One Nigerian teenager must feel like she has the world at her feet after receiving 19 full-ride scholarship offers from universities across the United States and Canada.
Victory Yinka-Banjo, a 17-year-old high school graduate, was offered more than $5 million dollars’ worth of scholarship money for an undergraduate program of study, according to admission documents and estimates of financial aid awards. “It still feels pretty unbelievable. I applied to so many schools because I didn’t even think any school would accept me,” Victory told CNN, relishing her academic prowess.
Born to Nigerian parents, Chika Yinka-Banjo, a senior lecturer at the University of Lagos, and Adeyinka Banjo, a private sector procurement and supply chain executive, Victory was given potential full scholarships from the Ivy League schools, Yale College, Princeton University, Harvard College, and Brown University. The teenager told CNN that her multiple scholarship offers & quot; have made me stand taller, smile wider, and pat myself on the back more often. " The teenager told CNN that her multiple scholarship offers “have made me stand taller, smile wider, and pat myself on the back more often.” Other US scholarship offers included those from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Virginia.
In Canada, Victory was offered the Lester B. Pearson scholarship from the University of Toronto and the Karen McKellin International Leader of Tomorrow (KMILOT) scholarship from the University of British Columbia.
“Their admissions processes are extremely selective,” Victory added. “They only accept the best of the best. So, you can imagine how, on a daily basis, I have to remind myself that I actually got into these schools. It is surreal!” Academic strides
A senior prefect during her time in high school, Victory rose to national prominence in late 2020 after she scored straight As in her West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). Months earlier, the Nigerian teen had been rated as the “Top in the World” in English as a second language (speaking endorsement) by the University of Cambridge International Examination (CIE). Victory aced the Cambridge IGCSE exam — acquiring A* in all six subjects she sat for.
“They have made me truly feel proud about the hard work I have put into several areas of my life over the years. I am slowly beginning to realize that I deserve them,” she said.
The teenager remarked that her multiple scholarship offers “have made me stand taller, smile wider, and pat myself on the back more often.”
Victory said she hopes to study Computational Biology. However, she is still weighing up her options on which school to choose, having been wooed by many prestigious institutions.
“I am still doing research on some schools that are at the top of my list, like Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Duke, Johns Hopkins, and just trying to compare and contrast all of them thoroughly,” she told CNN. An inspiration to Nigerian youth Victory’s mother, Chika, says her daughter’s story could inspire other young Nigerians.
“It is noteworthy that she is not one of the Nigerian-Americans who often get into these schools because of their advantage of being born and bred in the US. She completed her secondary school here [in Nigeria]. It would be great if her story can be used to inspire the youths of our country,” she told CNN.
Victory credits her academic success story to faith, parental guidance and discipline. She currently spends some of her free time tutoring other university admission seekers — through the radio — on key subjects such as math, English language, biology, chemistry and physics.
The British Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, has described Nigeria’s security situation as massively complex.
He said no partnership would resolve the multiplicity of the country’s problems, whether it is Boko Haram insurgency or a number of other issues.
Duddridge was fielding questions from newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday during his courtesy visit to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.
“The situation is massively complex and no partnership is going to resolve the multiplicity of problems whether it is Boko Haram or a number of other issues,” Duddridge said.
“In the UK, you have a strong partner across the full gamut of issues. So, it’s not just about intelligence and hard security and military, it’s about societies, it’s about humanitarian support, it’s about education and development partnership.
“It is not an end game, we don’t get to a point where we would say ‘this is the end of our relationship with Nigeria’ because we got what we want, we set a higher bar, we’re long-term partners.” he said.
He also recognised the role that Nigeria played in Africa, saying both Nigeria and the UK would deepen post-COVID-19 relations and work together to tackle climate change.
He also sought the need for both countries to realize the objectives of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement.
Earlier, Onyeama had said Nigeria was dealing with very difficult challenges, especially the unconventional nature of the fight against Boko Haram insurgency and terrorism.
“It is asymmetrical warfare, and we’re dealing with very difficult situations. We have an intelligence fusion unit with our partners -the US, UK, France,’’ he said.
He said Nigeria was struggling with unemployment and high inflation level, but that the country was gradually overcoming the situation.
