SPECIAL REPORT: ICAST: A Citadel of Learning With A Difference

IN January 2011, a citadel of learning for primary and secondary school pupils in Ibadan, Oyo state capital, was conceptualised.  What made this conceptualisation unique was its timing; the concept was envisioned when people were dinning and winning during a house warming ceremony.

To Engineer Dotun Sanusi, an entrepreneur of repute and the proprietor of International Collage of Arts, Science and Technology (ICAST) something was missing in the serene and quiet atmosphere of Elebu, a suburb in Ido Local Government Area of Ibadan, where he had just become one of the landlords in the area. But being a lover of sound education, he did not take him too much time to figure out the missing link. He wasted no time to establish a private school (initially, primary school) which was christened Institute of College of Arts, Science and Technology (ICAST) that is to take care of the education of the children born in Elebu area and its suburb right from their cradle up till the end of their secondary education.

He left no stone unturned in his determination to ensure that a school that will see to the preparation of tomorrow’s leaders today was commissioned just nine months after its conception. Befitting physical structure, well equipped Science laboratory and State-of-the-art Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as well as world class sporting infrastructure for Extra-Curricular activities were part of the facilities put in place in order to actualise his ambition of producing students who can rub shoulders with their counterparts anywhere in the world.

Engr Dotun Sanusi, ICAST Schools’ Proprietor.

He went further by employing capable and highly experienced personnel to manage the school and to ensure that his lofty dream for the school materialised. Eight years since ICAST was established, the SSS 3 students of the school have recorded outstanding results consistently in the West African Examination Council (WAEC) exams they have sat for since 2016. Engr. Sanusi, the Proprietor of ICAST, must have internalised one of Dwayne Johnson’s quotations when he said “success isn’t always about greatness; It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success after which greatness will come”. Engnr. Sanusi knows too well that for ICAST to be rated among the greats, the school has to be consistent in terms of academic performances.

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Thus, when this year WAEC results were released and the students, once again, recorded hundred percent success, it was not a surprise to some people who are aware that the school management has made academic success their permanent friend through a well developed academic culture.

This year’s feat has made nonsense of the insinuations made two years ago by some people who felt that it is a matter of time before ‘Nigerian factor’ stagnates the wheel of the School’s progress.

While reacting to the recently released WAEC results in which his school performed exceedingly well, ICAST School’s proprietor, Engineer Sanusi, submitted that “it is not part of our plan to prove anybody wrong. What we are after is to ensure that our commitment to academic excellence does not suffer any laxity.” He stated further, “One of our cardinal principles is to better our best everytime. Whether we are eight years old or has reached one hundred years, it does not matter. We shall always strive to churn out students whose academic abilities and certificates would never be queried any where in the world”, he concluded.

Pastor Oyelowo Olanrewju, ICAST Schools’ Principal.

In his own response, ICAST School’s principal, Mr. Oyelowo Olanrewaju, revealed that the key to ICAST School’s consistency as regards the students outstanding performances in WAEC examinations in the past three years is due to the school’s stakeholders, students, parents and teachers’ diligence, discipline and commitment to academic excellence.

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“Our teachers here are not only committed physically but they are spiritually. On several occasions, we go to extra miles of teaching them during the weekends. We source for past questions and teaching aids for them with a view to preparing them for WAEC or any other external examinations they want to sit for. We redirect their minds away from social life to academic activities. Besides making them realise the essence of being sent to school by their parents, we also fill them up spiritually. We start all these calculated and deliberate efforts as soon as they get to SS I, thus, by the time they reach SS II they are already mentally and academically prepared for any kind of examination whatsoever”, said Mr. Olanrewju.

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Commenting on the synergy that exists between the school’s management and the parents, the Chairman of ICAST Schools’ Parents, Teachers Association (PTA), Pastor John Ibiloye, disclosed that there exists effective communication channel on both parties.

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According to him, “the school’s management does not see us as their ‘customers’. We are seen as a critical stakeholder, hence our observations are always taken with seriousness it deserves. Collectively as parents, we are not only interested in our children outstanding performance during examination alone, we are also interested in the pre-exam activities. That is why we are very glad that the outstanding results the school has recorded in recent years are not flukes but as a result of hardwork and commitment of all the parties concerned”

However, both the PTA Chairman and the school’s principal unanimously agree that holistic education is not only about outstanding academic performances alone, adding that, behavioural aspect of education is as equally important. They posited that it is on this principle of pursuant of holistic education that both parties build their relationship on.

Mr. Adeoye Adepoju, ICAST Headmaster.

Revealing one of the strategies which has served the school well and, which of course, gives unique brand to the school, the Headmaster of the primary section, Mr. Adeoye Adepoju disclosed that the secret is in their curriculum which according to him was designed to prepare their students to fit in anywhere standard and holistic primary education is being taught. In his words, “our pupils get on well in any environment they find themselves because our teaching methods and scheme covers what operates in any standard school so parents don’t need to bother if they have to relocate”.

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He argued further, “our pupils have good command of English as they pronounce with right dictions and intonation. Spellings is also taught with the aid of Scrabble”. Mr. Adeoye concluded by saying that “extra -curricular activities are also in place for our pupils physical development with the recent introduction of BALLET dance. We also have standard sporting facilities and well equipped computer room where our pupils are tutored with CBT”.

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