Penned by Fasinu Tolulope.
The Nigeria Chess Federation (NCF), under the leadership of DIG (Rtd.) Sani U. Mohammed, mni. worked jointly with the FIDE Chess in Education Commission, to host the “School Instructor” title-awarding seminar for chess trainers and educators in Nigeria. The on-site seminar took place in Lagos state, on the 3rd and 8th of January, 2023. The certificate issued after the course, authenticates an individual to deliver chess instruction in any educational institution from colleges and below (barring universities).
According to the lecturer, WIM Anzel Laubscher, Africa is the only continent taking the CHESS IS SCHOOL SEMINAR physically, and Nigeria is only the 4th country hosting it. This makes for a good historical record, and plans are already in place by the Nigeria Chess Federation to follow this up with yet another training in Nigeria. This added training will enable certified trainers to lecture educators on how to deliver chess education to children.
Meanwhile, the Vice President of the Nigeria Chess Federation (NCF), Prince Adewole Adeyinka, who was present at the seminar, noted that the seminar is a part of the bigger goal to improve chess in Nigeria. He mentioned that little preparations such as having FIDE-EDU certified educators in Nigeria, will pave the way for developments, such as the adoption of chess in school curriculum (among others); should that opportunity come around in the nearest future.
Furtherance to the training and subsequent examination by the Fide Chess in Education team, twenty-six (26) of those who participated, attained the pass mark needed to qualify for the certificates of Schools Instructor (SI). The average percentage (%) obtained was seventy (70), while the highest mark obtained ninety percent (90%)
Read full interviews with the trainer and the NCF Vice President below>>>
Do kindly note that for the purpose of the interview, the interviewer, FT will be represented by FT, while WAL will the represented by AL, and Prince Adewole Adeyinka will be represented by AA. Enjoy.
INTERVIEW WITH THE FIDE CHESS IN EDUCATION TRAINER – WIM Anzel Laubscher – AFTER THE SEMINAR
FT: Good afternoon. What really is the significance of the SI training?
AL: Okay, the whole idea about the school’s instructor title is that we want to train the teachers. We found that it is easier to train a teacher, who already knows how to work with children at the foundation phase, to teach them a new skill, and then they can apply it in the classroom, because they already know how to work with children. This is our way to reach the masses. It is for mass participation as well. Ideally, at the end of the day, we would like to have every single child in grade one, to know how to play chess.
We thought that was the best way to do it. We get quite a lot of existing chess trainers and chess coaches that really benefit from this. Knowing how to play chess and being a good player does not mean that you know how to work with children. There is a big difference, and we can actually damage our future generation by not teaching them the way they deserve to be taught.
FT: Thank you. How does this help school owners and heads of schools? What are the things they need to know now?
AL: The idea is to upskill the existing teachers. Actually, if we speak about school owners or principals or whoever, and the department of Education, we want to take hands and we want to train them. This ensures that the existing employees are retained, the teachers we upskill and empower, will be provided with an extra skill. This is chess in education. We want chess in the classroom. All we want is (a minimum) thirty (30) minutes, once a week, when they do chess. Like I said, it is chess and education, so we want to incorporate chess into the education system.
FT: Are there plans to have other certifications than the training? Maybe the National Instructor (NI) and FIDE Instructor (FI), are there plans to bring those to Africa or Nigeria very soon?
AL: Yes, definitely. There is an education pathway that we have worked out. We start with certain phases and then we want to improve. We are not leaving the trainers here. However, we must also realize that once the teachers are empowered in that sense, they can do the basics with the kids, and then we can assist them to create a club in the school. This is where our existing trainers and chess coaches come in, because this will also create work for them and jobs for them. This is like a micro-environment that feed each other.
FT: Thank you very much. Before I let you go, I remember you mentioned during the training, that Africa is probably one of the few continents taking the class physically. Could you tell us a little about that. I am sure it will make everybody proud to hear about it.
AL: I need to correct you. Africa is the only continent that does this training face-to-face, in person. This course was developed for online training. And then about a year ago, I took the initiative to say, listen, this is not working for Africa, because in most African countries, (it seems) we do not have the resources to train. They expect smartboards and interactive smartboards in the classroom, when we are struggling to find chalk to write on the blackboard in classrooms, in most African countries. Then I told the team that this is not inclusive. I told them that this is actually discriminatory against certain countries.
Therefore, I said I will go to those places. Let us do it face to face. I can tell you that we have had amazing results, and people continue coming back for more. Yeah, this is definitely the way to go. Thus, Africa is the only continent, and at the moment, Nigeria is the fourth country to receive this training. I am not sure if I am supposed to say this, but I think this was definitely my strongest group so far, coming along.
FT: Thank you. It was a pleasure speaking with you.
AL: Thank you too.
INTERVIEW WITH THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE NIGERIA CHESS FEDERATION – Prince Adewole Adeyinka – AFTER THE SEMINAR
FT: Is this the beginning of implementing chess into the education curriculum in Nigeria?
AA: This is where opportunity and preparation come to play. We believe that there is going to be an opportunity in the nearest future, where chess will be part of the Nigerian education curriculum, and at that time you want to have nationally licensed trainers or instructors, who can actually teach effectively. As it is now, you have a lot of people teaching chess here and there. If you ask the people who participated in the seminar, they will tell you that it is a different ball game, having learned from someone who is a specialist in this area.
I can guarantee you that the Ministry of Sports has a policy in place, where chess and all other sports are actually considered at private school level, and public school level for students capacity development. What this means is that, when we are opportune to get the Ministry of Education to understand the enormous benefits in chess, as well as aid collaboration between the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Sports, the result will be that chess will then evolve, from being an extra-curricular activity in both private and public schools, to being a full fledged curriculum.
Also, as it is, we are in talks with WIM Anzel Laubscher about the possibility of also sharing the curricula in use. However, the curriculum would need to be customized, to align with the Nigerian system.
FT: I understand. Thank you, sir. That is all beautiful and appreciated. However, I am aware that there are other titles in the training line too, like the National Instructor (NI), as well as FIDE Instructor (FI). Should we look forward to these trainings as well?
AA: This is actually called the School Instructor (SI) training, which is like the elementary level of instructors. There are conditions which include writing an exam, for participants to get certified. After this level, some individuals will be identified to be trained for the next level, which is the Lecturing Instructor. This provides trainers the opportunity to pass the acquired knowledge to others. We are in discussion with the commission, that is Chess in Education Commission, on having that as well.
FT: Thank you, sir. Finally, now that we are on this beautiful process, should we look forward to the NCF regulating chess in school? Should we start looking towards the regulation of chess in schools, where we can even have schools reporting instructors to the federation or just oversight functions from the federation or things like that?
AA: You are absolutely correct. You cannot actually start regulating, when you do not have a structure. What we are trying to put in place, is a good structure and of course, part of the structure will then include regulations. The role of NCF is more regulatory in nature, however, we are currently trying to create more developmental roles than the regulatory.
When the structure is fully established, and the process is established, you can then go into regulation, because again, it is bad when you have someone who did not learn or who does not really know how to teach people, imparting half-baked chess knowledge. It is the same knowledge that has been imparted, that the person who has been taught would carry. Thus, we want to make sure that destinies are well secured. At the end of the day, it should be a universal/national thing, where chess will be taught in schools in the same manner, different from what is really going on right now.
FT: Thank you very much Vice President, for talking to us.
AA: Thank you..