He commended the British Government for all the support given to Nigeria to tackle her numerous challenges, especially in the Northeast.
Meanwhile, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, who also received Duddridge on Tuesday, sought the support of the British Government to address Nigeria’s security challenges.
Duddridge was at the National Assembly in company of the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing.
“We believe that our country, our government has to do a lot to secure the people, their lives and their property and this is the time that all our friends across the world need to support us, give us the kind of support that we need.
Are Igbos The Most Brilliant Black African Race? Facts And Figures From The US Academic Report 2015 Gives An Answer.
Besides the recent report of a number of Igbo students in the USA and Europe excelling at spectacular levels in academics – such as the case of Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna and Harold Ekeh who both scored admissions into all the eight Ivy League Schools in the USA, the intelligence of the Ibos (Igbos/Ndigbo) of southeastern Nigeria has been a subject of many discussions. Below is a US Academic report that addresses the subject using facts, figures, numbers, and charts (see Images/Charts) below.
“If only environmental factors were responsible for the different IQs of different populations, we should expect to find some countries where Africans had higher IQs than Europeans. The failure to find a single country where this is the case points to the presence of a strong genetic factor.” Richard Lynn.
“Regression would explain why Black children born to high IQ, wealthy Black parents have test scores 2 to 4 points lower than do White children born to low IQ, poor White parents.” Arthur Jensen.
The fact that black immigrants to the United States have shown achievements that are superior to native black Americans has been a phenomenon studied since at least the 1970′s. At first it was just the Caribbean blacks who were a subject of this unexpected outcome. As black Africans kept immigrating into the US, they showed even higher levels of achievement than the native blacks. Many scholars theorized on the reasons for these differences, from Thomas Sowell’s proposal that this disproved the validity of discrimination against native blacks as an explanation for their underachievement (Sowell, 1978), to other scholars who suggested that these immigrants were just the most highly driven members of their home countries as evidenced by their willingness to migrate to a foreign country (Butcher, 1990).
What most of these theories failed to predict was that the children of these immigrants would also show exceptional achievements, especially academically. It is only in recent years, as the immigrants have stayed long enough to produce a sufficiently high number of offspring, that it has been observed that they are over-represented among high academic achievers, especially when compared to native blacks, particularly at very elite institutions. What has been missed in the IQ debate is the full logical implication of these achievements: they have effectively nullified any arguments for a racial evolutionary explanation of the well-known IQ test score gap between blacks and whites. Even more fatal for the racial hereditarian side of the debate has been the corroborating data of school children performance in the UK, particularly when the black Africans are divided into their respective nationalities and tribal ethnicities, as reported in the latter section of this article. black brilliance chart
Arthur Jensen gave at least two empirical tests that could potentially falsify his thesis of a race based genetic explanation for the black-white IQ gap. Firstly, if the gap is caused by genetic racial differences, the blacks with more white admixture should tend to show a higher IQ than blacks with less whiteness. Secondly, “regression to the mean” implies that children (or siblings) of extraordinarily high IQ blacks should tend to a lower IQ than the children or siblings of similarly high IQ whites. Social experiments concerning the first test have not been decisive, especially due to the difficulty of separating out environmental factors since lighter American blacks have historically faced more favorable socioeconomic conditions. The second test did indicate some evidence of regression to a lower black mean for African Americans, which only means that the racial genetic hypothesis was not nullified; it remained a valid proposition. Until now.
Using Jensen’s own empirical framework, the racial genetic hypothesis can be tested by comparing black African immigrants with native blacks, intellectually. If the genetic hypothesis is correct, children of elite African blacks will tend to have lower IQs than children of native black Americans, and perhaps even lower than children of low IQ blacks, the same phenomenon observed between American blacks and whites since native blacks are basically “more white” than African (or Caribbean) immigrants. igbo-brilliance-chart-1c
In the US, it is not only at elite universities where there is a clear over-representation of black immigrant children, it is also at public gifted schools and any kinds of intellectually gifted programs that are highly selective on intelligence. For example, when the New York Times did a story to show the experiences of blacks at Stuyvesant High School in New York, they had to use the personal account of a West Indian black child there (Ann-Marie Miller); if they had many native blacks, that would have certainly been their preferred subject. Furthermore, the only other student who was interviewed for that article, Opraha Miles, a former president of the black student society at Stuyvesant, also just happened to be Jamaican; no black American student was mentioned in the story. A close look at a number of other such institutions shows even more clear evidence of a tendency for black immigrants to be over-represented as selectivity requirements for an academic institution (or complexity of a subject) goes higher.
