The Inoyo Toro Foundation in it’s two years of existence has recorded commendable level of success in the drive towards achieving its vision. Determined to stay tenacious in its drive towards the set goals, the Foundation has rolled out another initiative, called the “Grand Mentor Teachers Awards” (GMTA). This new program is designed to challenge all winning teachers, past and present to reproduce such excellence in their colleagues through effective mentoring.
To this effect, a workshop was held on Saturday January 30th, 2010 at Le Meridien Hotel, Uyo for the 2008/2009 award winning teachers of the Foundation. The main objective of the workshop was to equip the teachers with relevant information and knowledge and also to set the tone for the smooth take off of the program. 29 teachers participated in this workshop. The workshop was packaged by Accenture, a world class management consulting firm, for the Foundation. All teachers in attendance participated in the various sessions/activities aimed at enhancing their mentoring skills and capacity.
In attendance from the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Education, were the states Commissioner for Education, Hon. Dr. Nseabasi Akpan, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mrs. M. Ebienang and the Chairman of the State Secondary Education Board, Obong Ime David Isine. Also in attendance were the Secretary, Science Teachers Association of Nigeria, Dr. Ben Akpan, Head of Computer Science Department, University of Uyo, Dr. Enobong Joshua, members of the Foundations Board of Trustees and other volunteers of the Foundation.
The Grand Mentor Teachers Award is open to only past and present winners of the Teachers Award for Excellence and the eligible teachers would be required to adopt a minimum of 4 and maximum of 7 teachers in their subject area. They would be required to register their mentor group, names and details of teachers in the group and submit the mentoring group work plan and activities to the Foundation quarterly. This will thereafter be monitored and verified by the Foundations Screening Committee.
According to the Chairperson of the Foundation, Mrs. Ntekpe Inoyo, the new initiative is designed to challenge all winning teachers past and present, to up their game from 2010. It is intended to challenge them to reproduce such excellence in their colleagues. The successful mentor would be recognised in another award, the “Grand Mentor Teachers Award”.
Mrs. Inoyo also said “in the course of the year, the leader of the mentor group would be required to convene regular mentoring sessions designed to develop the skills of the teachers in his/her mentoring group. The teachers are encouraged to share knowledge and teaching techniques as this will help to improve their overall skills and teaching ability”.
Given the use of WAEC results as a benchmark for these awards and the robustness of the screening process, Mrs. Inoyo stated that to ensure adequate time for assessment and that the best candidate is eventually selected, the GMTA award implementation will become effective in 2011.
She also reiterated the criteria for selecting the final GMTA recipient which include:
The combined average score of 4 top members of the mentoring group Evidence of activity in the mentoring group throughout the year, The individual score of the leader of the mentoring group who is being considered for the GMTA any other special or distinct contribution by the grand mentor towards furthering the objective of the Foundation beyond teaching in class or mentoring a fellow teacher. Through this initiative, the mentors will get other teachers to win the annual teachers award while they will graduate to participate in the Grand Mentors Teachers Award in which the winner will get a prize of NGN 500,000.
In a brief remark, the Commissioner for Education, Hon. Dr. Nseabasi Akpan, thanked the Foundation for their initiatives and for their commitment to educational development in the state. He said he was delighted that the Foundation was taking the program beyond just the awards and taking interest in the development of other teachers besides the award winners. He further pledged the state governments support to the development of the teachers by promising to provide laptop computers to each of the 29 teachers. Finally, he promised that the state government would sponsor the 2009 award winners to the Nigerian International Schools Conference scheduled to hold from the 5th – 7th of March, 2010 at the American International School Lagos.
Mr. Usen Udoh, a Managing Partner with Accenture and also a resource person at the seminar said, “The role of a mentor is critical because as a mentor, you have to gain the trust of your mentees and also manage the confidence they have in you overtime to ensure the relationship leads to meaningful knowledge transfer and development.” He said “with this scheme, if each mentor gets about 5 teachers as mentees, even with a 50% success rate, we would be producing teaching excellence in about 60 teachers in our public secondary schools in the first year and the number will continue to multiply as more teachers win the annual teaching excellence awards”.
Commenting on the seminar, the participating teachers showered encomium on the sponsors saying, it is a good development for teachers and the growth of education in Akwa Ibom state. According to them, others should emulate the Inoyo Toro Foundation and complement the effort of the government in promoting educational development in the state”.
Mr. Ekere Roberts, the 2009 3rd prize winner in Chemistry, from Community Secondary Commercial School, Ikot Oku Ikono, said “the mentoring scheme is quite educating. It is going to help us train others given the experience we have acquired”.
According to him, “it is my belief that the students will also gain from this experience, because we have now been exposed to effective mentoring skills which we will transfer to our teaching methods. I feel good being part of this mentoring programme”.
Another award winner Patrick Akpan (2008 Biology, 2nd prize) from St. Mary Science College, Edienne Abak said, “It is a good thing organising this mentoring programme. It has exposed us to much knowledge. It will help the students and the teachers do better and I will use the skill acquired to assist other colleagues in school. I now see my subject and human relations in a different and better way”.
The 2008 & 2009 Inoyo Toro Foundation Physics 1st prize winner, Mr Okon Udo said “the mentoring scheme is meant to salvage academics in Akwa Ibom State. Its a wonderful scheme to further enrich the capacity of teachers. Certainly, we will put in our best to encourage the sponsors, the Foundation and government in promoting educational development in the state.
The teachers were given two weeks from the workshop date to submit their list of mentees and the quarterly mentoring program to the Foundation.