C o m m o n w e a l t h
A s s o c i a t i o n o f
M u s e u m s
CAM Bulletin Number 4 - May, 1998
Junior "Council of Ministers Meeting"
Lagos Museum, Nigeria
The National Museum of Lagos receives a lot of children on visits but most of these children are in the primary schools. We, in the museum, discovered that the secondary school students who come to the museum are mainly art students. When we inquired from schools, we discovered that the schools believe that science students do not have any business with the museum. Trying to convince the teachers, trhough discussions, did not work. We then decided we needed a programme in the museum that will take care of both the arts and science students. We also found out that even those few arts students who come do not really know what the museum is. Some of the teachers were equally as ignorant if not more than the student.
We then decided to create a programme using a role model for the students. We came up with the programme titled "Junior Council of Ministers Meeting". This Council of Ministers whose Chairman is the Head of State will discuss "Ministries and Museums in the Development of the Country." The children acted as Ministers and talked about their ministries' usefulness to museums and how they can be involved in the development of the country.
The competition was for Senior Secondary II students only - one student per school. Thirty-six schools from all the Local Government Areas of Lagos State were invited. The invitations were sent through the Local Education Administrators (LEA) of the local governments. Unfortunately, some Education Administrators did not give many of the schools their letters. Out of thirty-six schools, eighteen schools participated.
A breakdown of the schools that participated and their designations are:
- Model College, Igbonla - Head of State
- Okemagbo High School - Minister for Works and Housing
- Government College, Surulere - Minister of Mineral Resources
- Epe Gramma School, Epe - Aviation Minister
- High Achievers Secondary School, Badagry - Minister of Industries
- Maryland Comprehensive School, Ikeja - Minister of Communications
- Ibeju Lekki Secondary School, Ibeju Lekki - Minister of Special Duties
- Kings College, Lagos - Minister of Health and Human Services
- Awori College, Ojo - National Security Advisor
- Community Secondary School, Mushin - Minister of Federal Capital Territory
- Ibeju Lekki High School, Ibeju Lekki - Minister of Labour and Productivity
- Marywood Grammar School, Ebute Metta - Minister of Education
- Civil Service Model College, Ikorodu - Minister of National Planning
- Oriwu College, Ikorodu - Minister of Water Resources and Rural Development
- Aunty Ayo Comprehensive Secondary School - Minister of Special Duties
- Adeola Secondary School, Tolu Awodiora - Inspector General of Police
- ArchBishop Aggrey Memorial Grammar School, Mushin - Minister of Tourism and Commerce
- Lagos Anglican Girls Grammar School, Surulere - Minister of State in the Federal Capital Territory
The students all dressed in traditional attire and they all gave a fantastic account of themselves. They not only behaved like Ministers, they also spoke like Ministers, and were clear, concise and very knowledgeable about how their various ministries will work with the museum for a more developed Nigeria. Each student spoke for 20 minutes. At the end of the two day meeting which was chaired by the Head of State, the following emerged in 1st, 2nd, & 3rd positions:
1st Prize - Head of State - Model College, Igbonla
2nd Prize - Minister of Education - Marywood Grammar School
3rd Prize - Minister of Federal Capital Territory - Community Secondary School, Mushin
The idea of the competition is not only to get children interested but also to give them the correct orientation about the museum. They should see the museum as a lively education institution not just one geared towards antiquities, paintings and shrine objects. Moreover, a lot of teachers in schools are narrow minded about museums. This programme enabled both the teacher and student to realize that museums are relevant to science students. The children imagined themselves as Ministers and at the meeting told the world the relationship between their ministries and the museum.
But the most important thing is that before you can tell us what your Ministry has to do with the museum, you have to know what the museum is all about. By the time the students finish talking, they know that when one mentions the museum, one is not talking about shrines but about facets of life of the community. The programme killed three birds with one stone. It opened the eyes of students, teachers, and parents, to the relevance of museums to the society.
The three winners each went home with money, textile materials, wrist watches, T-shirts, towels, exercise books, key rings, caps and mobile insecticides. Consolation prizes were given to seven students. Each received T-shirts, towels, exercise books, mobile cans of sprays and key rings. All participants received a gift for having the courage to participate.
The competition was sponsored by Nestle Foods, PLC, Mobil Oil Nigeria, Berger Paints, Nigerian Breweries, Lubcon Oil Ltd, Stallion Property and Development Company Ltd.
Head of Station
National Museum, Lagos