Education is the bedrock of development and social change. Teachers are the major drivers of education. Without us societies atrophy and descend into terrible problems. Skilled teachers are more than gold to any society.