Olashore International School... the first 20 years
Since its first set of students, the school has gained a reputation for academic excellence, inculcating the right values in its students and equipping them for life. Knowing that change is the only constant thing in life, the school has constantly updated itself to stay abreast of education best practices constantly producing students who have performed astonishingly well in their various field of endeavours.Olashore International School opened wide its gates on 9th January 1994 to welcome its first set of one hundred Year 7 students. The school was founded by Oba Oladele Olashore CON to compete with its counterparts around the world and also offer quality boarding education of an international standard in Nigeria. He chose to establish the school in Iloko, his home town. This singular act has brought about development in the community and placed it on the global map.
The founding Principal, Dr. D. F. Burgess, during the opening of the school noted that, although the school was open, the facilities would continue to be developed for years to come. Alongside this development of the facilities, the school would continue to grow in its academic achievements. He also identified some of the school’s values such as the dignity and individual worth of each student and the opportunity for all youth to have an education consistent with their personal and social needs.
These values remain at the centre of Olashore education and form the core of the school’s philosophy:
Olashore International School believes in the dignity and worth of each student and recognises the importance of mutual responsibility in the world community.
The School believes that all youth should have the opportunity for education consistent with their individual capabilities and with their personal and social needs.
The School believes that change is a constant factor in life and that education should encourage in students the development of values and thinking processes which will facilitate their intelligent adaptability in a changing world.
The School believes that learning is an unbroken activity that is continued throughout an individual’s life. Education, therefore, should foster independent thinking, exploration and experimentation as a lifelong process.
Set in 60 acres of serene countryside, over the years Olashore International School has become the benchmark for world-class educational facilities in Nigeria. In 1996 HRM Oba Okunade Sijuade, Olubuse II, Ooni of Ife opened the school hall bearing his name with a seating capacity for 1500. This has hosted major events over the years and in 2013 hosted the gala dinner of the Nigerian Computer Society with the Governor of Osun State, Engineer Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola and Honourable Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson.
In 1998, the Chief (Dr) D. F. Burgess Stadium was opened, containing a full-size Olympic running track and field facilities, football pitch, volleyball courts and covered seating. This remains one of the foremost stadiums in Osun state and hosted the 2013 edition of the Nigeria Private University Games . A thriving Parent Teacher Association also grew in the school and they made their contribution to the school, building a 25-metre swimming pool for the school, which opened in 2002.
Academic facilities were also boosted including the construction of an extensive library and ICT complex, the Olu Daramola Library whose foundation stone was laid by Professor Wole Soyinka in 2004 and opened in 2005 by His Excellency General Abdulsalam Abubakar. In 2004 the staff village, providing quality housing for all teaching staff, was opened by His Excellency Prince O. Oyinola, Executive Governor of Osun state and in 2007 the Royal Park International Hotel was opened to provide accommodation for parents who are visiting their wards. Even after 20 years, the school continues to develop these facilities with the planning and construction of an indoor sports centre and a golf course and academic facilities to support the University Foundation Programmes offered by the school.
However, excellent facilities are just one aspect of what has made an Olashore education unique and allows our graduates to become leaders in Nigeria and beyond.
From the onset, Oba Olashore was supported by his family in developing the school. Prince Abimbola Olashore was present at the founding of the school, working closely with the Oba from the clearing of the site, through the construction and then the opening of the school. When the Oba passed on in 2012 Prince Abimbola took over the responsibility of building on the solid foundation his father had laid. Taking on the challenge of ensuring that the core values of the school are maintained and propagated whilst the standards already set are met and improved upon.
In this context, for the 20th Anniversary, the school developed a contemporary Mission Statement which captures the timeless values on which Olashore International School was built whilst placing them in a 21st century context.
The Mission Statement is:
Olashore International School is a learning community committed to academic excellence, nurturing each child to their full potential in a safe and serene environment, developing leaders for the dynamic global society in the 21st century.
We see the Mission Statement as encapsulating the four key areas that underpin an Olashore education:
- Academic Excellence as part of a learning community
- Ensuring each child achieves their potential in all areas
- Creating a safe and serene environment where students can thrive
- Providing leadership skills so our graduates contribute to development in Nigeria and the world.