In the world of intellectually gifted schools, perhaps the most selective in the United States is a special program called the Davidson Academy started by Jan and Bob Davison in 2006 in Reno, Nevada. The tiny school boasts of selecting only the most profoundly gifted children (the highest of the five levels of giftedness) whose IQ is so high that “only one in every ten thousand children in America” can qualify to the school in any one cohort; it is more selective than Stanford or Harvard can ever be. The school makes no efforts or pretensions to affirmative action and as such, they have had very little “diversity.” However, a search through the promotional materials of the school for a black student – all schools and colleges will always show some black faces in their promotional materials if they have any – reveals that they have had at least one black student, and it was, unsurprisingly, a Nigerian Igbo.
Continued Discussion And Additional reading (from Chanda Chisala):
Just like in anything that attempts to compare or contrast one race or people with/from another, the the issue of IQ gap or comparison is not without its own arguments. In a lengthy article, Chanda Chisala involved territories outside USA in the analysis by using students in the United Kingdom. Her article verified the brilliance of the Igbos but also further concluded that blacks are ahead of their fellow students from the United Kingdom and even Asia. Below is an excerpt from her piece titled – Blacks-Especially-Igbos-Prove-More-Intelligent-Than-Whites-Including-The-Asian-Leaders.
“The most definitive proof of Africans’ grossly underestimated genotypic IQ (80 according to Lynn, or 70 according to Jensen and Rushton, et al) has come in recent years from the performance of African school children in the UK. These results sparked instant reactions in the IQ debate world as soon as they started being reported by the news media, with some strong hereditarians suddenly becoming some kind of neo-environmentalists just to explain why white school children were not showing the kind of academic superiority over blacks that they have become accustomed to in the United States (wrong tests, declining white culture, an alleged war on whites, etc – the same kinds of reasons they always dismissed from liberal environmentalists explaining black underachievement in the US).”
“The first report that caused some consternation in the IQ blogosphere indicated thatblack African pupils were apparently catching up with British white pupils on their GCSE tests and that in fact, they had already overtaken them at the lower end: the poor black kids were now performing better than poor white kids (The Guardian, 2010). Hereditarian psychometricians and scholars from Jensen to Gottfredson, Lynn, Rushton, et al had after all declared that IQ predicted test scores on all kinds of tests since a common factor of intelligence, g, was highly robust.”
“As the table above shows, some African nationalities, particularly Ghanaians and Nigerians, score way above the England mean (and the white British mean), while others, like the Somalis and Congolese, score way below (but still not as low as the Portuguese immigrants, apparently). The low scoring African groups are the ones that migrated as refugees and/or could not speak English, besides being very poor. Improvements among the Somalians have been impressive, especially due to programs dedicated to teaching them English.”
“Although the Chinese and Indians are still very conspicuously above even the best African nationalities, their superiority disappears when the Nigerian and other groups are broken down even further according to their different tribal ethnicities. Groups like the famous Igbo tribe, which has contributed much genetically to the African American blacks, are well known to be high academic achievers within Nigeria. In fact, their performance seems to be at least as high as the “model minority” Chinese and Indiansin the UK, as seen when some recent African immigrants are divided into languages spoken at home (which also indicates that these are not multigenerational descendants but children of recent immigrants).”
Finland is consistently ranked at the top of the list of best education systems in the world. In fact, the World Bank recently declared the country “a miracle of education.”
On Universitas 21’s latest ranking of the world’s top universities, Finland finished top spot when levels of GDP per capita were considered – with impressive scores that exceeded expectations, given the country’s income level.
So, the big question is: What makes the Finland education system unique?
We did a close review and discovered some really interesting facts behind the success of this small and quiet north European country.
Less Formal Schooling
Contrary to the general norm nearly everywhere else on the globe, Finland believes less is more. And this philosophy is reflected in all facets of national life, including the education system.
Whereas the school starting age of kids in most countries keeps getting lower and lower, in Finland children don’t start formal school until they reach the age of seven. Yes, seven!
