‘Nigerians in Multicultural Britain (education)’ Lecture

‘Nigerians are doing pretty well’

On Saturday the 27th June, I had the pleasure of attending, NSSFF's second annual education lecture, in the Council Chamber of the Bromley Civic centre. Building upon the success of last year, the group set itself the challenge of tackling the compelling and increasingly important topic, ‘Nigerians in Multicultural Britain (Education)’, through an ambitious programme of presentations, talks and discussions. Led by a diverse range of speakers covering different generations, fields, experiences and approaches, the audience was able to engage with issues such as assimilation, addressing imbalances and maintaining the best parts of the Nigerian culture.

After the event was opened with a welcome address from the Deputy Major of Bromley, Councillor Alan Collins, Mr Seyi Obakin gave the keynote address. Mr. Obakin presented a positive message suggesting embracing British culture whilst also recognising and utilising an inherent ‘diversity advantage’ at all levels of education and work, as well as socially.

Next, Ms. Tanisha Onyenaoha described the graduate careers firm RARE recruitment limited and its laudable aim of getting the best BAME and disadvantaged students into top London firms.

By asking ‘Are you an education snob?’(The answer is yes), Ms. Jane Rowlands sought to combat the ‘dirty hands’ stereotype amongst parents. Thus encouraging more children into engineering, by raising the profile of the career and extolling the virtues of studying STEM subjects.

The ‘Speak and be heard – Giving the youth a voice’ talk by the Genesis club was a highlight, particularly because of its question and answer session during which they tried to get the parents in the room to see things from their children’s perspectives and acknowledge the differences and difficulties of raising multicultural children. The second part of the day was focused around audience participation, from the lengthy Q&A session with all of the speakers, to the round table discussion following and sparked by Mr. Oke Eleyae’s ‘So what is Metacognition?’ speech.

The audience was given the opportunity to identify their own concerns and share solutions. The quality of the ideas presented by the speakers and the collegial nature of the day was reflected by the way the speakers referred to one another’s speeches and incorporated them into their own. Several speakers referred back to Mr. Obakin’s keynote address in which he discussed a sampling of successful and prominent Nigerians in Britain from which he concluded, clearly…. ‘Nigerians are doing pretty well’. This positive point set the tone for the rest of the day. It was from this point that the lecture discussed how Nigerians could be doing even better, by capitalising on Nigerians innate desire to succeed, creating and utilising networks, sharing in the success of others and challenging the prevailing notion of a single definition of success. The seminar was well attended and what the participants commented on most, aside from the lovely food, was the uniqueness and need for an event such as this. Hopefully it will be just as successful and engaging next year and bring in more children; I’m sorry ‘young adults’, to whom much of the advice was directed. Regardless of the generation, everyone was able to take away something not only to think about but to act on.

The day was peppered with entertaining talks from various Old Boys’ and Girls’ associations who revealed the impressive contributions that they have continued to make to their schools as well as reignited old rivalries.

The event was brought to a close with a quick history of NSSFF, which served as a pleasant reminder of the sports day, which we still have to look forward to this summer.

NSSFF remains grateful to our supporters (including LB Bromley), sponsor (BNET ) and of course, all the participants at the event.

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