As a learning community, committed to academic excellence Olashore International School ensures that all staff receive continuous staff development to improve their standard and keep them at the forefront of educational thinking. The school has links with Bradford College and Lancaster University in the UK, which include teacher exchanges and visits from lecturers as well as the Institute of Education in Ireland.
This continuous development of our staff means that we can maintain excellent results, not just in Nigerian exams but also on the international stage when our students sit their Cambridge IGCSE exams. Our Year 12 students consistently achieve 100% A-C in WASSCE with 82% of results at A or B. Our Head Girl in 2013, Osunsanya Oluwayimika, achieved nine A1 in WASSCE and then reinforced these results achieving A* and A in the six subjects she sat for in IGCSE. In 2014 the school placed amongst the top ten schools in Nigeria based on performance in WASSCE.
However, an Olashore education is about allowing the full needs of each child to be met, not just academic but spiritual and moral development, musical and dramatic talents explored and sporting excellence rewarded. In January 2013, students from the school performed the play Morountodun in front of the playwright Professor Osofisan and renowned actors in the Nigeria movie industry in a packed house at the MUSON centre in Lagos. In 2014 the school followed up this success with the presentation of Echoes From The Lagoon by Rasheed Gbadamosi. These plays led to the school receiving the 2014 award for Academic Excellence and Creativity Empowerment. As a Nigerian school, Olashore is committed to promoting African literature and ensures that local primary school children are invited to all performances to inspire them to greater heights.
This support and inspiration to primary age children was also the motivating factor in the introduction of the Olashore Inter-Primary School Sports Competition for Primary Schools in Osun, Oyo, Ekiti and Ondo states. During first edition in April 2013 the Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Needs of Osun state, Mr Stephen Kola Balogun praised the school for instituting such a competition and throwing open its facilities to inspire young children to participate in sports.
Whilst academic excellence and nurturing each child’s potential are core elements of an Olashore education, the unique aspect of an Olashore education is our commitment to developing leaders for the 21st century.
The school is rightly proud of the leadership shown by its prefects and this pride is compelling; for the past two years they have been recognised as the best Prefects in the AISEN Prefect Training course. However, these leadership qualities do not just appear in Year 11. Leaders are not born; they are made, through hard work, by being challenged, by being explicitly taught leadership skills. Olashore School challenges students to lead throughout their school life, whether that is as dorm prefects or class captains; as soccer or debate team captains; on excursions or in leading school events. The school has always included leadership training as part of the curriculum. At Olashore International School, in our 20th anniversary year, we realise that the integration of advanced teaching skills, effective use of technology to enhance learning and implicit and explicit teaching of leadership is a challenge to all schools in Nigeria. If our schools can rise to this challenge then we will no longer be looking elsewhere for our leaders, the global leaders of the 21st Century will have their roots here in Nigeria.
As one of the “Elder Statesmen” on the international school scene in Nigeria, Olashore International School is keenly aware of our role in supporting schools to meet this challenge. Olashore International School was a founding member of the Association of International School Educators of Nigeria (AISEN) and the Principal sits on the Board of Trustees. This is not a ceremonial role and Olashore expects its Principal to take a lead role in developing International education in Nigeria through this organisation. As coordinator of the Teaching and Learning Group, we oversee training workshops for teachers from international schools across Nigeria to ensure that the best practice of Olashore and other schools is shared widely to the benefit of children across Nigeria.
In addition to supporting international education across Nigeria, Olashore International School is firmly rooted in the community of Iloko Ijesa and committed to supporting the development of this community. This support takes many forms and provides students of Olashore to demonstrate leadership through service. During their time at Olashore, all students commit to performing community service. Over the years, this has included building and refurbishing community facilities, supporting the learning in local primary schools and coaching local primary school sports. The practical support of the students work is also backed up by the Board of Governors of the school and in the school’s 20th anniversary year the school instituted a full scholarship for the student from the Local Authority Primary School who achieved the highest mark in the school’s entrance examination. This scholarship covers all boarding, tuition and extra-curricular costs. Additional scholarships are available countrywide to students who perform outstandingly well in the school’s entrance examination which is ongoing throughout the year.