And, oh, for the record, that’s just about the oldest age to start school anywhere on the globe.
The children are given a lot of liberty. They are allowed to be children, to learn more naturally and informally through playing and exploring – rather than the formal system of children sitting locked up in a classroom with a teacher reading out instructional materials.
The goal and method of teaching are quite unique too. Teachers don’t focus on teaching pupils knowledge to help them pass a test or exam. Instead, the overall objective is to get the students to concentrate on things that will help them really understand the lessons and how to creatively apply the concepts in everyday life.
You may be asking: Won’t that approach slow them down? No, quite the opposite! The children start formal education when they are actually developmentally ready to learn and focus.
After the first year of school, the next stage for the child is nine years of compulsory schooling. At the end of the ninth grade, everything is optional and at the age of 16, the student can decide on any of three paths:
A three-year Upper Secondary School programme.
Join the workforce (Less than 5% of students follow this track).
Fewer Students, More Individual Attention
You probably already imagined this scenario. You guessed right. Fewer students in a class often mean the teacher can provide better care and attention to the pupils.
Typically, a Finnish teacher is assigned about 3 to 4 classes of 20 students a day, so they are responsible for between 60 to 80 students daily. This is a more reasonable number and a lot smaller than the average teacher in most other countries has to manage every weekday.
Less Time in School, Fewer Instructions
In Finland, school usually starts at 9 am or 9:45 am; and ends by 2 pm or 2:45 pm. Surprised? There’s more: The average Finnish teacher provides fewer instructions to his/her students in a day than the regular teacher elsewhere in the world.
When computed, the total instruction time clocks to about 600 hours a year or 4 lessons daily. But here’s the catch: The topics are fewer but more in-depth. The focus of the lessons is not in the period or number, but on creativity, skill acquisition, and real-world application.
The younger kids are allowed sufficient time to play, so they can discover, be creative, and learn in the process. When they are 7, they start formal schooling and are taught how to read and write.
For the older kids also, there’s a deliberate effort to avoid the pupils getting too tired or stressed so they can learn well. They are given only a reasonable amount of homework, have a fewer number of school days a term compared to other kids around the world, and take 10 to 20 minutes breaks between the lessons.
During the breaks, the children are allowed to go outside and play, so they can focus on studying again. The children also eat free, healthy lunch at school. The end goal is to ensure both the students and teachers are well rested and ready to learn/teach.
The System Prioritizes Play
We already mentioned that Finnish students get the least amount of homework in the world, as the focus is to allow the pupils adequate free time, play, breaks, and rest, so their minds are sharper and their body well relaxed and refreshed for learning.
Students in Finland typically don’t have afterschool tutors or lessons. It sounds ironic when you take into account that Finnish students score higher than students from Asian countries who receive tons of extra lessons or afterschool instructions.
Finnish students get the work done in class diligently, and teachers feel that is adequate. There are no pressures on the students to do more than what is necessary to learn a skill. And when there are assignments, they are often open-ended and not really graded.
Teaching as a Profession Is Revered
Most students in both developing and developed countries rarely think of teaching as a career choice, perhaps after observing the profession is generally undervalued and their teachers often underpaid.
The reverse is the case in Finland – specifically in terms of the treatment and respect accorded to teachers.
Teaching is a very prestigious profession in Finland. Teachers work fewer hours and are paid relatively well compared with their colleagues in many other countries. They are also entrusted with the authority to plan their teaching in a way they think best suits their students.
Teaching is an extremely selective profession in Finland, and it’s not easy to get accepted in the special programme to qualify as a teacher. In fact, you have to be well motivated and gifted to make the grade.
But before applying for the teacher’s education programme, it is mandatory you have a master’s degree in your subject. That is if you’re going to take any of the high school or middle school classes.
If you’re applying to be a kindergarten, preschool or elementary school teacher, you must also have a master’s degree or at least a bachelor’s degree.
No Standardized Testing
While the practice in most countries is that students take standardised tests and exams to track their progress, in Finland students take just a single test, called the National Matriculation Exam, during their entire time in elementary or high school.
However, the test assessment is more than just what the student scores. Rather, it measures the general academic maturity level of the student, which are standards by which a mature, educated person is evaluated in Finnish society.
