A School ‘Without’ Teachers – A Nigerian Education Innovation

  • Have you seen a school that uses no textbooks, no exercise books and no timetables?or… 
  • Have you ever visited a school without a row of chairs, tables for students and teachers?… and 
  • Have you been to a school where there are no grade levels, and nobody is actually a student?

If you haven’t, then welcome to Prikkle Academy!

All that you see in a regular school, we have the opposite at this Academy.

In Nigeria, there is a worrisome statistics of millions of youths that have to spend at least 16 years through school to become fully unemployed.

The numbers are even scarier in rural communities where the quality of formal education is low, where the infrastructures are weak and the motivation of learners and teachers dwindle down to zero every day.

This news is everywhere, everyone is angry about the educational system and the hope for a highly productive future of the nation is like the legs of a snail walking backwards.

Instead of waiting until everything crumbles, Prikkle Academy decided to chart a different path – a daringly odd direction to not fix education but to nurture the gifts and assets that are available in any community.

We have a vision of an Africa where rural youths are community builders, valued by everybody and can play a critical role in national development.

So, we co-create innovation hubs (called makerspaces) with grassroots youths to inspire creative collaboration in identifying the social problems within their community, freely choose their own tools and become problem-solvers through virtual and peer-to-peer learning.

Student at Prikkle Academy

In a practical sense, we run from a specific community location, inside a solar-powered building, opened for 7 days in a week, where anyone of any age, background or skill can freely walk into and find the tools and resources they need to turn their ideas into real solutions.

No timetables, no teacher or student, no classwork or homework, no report cards, no payment of any fees, and nobody is paid a salary.

We call it real learning as real life is happening.

There is a little story that is worth sharing about how we decided to go in this direction and then, we will hold your hand as we walk you through some of the magical possibilities that have happened since we started in 2016.

Are you ready? Let’s go:

In 2012, a young man after immediately graduating from the University was enrolled by the Nigerian Government as a biology teacher on the compulsory 1 year National Service.

The usual practice is that some graduates influence their placement to be posted to the cities, but this guy didn’t bother influencing his posting.

Fortunately, he was posted into a hard-to-reach rural community in Benue State, North-Central Region in Nigeria (Most-populous African Nation).

He had to live in a house without electricity, drinkable water or toilet for 7 months of his stay in the community. When he resumed at the school, he found students that were academically brilliant and many others that struggled to learn.

While his job was to help students learn Biology, something shocking started happening to the students that he couldn’t ignore.

He realized that some of his students dropped out of school without any prior notice. He inquired about the situation and found out that there were two problems that led to this problem:

#1 Poverty! – the parents could no longer afford the cost of sending their children to school.
#2 The quality of education was too low to raise skilled youths.

Survival is generally tough in rural communities and the youths continuously moved to the city to become street children and manual laborers to survive.

At this point, he got inspired to help rural children and youths to get tailored, personalized and quality education that will ensure they learn effectively, have top-notch competencies to get jobs, be engaged and lead peaceful lives in the future, no matter where they go to.

He engaged about 200 students for 3 days in a series of capacity building sessions. The creative spirit, curiosity and the passion in the students were unleashed. Within a month, new enterprises were created and still growing till date.

The children and youths seemed powerless living in rural communities because they didn’t have the necessary technologies to learn, research, grow and blossom like the children in the city or in developed countries.

After his 1 year service year ended, he took a job that he didn’t need in the city. Yet, deep down, he was already consumed with the passion to empower humanity, because of his experiences visiting and working with more rural communities within that year.

His name is Damilola Fasoranti, straightaway he decided to start Prikkle Academy, left his city job and permanently moved into the rural communities to do 2 major things:

  • to make sure that any child and youth in the rural communities can be fully engaged with the tools, people and resources that will help them turn any education they have into solutions.
  • to help more youths to access learning opportunities, to collaborate on projects with other youths from around the world, to communicate effectively, become ethical leaders and lead successful lives.

In the past 3 years, here are some of the results of this ‘odd’ approach to Education:

  • Increased community recycling: plastic bottles, nylons and cartons were usually thrown away by the community people are now being sold in bundles starting from $2, as they now see the tangible recycled products that children and youths are creating from it.
  • Employment opportunities: At least 15 unemployed participants now earn $60+ monthly (above minimum wage) by offering their new skill sets virtually in design, content creation, social media management and research.
  • This makerspace, launched in 2017 has helped to engender peaceful co-existence with neighbors, different tribes, religions and language serving 7 schools (over 900 students) in the local communities of Mbagishi, Benue State and Afon, Kwara State, Nigeria.
  • For the first time, rural youths are able to use computers and learn with other people from around the world virtually.
  • The centre has attracted the visits of urban professionals, University students from several states in Nigeria and Overseas.
  • Our solution of turning household food waste into organic fertilizers for farmers has been adopted by people in 3 African countries.
  • We have successfully converted human feces into organic cooking fuel.
  • Successfully partnered with the Government in Nigeria and 4 other organizations in Nigeria (MollyFrank Nigeria Limited and MindTheGap – A Google Sponsored Initiative), in Benin Republic (VIP World) and a Non-profit Organization (Loss of Generality) Ireland.
  • In 2017, Prikkle Academy was profiled as one of the 450 education organizations in the world solving education problems with an innovative approach by Centre for Education Innovations (an Initiative of Results for Development Institute), USA.
  • – We were selected as 1 of the Top 100 Global Most inspiring Social Innovations by Social Enabler, India.
  • Our Staff and Participants have been selected for at least 6 International fellowship programs for using an unconventional method to solve rural educational problems in Nigeria.
  • Prikkle Academy’s inspiring approach to development has been published in the renowned CHANGE Magazine, by Development Innovation Insider (Diinsider), Hong Kong.

