By Victor Gotevbe

A student displaying her trophy

The Ashoka “Play to Learn” event held in Kaduna on November 9, 2017 may have come and gone but the impact made is still causing wave of deeper reflections amongst students and teachers.

Fifteen schools participated in the programme  and each of the schools had twenty students and two teachers.

The participants were from private, public and missionary schools.

Education and leadership is one of the six priority areas of Ashoka Africa through which it supports ‘institutions and individuals focused on transforming education from a system designed for the industrial age into one that grows young change makers, able to address to the challenges of the 21st century’.

Ashoka is changing the system of education globally owing to the Ashoka Changemaker schools and the engagement of Change leaders who are mostly teachers.

Ashoka Anglophone West Africa pays no small attention to creativity  being a critical component in enabling people cope and find pleasure, and for them to use their imaginative and innovative power in this changing world characterized by uncertainties.

Students applauding one of the performances

It was for this reason that “Play to Learn” programme was birthed since the last two years.

This program was designed for students to equip themselves with the skills of empathy, leadership, creativity and teamwork.

Research has proven that children learn faster when they are having fun. Therefore, it is of immense importance that the requisite skills needed for survival in this changing society are transferred to the children.

Speaking with Diplomatic Watch, Mrs. Josephine Nzerem,  Regional Director of Ashoka Anglophone country stated that the “Play to Learn” programme is a pedagogical tool for some educators and as such stimulates learning amongst students.

While commenting on Ashoka’s interaction with the change leaders, she added that “we understand these creative activities are used as tools to develop the children’s learning. This program is geared towards bringing the schools together to interact with each other and begin the process of developing strategies necessary to help the children develop change making abilities.

Drama on stage by some students

We intend to use a lot of playful activities to get children to solve problems together, develop team spirit, lead activities and develop empathetic skills. Teachers also have the opportunity to interact with other schools and have the opportunity of sharing best practices”.

The event witnessed creative displays such as drama, music and dance presented by the students.

One of the dramas showcased the girl child as a nation that can be trained if given the right to education instead of the usual patriarchal system dominating most communities in Africa.

Group photo with Ashoka Anglophone team and some teachers

They were beautiful poetic renditions about the state of the economy and how creatively they can start systems that will change the narrative of the African youth, and  activities that allowed the children’s expression of diverse skills.

Trophies were given to the most skillful, most creative and well thought out activity from the schools.