Free Education at All Levels
Finland is one of the few countries in the world that offer absolutely free bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programmes — not only for its own citizens but also students from European Union and EEA countries.
Yes, you read right: International students from eligible countries studying any course in Finnish universities do not pay a penny in tuition. There are no fancy private schools or universities anywhere with their own study plans. Instead, there’s a national standard for what every school must teach.
In Finland, capitalism (which, for example, allows you to pay to get good education for your child or yourself) is seen as a system that produces a mass of ignorant people versus a small, well-educated elite; thereby making poor education/good education, and poverty/wealth divides kind of “hereditary.”
In summary, Finnish society is a welfare state and aims at taking care of everybody, not just those that can afford it. Naturally, it starts with universal healthcare, in which families receive medical care when needed in any of the comprehensive networks of child welfare clinics.
So, the much-lauded Finnish education system is only an extension of a grounded tradition of a welfare state. Besides, Finland appears to be very conscious of the important roles teachers play in moulding and influencing the next generation and consequently invests heavily (time, efforts and resources) in the recruitment process and general education system. (theischooler.com)
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On 17th February, 2005, my husband brought her home as my house help. She was smaller than l wanted. I needed a much bigger girl, but the mum could only allow her as the elder sister was elsewhere. The only option was to manage her, but managing meant that l had to nurse her as she was too small to even wash her own clothes, the breakable kitchenwares etc.
It wasn’t also easy to raise a child with certain orientations.
But l tried. When the task became too tedious,
I packaged her home, but the father gave us a mind boggling question: if she is your daughter, will you throw her away? Please, train her as yours. I want her different.
As stunning as that question sounded, l thank God that l took that challenge seriously and to my heart.
I teach, I scream, I plead, l appeal and l advice…
To make sure she turns out better than she would.
Sometimes, she makes me furious, laugh, cry, and proud, just like now.
From Primary 2, she had gone through to secondary, made her papers, have trained on computer literacy before going for skill acquisition.
Today, she has moved to a higher level. She is matriculating at Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, and l am so happy that our 13 years together is not a waste after all.
She has long ceased to be a maid in my home.
She is now Aunty’s Auntie, my little sister, my children’s Auntie. And no one knows she is not my sibling.
Uchechi, today is the beginning of a new life for you.
We are happy for you. Sky is your jumping pad.
We pray that you graduate with flying colours. And we continue to pray for financial breakthrough so that you do not suffer any stress concerning your education.
Congratulations, dear. We are super proud of you.”
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Governors under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum have said that they are not elected to only pay salaries of civil servants.
They argued they were also elected to provide good roads, electricity, education and other necessary amenities for the people.
They said there was no way they could perform magic if there were no funds to work with.
They, therefore, called for the examination of the national income in the last 14 years to enable them to agree on the contentious issue of minimum wage implementation.
Chairman of the NGF, who is also the Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, made their position known to journalists after the meeting of the governors in Abuja on Wednesday night.
One of our correspondents reports that the committee working on the minimum wage is almost concluding negotiations on the matter.
The Federal Government had set a September date to roll out a new minimum wage for workers.
The Nigeria Labour Congress is proposing a minimum wage of N65,000 for workers, but the governors are insisting on the gradual implementation of the new wage if eventually approved.
Yari said it was a pity that state governors had been limited to the payment of salaries alone in their respective states.
He said the lack of funds had hindered them from carrying out their responsibilities in other sectors such as health, electricity, education, roads, among others.
On minimum wage, he said, “We have a committee of six which represents us in discussions in the committee headed by the Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige.
“The committee has yet to give us the final report. They have given us an interim report that at the Federal Government level, over 82 per cent is being spent on overheads which cannot move the country forward in terms of infrastructure development and development that we need now.
“So, on our own part, we are saying we are going to look at how our income is taken from our final account from 14 years ago so that we can come up and stay in the middle.”
He added, “I don’t think you people voted us only to pay salaries. You are looking for good roads, electricity, education and others. So, we can’t do magic. It’s only when we have the funds that we can do all those things.”
He disclosed that the governors also deliberated on the way the anti-graft agencies had been handling the war on corruption in the country.