If there a dream that you have always had, the time to launch it was yesterday, not tomorrow. No matter how odd or scary it may seem.

See this documentary, click >>>> HERE

You have been inspired enough… now, LAUNCH!

To learn more and support our work at Prikkle Academy, visit our website: www.prikkleacademy.org | On Social Media: @PrikkleAcademy [ctt template=”8″ link=”aIJ70″ via=”no” ]Prikkle Academy – Changing Lives, Empowering Communities [/ctt]

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Damilola Fasoranti writes in his dreams and helps fearful entrepreneurs to finally launch their awesome dreams. He is a Tedx Speaker, a professional educator and the Chief Listener at Prikkle Academy (in Nigeria) where he provokes young people to turn their skills, gifts and knowledge into social solutions.

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Bleed – How To Write For The Heart

I love it when I tap the veins in my fingers and bleed virtues into a blank paper — when the place, time, season or how I feel no longer matter.

It’s like my fingers are taking my mind on a walk to find the door that opens to the place where my Muse lives. The more I write, the better the ideas touch down on earth fired up to run the walkway and leap into the heart of my readers.

Since I had read in the bible when I was young that the fingers of God wrote and still writing. I began to cherish my notepads far more than my clothes and money!

There is one simple, yet powerful thing that I have observed in the past 15 years that’s closely attached to how successful you will be – no matter your age, background, location or skin color.

That thing is called COMMUNICATION.

Think about this… at one stage or the other in your life, you will have to:

  • write an exam
  • speak to convince a recruiter
  • negotiate with your spouse, daughter or in a business deal
  • – put on a gesture to pass a piece of information or trigger others to action
  • read to learn, to solve your problems
  • listen to make different types of decisions

I have seen that if you don’t master how to write, speak, read, make gestures or listen, you will be faced with a lot of challenges in life.

This is why I have decided to take just one portion of the communication spectrum in the article, to show you how to write (and maybe say) things in ways that will get others to listen.

Don’t ever forget this: in any form of communication there is always an effective and compelling way to write that people will be hungry for more. You will hold their eyes at the jugular for massive attention.

Now, let me share with you a few examples and show you how to do that in real-time.

Example 1

Let’s say you want to describe a cooked food, what you simply need to do is express the description of the food by touching it, what do you feel (what happens) to your sense organs by just the touch of that food item.

>>> Look at this:

  • The aroma of the food danced around the whole building like butterflies that found sugar in a hibiscus flower. (Your organ of smell).
  • The taste is 5 times sweeter than honey. All my taste buds woke up and are thirsty for more. My lips and tongue couldn’t but stand at attention. (Your organ of taste).
  • The hot food chased off all the coldness on my lips. The harmattan found a path of quick escape. (Your organ of taste).
  • My eyes were in movies as the flames from the food escaped into my nostrils. (Your organ of sight and smell).
  • I could hear the joy among the food molecules eager to visit the drumming boys of hunger in my stomach. (Your organ for hearing).

What did you feel while reading that? Do you get the idea?

Example 2

Imagine that you want to describe how a pen works, again, try to infuse how your sense organs will perceive the pen when it is in action.

>>> Look at this:

  • My taste buds are always alive and thirsty for an apple, every time I open the tip cover of the pen. (Your organ of taste)
  • The ink flows effortlessly on my notepads like chilled water flowing down my chest on a hot afternoon. (Your organ of touch)
  • My eyes found pleasure as the words sparkle on the book leaflets. (Your organ of sight)
  • The gentle feel of the pen between my fingers reminds me of the succulent touch of a newborn baby. (Your organ of touch)
  • Hop, step, jump – the pen listens to me, it follows my hand as it moves through the canvas of the table. (Your organ for hearing)

Yeah, that’s it! Do you get the flow?

What you have tried to do above is to describe things that are inanimate, as if they are alive, have legs, and breathe like a human being.

One of the reasons why we will read that and enjoy it is because we are human beings, and we love to see things that sound like us.

That’s why we love people that see the movies we like, we join networks of people that are in the same professions as ours, and we become a fan of a football club because it is our best friend’s club of choice.

So, when you write, speak, or anything that has to do with communicating, one of the things you need to watch out for are the ways to dance to the tune of what people love to hear, by serving their emotions with the finest rows of words and sentences.

This doesn’t mean you need to be all flowery or have to overthink this process to master the art.

Start small, and build on it gradually.

For now, look over the two exercises above, and begin to change out a few words, connecting it with the appropriate simile (use of this, is ‘like’ that) and metaphor (this is that).


Damilola Fasoranti writes in his dreams and helps fearful entrepreneurs to finally launch their awesome dreams. He is a Tedx Speaker, a professional educator and the Chief Listener at Prikkle Academy (in Nigeria) where he provokes young people to turn their skills, gifts and knowledge into social solutions.