Abuja, Nigeria Report of what it's like to live there - 03/07/18
Personal Experiences from Abuja, Nigeria
School Name: American International School of Abuja
1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?
2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?
K and 2
3. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?
4. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?
Yes, there are a couple of other schools including a number of British schools, another American-style school, and the French school.
Admissions & Welcome:
1. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
The welcome is okay, and they really seem to want to attract the official community's students but integration and communication is an issue. There are a number of different communications platforms used by the school but if for some reason your email isn't on one of the lists, it is very easy to miss key information. Also, early in the year, they seem to require a lot of separate and uncoordinated visits by parents to school. One time to get ID photos for badges, one for back to school night, one to get lunch tickets, one to set up the school account. It is tedious and often the information is sent out with very short notice.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
As stated above, there are several platforms. Unfortunately, they appear uncoordinated. There is a newsletter, each class has an online messaging platform of some sort - but they could be different depending on the classroom teacher and his/her preference, there is the AISA email account the school sets up, there is the google share site. Most messages from the administration comes via the Communications office email address.
2. Aside from school fees, are there required expenses such as uniforms, laptops/tablets, musical instruments, or field trips that parents are expected to cover? What are the approximate costs?
In the early years, these are minimal. There are after school clubs, but those are optional.
Academics & Resources:
1. What personal or academic counseling resources are available at this school? Is there a dedicated college counselor at the school? Is he/she familiar with universities worldwide?
There is a curriculum development person and perhaps a college counselor but we haven't needed those services.
2. Is there before and/or after-school daycare available? What are the costs?
Only in the form of after school clubs. Clubs are 8,000 naira per club (approximately $22) for each 8 week class - but there is a break between each session of clubs and there are no clubs on Fridays
3. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
It is a moderate sized library and students can check out books to take home. The books are relatively recent.
4. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
Technology seems good, pretty up-to-date, and there is a lab.
5. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?
They seem to spend a lot of time with technology. In the early grades, they provide iPads and use them in class. At the middle school level, they start taking home laptops. Families are not currently required to purchase iPads or laptops. Additionally, there is a computer lab where students work on specific skills.
6. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
There are PE classes and there is a gym, a swimming pool and other playing fields (football/soccer, track, tennis).
7. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
1:15 give or take.
8. Are Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses available in upper grades? If this is an IB school, is the full diploma required of all students?
9. Are students generally challenged appropriately by the curriculum? Please describe any particular strengths or weaknesses in this area. Do you have any thoughts how the curriculum is applied and implemented at this school?
No. I find there is way too much emphasis on busy work. There are lots of worksheets that appear to be downloaded from various resources.
10. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
There is little to no homework at the primary level, which is fine.
11. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
There are a wide variety of after school clubs, during the school day, there are some of these aspects.
12. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
Yes, given that Nigeria is an English-speaking country, fluency in English is required.
13. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
None. Really. None. There are claims that they differentiate based on abilities in class and that there are enrichment opportunities but this is one area where the school really seems to miss the mark in my opinion.
14. What services are available for students with learning disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
None. This is the same as the gifted/advanced side of the house. Extra time after school is the only option and is not sufficient.
15. What services are available for students with physical disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
I would not recommend Nigeria for anyone who needs to a accommodate any variety of special requirements.
16. What services are provided for speakers of English as a second language at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
17. What extra-curricular activities (including sports) are available at this school? Have your children participated in these activities? What activities do you feel are missing at the school?
There are plenty of sports and other after school activities.
Social & Emotional Well-Being:
1. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?
Somewhat but it is much better at younger ages than at older ages. I've heard of a number of children being bullied and I am not aware of effective measures to counter that.
2. Are there are any problems with exclusionary behavior, cliques, or bullying at this school? Please describe any problems your children may have experienced in this area.
1. What letter grade (ranging from A, excellent, to F, fail) would you assign to this school based on your overall experience? Would you choose it again?
C - at best. This is a mediocre school. I'm not sure I would choose it again.
2. Please tell us anything else you think prospective parents and students should know about this school. Thanks for your contribution!
I believe that this school has a checkered history and the new head of school is trying to straighten some things out but it is really an uphill battle. The teachers are well meaning and my children are happy and healthy, so I'll consider that a minor win, but I'm not convinced they get enough support from the administration. I also think in general, the teachers need more support and development as there are a lot of new teachers or teachers with limited experience.