He said that the governors resolved that both the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corruption and other Related Offences Commission must adhere strictly to due process.
He said the agencies must not engage in illegalities.
He said while the governors supported the present administration’s effort to curtail corruption, they were however not comfortable with some of the actions taken by the nation’s anti-corruption agencies.
He berated the EFCC for freezing the accounts of both Benue and Akwa Ibom states, adding that even President Muhammadu Buhari will not support the illegalities perpetrated by the agencies.
“We believe strongly that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari would not sit down and supervise this illegality in the system.
“What we are saying is that we all support the government to fight corruption because it is endemic and has retarded the nation for over six decades. Definitely, it was part of what we discussed.
“What we are saying now is that we are going to support the government in terms of what it is doing to fight corruption, but due process must be respected in whatever action the agencies are going to take in the name of fighting corruption. That is the position of the governors,” he said
Resign if you can’t pay, workers tell govs
In response to the governor’s position, the Secretary-General of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Peter Ozo-Eson, has lambasted the state chief executives.
Ozo-Eson, while speaking with one of our correspondents on the telephone on Thursday, said it was ironic that governors who were mismanaging the resources of their states still had the guts to complain that they did not have enough funds to pay salaries.
The NLC official said governors should be mindful of the fact that payment of salaries was not a favour but a sacred obligation.
He said the civil service remained the vehicle through which any government could fulfil its campaign promises.
Ozo-Eson said that without the payment of salaries, it would be almost impossible for any governor to meet his campaign promises.
He added, “The issue that they were not elected to pay salaries alone is unfortunate. Salaries are not a gift to people; salaries are compensation for workers helping to deliver governmental services. So, let them not talk as if salaries being paid to people are gifts.
“Salaries constitute part of the cost of delivering government services. Some of these governors fly chartered planes even within the country all from the state’s purse. Are they elected to drain the coffers of the state they are meant to govern? It will be rather unfortunate if they start playing politics with salaries and if they so do, Nigerians should be wise enough to also meet them at the polls.”
On the issue of the N65,000 minimum wage, the NLC secretary-general said no figure had been agreed on by the organised labour.
Ozo-Eson called on the governors not to take decisions based on rumours.
He added, “So, the question of reviewing the N65, 000 downwards doesn’t arise. People are bandying figures and we do not know where they emanated from but if the governors who are represented on the tripartite committee by six governors act on a rumour that is outside of the committee and using it as a basis to take a position, then that is rather unfortunate.”
Also speaking, the National President of the Trade Union Congress, Boboi Kaigama, said any governor that was not capable of paying salaries should resign.
Kaigama said payment of salaries was the most basic form of good governance.
The TUC boss said the organised labour had been advising governors to be imaginative by increasing the Internally Generated Revenues of their states but many of them were too lazy to think outside the box, preferring to go to Abuja cap-in-hand for handouts.
Kaigama added, “It is not an issue of having other responsibilities. Why are they not talking of good governance, blocking of leakages? This will enable them to pay the minimum wage and deliver the dividends of democracy to their citizens.
“We are the wealth creators and we believe we are entitled to our wages which are subject to periodic review because the inflationary trend has taken its toll on the people. In fact, in the public service, no worker’s salary can last more than a week.
“We keep saying that if any governor feels he cannot pay salaries, it means he cannot govern the state and he should tender his resignation letter. We know some governors are doing extremely well in the area of IGR but we know of some others who are waiting for handouts from FAAC.” (Punch)
The remote bushlands of West Africa are far from Johns Hopkins University, and the path was neither sure nor straight for the boy whose name meant “beloved by his ancestors.” They called him Kpimenongme Mwinnyaa.
Only now, as he prepares to graduate – having been baptized George, having earned semester after semester of straight A’s despite grades once too poor for college – does he dare believe it’s more than a dream.
George Mwinnyaa, 29, will receive a bachelor’s degree in public health with academic honors during Hopkins’ commencement Wednesday.
Mwinnyaa, who is from Ghana, says he slips on a woven African smock each morning to remember where his path began.
“If you don’t know where you come from, you will not know where you are going,” he says.
