Mrs. Ilyasu R.G, Director/ Principal; Federal Government Girls’ College, Zaria

Championing the growth and development of education in a country like Nigeria, everyone would agree with me is a herculean task. I developed interest for education right from childhood even though I grew up in a society that has less value for girl-child education in particular. The zeal and love I have for education contributed to the lofty impart I have in the development of education in Nigeria.
After my university education, I was employed by the Federal Civil Service Commission and deployed to the Head Quarter Federal Ministry of Education, Lagos, few years later redeployed to one of the Federal Unity Colleges as a classroom teacher. This gave me exceeding joy because it has been in my heart to contribute to the growth of education. As a cleanroom teacher, I made sure that any child that passed through me or had a contact with me comes out a better person both academically and morally, which is the basic aim of education. My eight years as a classroom teacher saw me imparting lives that are too numerous to be mentioned in this write-up. During my duty tour particularly at the Federal Government College Jos in Plateau state, I taught English language at all levels. The success of my students in both the internal and external examinations endeared me to both the College Authority and students. Many people saw it as a feat but to me was a deliberate course of action. It was due to total commitment and dedication to duty as a teacher. The passion I had for grooming the students for excellence was beyond measure. I put in everything I possess- my talent, strength, knowledge, interest, time and at times money or other material gifts to motivate the students to put in their best. One good thing about me in this regard is that I did not write-off any child as a dullard. I had this notion that if I could do it, any other person can do it too and even better. I always make the students believe that they are all great achievers. I vary my methods and approaches to learning to provide for the need of every student in the class. I was always telling myself that I would stop at nothing to make sure I get out the genius in every child. My students loved me for that. Many of them would always come back to say thank you. I never thought I
could do it. That alone gives me joy and satisfaction. I can remember one instance when I ran into one of my students outside the shores of this country. The lady almost carried me up for joy and in appreciation of what I put in her that had made her what she was then.
I was moved out of the school system later, redeployed to the Head Quatres, Federal Ministry of Education Abuja. While there, I served under various Directors and at different capacities. The most demanding of all these assignments was when I was made to serve on the Board of Tertiary Institutions. I was practically representing the Honorable Minister of Education at most functions of the Universities and Polytechnics. My performance and conduct made most of the leadership of these Universities to always refer to me as “Madam Minister”. At that level, I contributed immensely to the development of education. I had opportunities to influence many decisions positively that led to the growth of education in Nigeria. During my stay in the Ministry, I was opportune to attend workshops and seminars on capacity building and policy formulation which I translated into actions that have imparted on the development of education at all levels.
Having served for a long time in the Ministry, the Ministry in its wisdom deemed it necessary that I should be posted out to the field as a Principal in one of the Unity Colleges. What I met on ground did not impress me hence I told myself that I had a great task on hand. Within a short time, God helping me and with the support of my management team, I was able to transform the situation into an enviable one. I was very dogged in seeing the upliftment of the College academically, morally and infrastructurally. I was able to greatly improved on the decayed infrastructure I met on ground. With the huge resources the Federal Government release for capital projects, we were able to:
Complete the construction of a pavilion abandoned for years.
Constructed a modern kitchen.
Renovated several classrooms and offices.
Constructed a large Home management/ Economics Laboratory.
A one thousand-seater Multipurpose/ Assembly Hall.
Constructed a Geographical Garden, rehabilitated municipal facilities for the enhancement of teaching and learning.
Also rehabilitated local wells to improve sanitations.
Sporting equipment were also upgraded.
Comments from the staff, students and the community leaders made me to begin to think that the Ministry purposely moved me out to enable me put the experience generated into use on the field. I told myself that if I am to succeed as an astute educationist, I must also put in my best in the school system, I was by God’s grace promoted to the rank of a Director of Education and subsequently moved to a bigger school where the Ministry felt I should be most needed. Everywhere I had served, records are bound of my developmental strides in the field of education. My contribution to the growth and development of education are unquantifiable as commendations from all those that have worked with me and the stakeholders are bound.
I pray that the Lord God grant me strength to continue the positive change in our educational system.

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