He comes from a remote village in Nandom-Guo, where a cobra bite kills fast and cholera even faster. Polygamy was the custom and his father had seven wives and 32 children. George was the youngest of them all. He was about five years old when his father died and his widowed mother was left to raise seven children. A slight woman, she held off starvation with her wits, boiling hot peppers into soup. A few spoonfuls would cause George to gulp water to ease his hunger.
Each morning he woke before sunrise to fetch water from the river and hoe the dry plot that never grew enough beans. Then he walked a path through the bush to cinder-block desks arranged beneath a shea tree, a place they called school.
He earned poor grades, C’s at best. When he led his class in the morning routine, he burned with shame from the holes in his pants; he had no underwear.
Somehow, his mother managed to pay his school fees. Monica Naaludong persuaded teachers to take him when his tuition was late. She sold her traditional beads and hand-woven cloths to afford his books. George held back his frustration when she insisted education was more important than a full belly.
“She knew that education was a way to change not only me, but my whole family’s destiny,” he said.
His grades were too poor for college, but Ghana’s health department offered to train traveling health workers. Two years later, he was riding a motorbike to rural villages, immunizing children against yellow fever and polio. He waded across rivers carrying vaccines on his head. He taught mothers breastfeeding methods and measured the heartbeats of their babies.
He earned less than $9 a day, a life-changing salary, and bought his mother the traditional cloths she once sold for his books.
In the coastal city of Esiama he met a Peace Corps worker from Alaska, and all his questions about America tumbled out. He saw a job opening online for a health worker in Haiti. What was a resume? he asked her.
“I was like, ‘He’ll never be able to save enough money for a plane ticket, but I’ll help with a resume,'” Leslie Lucas said.
When they walked along the beach, she told herself it was customary for friends to hold hands in Ghana. But they married in a local chapel in August 2012. One year later, the couple boarded an airplane and flew to America.
A surprise arrival
Dr. Henry Perry taught Hopkins students about Ghana’s health workers for nearly a decade before one showed up on his campus in Baltimore. It was spring 2016, and Perry heard of a transfer who had worked in the Ghana community health service.
“To have one of them end up coming here to our university is entirely unusual,” said Perry, a professor in the Bloomberg School of Public Health. “I don’t know if this has ever happened.”
He invited George Mwinnyaa to share his experience with a class. Later, he learned of the young man’s path.
George and Leslie Mwinnyaa had settled in the suburbs east of Reno, Nevada, where she worked as a school counselor. George walked the mile each day to Fernley Elementary School and his job as a janitor.
The admissions office at University of Nevada, Reno, turned him down. Nearby Truckee Meadows Community College requested his high school transcripts. George didn’t even have a birth certificate. He passed an exam to enter Western Nevada College and made the dean’s list.
American colleges had libraries and tutors, he discovered. Professors even held office hours. The young man who was raised without any advantages was now embracing every one.
“You have the Internet. You have light. How does somebody fail in America?” he said.
He watched college lectures on YouTube again and again, telling himself he must study twice as hard to compete. He transferred to Truckee Meadows and earned an associate’s degree in spring 2015, finishing with a 4.0 GPA. He was inducted in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. One day he burst into the office of his biology professor with news. Johns Hopkins University offered him a scholarship. Now his path led to the nation’s premier public health program.
“That was his ultimate dream,” said Laura Briggs, his biology professor at Truckee Meadows.
She threw a farewell party for George and Leslie Mwinnyaa and guests passed around a hat to collect money for the couple’s drive to Baltimore. They left the next day with their 3-week-old son, Yiri.
George Mwinnyaa entered Hopkins in fall of 2015 and began acing classes. By spring, he was enrolled in Professor Karen Masterson’s science writing class, where she presented a live video lecture by a Dutch expert. George asked if he might address the expert on the screen.
“George gave this eloquent, smart thank-you that was about a minute long,” Masterson said. “I didn’t even think to do that and I was the professor, right?”
She went to the academic adviser for public health students, asking, “Who is George?”
By then, the adviser, Lisa Folda, had befriended the young father. She gave him the old stroller and baby gate in her basement.
“We don’t take many transfers. We definitely take a very few from community college,” she said. “To know George’s origin story and how he wound up in Reno was to know he wasn’t going to take any opportunity for granted.”
He was selected last year from more than 100 applicants around the country who applied for about 15 prestigious undergraduate scholarships from the National Institutes of Health. He will work this summer at a lab in East Baltimore, testing blood samples from South Africans with HIV.
In boyhood, George Mwinnyaa walked barefoot on a dirt path to school from a house built of mud and cow dung. On Wednesday, he will walk his shortest yet longest path of all: across Hopkins’ graduation stage. (Baltimore Sun)
Authorities say other students were forced to start a fight with her.
At one point, they say, she was told to “go and kill yourself.”
The person responsible, according to investigators, is the girl’s seventh-grade teacher, Ann Shelvin, who’s now facing criminal charges. Another school employee, Tracy Gallow, who replaced Shelvin after she was escorted off the school grounds, is also facing charges for continuing the bullying, St. Landy Parrish Sheriff Bobby J. Guildroz said.
The two are employees at Washington Elementary School in Opelousas, La., about 60 miles west of Baton Rouge.
Guildroz said the 11-year-old’s mother first came to his office in February to report the bullying, although it apparently had been going on since last fall. The mother was told to report the incident to the St. Landry Parish School Board.
More than a month later, the mother returned to the sheriff’s office because the bullying had continued. Guildroz said an investigation revealed that Shelvin had told the 11-year-old to kill herself and threatened to fail three of her students if they didn’t start a fight with the girl.
One of the students admitted to detectives that Shelvin forced her to take part in the fight and that she did so because she was scared she would be treated like her classmate and fail seventh grade. Several students were sent to the principal’s office because of the fight.
Earlier this week, the girl’s mother told investigators Shelvin has been bullying her daughter since October of last year when the teacher threatened the 11-year-old that she’d fail her if she didn’t fight another student, Guildroz said. But instead of doing what Shelvin said, the girl, whom authorities did not name, reported her teacher to the principal.
Shelvin was then escorted out of the school. Gallow, a teacher’s aide who replaced her, was later seen on school video surveillance pushing the girl at the school gym, authorities said.
Shelvin, 44, was charged this week with two counts of encouraging or contributing to child delinquency, one count of malfeasance in office and two counts of intimidation and interference in the operation of schools. Gallow, 50, was charged with one count each of malfeasance in office, simply battery and intimidation, and interference in school operation.
It’s unclear if they have attorneys.
“Students should not have to attend school and be bullied especially by teachers that are there for their education, guidance, and safety,” Guildroz said in a statement. “The parents did the right thing, they reported it to the school board and continued to monitor and talk to their children. The bullying continued and they took the next step by contacting law enforcement again.”
Anthony Stanberry, a member of the St. Landry Parish School Board, told KLFY that school officials will not tolerate such incidents. (The Washington Post)
Congratulations to 23 year old Musawenkosi Saurombe. She is the youngest female PHD Graduate in Africa with a Research thesis of No Corrections & Ammendments Image by: Facebook/NWU Mafikeng Campus
Musawenkhosi Sourambe has become one of the youngest students on the continent to obtain a PhD at the age of 23 at North-West University.
Getting there was not easy. Her father‚ a teacher‚ sold his car to help put her through third year. But her determination to succeed paid off and now she has a PhD in industrial psychology.
North West University said she had obtained her PhD with no corrections being made to her thesis‚ which was flawless.
Sourambe started school at the age of four in Gaborone‚ Botswana. When she was in grade three her teacher promoted her to grade four after the first school term.
“My parents had to explain to my teachers after wanting to promote me to other grades that I needed time to mature and it was true because when I got to university I struggled‚” she said.
Sourambe matriculated at the age of 15 and started a BCom degree at 16. She received an honours degree at 19 and master’s degree by the age of 21- with distinction.
Her initial years at university were tough‚ she added‚ because she struggled to relate to other university students.
“I had a lot of responsibility from a young age and my peers had more liberty than I did because I was so young‚” she said.
“I couldn’t act my own age. I always had to be more matured and some of my peers didn’t know how old I was‚” she said.
Sourambe‚ who has already joined a doctoral fellowship at North West University‚ said she had a few academic conferences lined up overseas for the rest of the year. She is involved in teaching and supervising postgraduate students at NWU’s campus in Mahikeng.
Her goal now is to get a driver’s licence. She was too young to get one after matric and too busy completing her third year at university when she turned 18. (TimesLive)