Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria, has applauded Ethan & Harriet Company for developing technologically inclined learning products for exposing Nigerians across social status and background to the country’s cultural values and heritages.
Ethan & Harriet is an indigenous and leading educational toy provider that champions the promotion of cultural heritage among younger generations by deploying games.
Chief Obasanjo chaired the occasion that included high profile dignitaries: Mr. Donald Duke, former Cross Rivers State Governor; Alhaji Lai Muhammad, minister of Information and Culture; Erelu Olusola Obadan, former deputy governor of Osun State and erstwhile minister of State for Defence; Mrs. Ronke Soyombo, director-general, Office of Education Quality Assurance, Lagos State Ministry of Education, among others to launch Ethan and Harriet ‘Lift n Learn Magnetic Puzzle’, ‘Family Floor Nigeria Puzzle’ (products), while Ethan & Harriet Initiative Pals is meant to impact educationally disadvantaged children in the society.
Speaking at the product launch in Lagos on Thursday, the former President, extolled the developers for rejigging cultural transmission to younger generation in a creative manner, lamenting that deleting of history as a subject from the nation’s educational curriculum has limited such knowledge among present-day students, adding that even adults will benefit from the new products launched.
Chief Obasanjo said, “I like the fact this product will impact the students to know more about our culture, immediate environment and Nigeria’s heritages at large. Even the parents can make use of it to know the history about the Federation. Few days ago I returned from a trip and when people call me I do tell them the place I visited; you will be surprised some would ask: where is that. I was also on phone with the Governor of Taraba State and I shared the experience with him. He confirmed it saying that such is the problem with some people. Even when you tell some people you are from Taraba they do not know where such place it, let alone the capital.
“This is a product that will impact everybody; young, old, men and women, what they need to know about their country, each State and what they produce or what they are known for. It is a learning material for Children, teenagers, adults and teachers as well.
“It is also good for non-Nigerians who might be interested in knowing about Nigeria. It is a knowledge product. It is disappointing that our children do not know about States, the capitals and what they are noted for. We must understand that history is no longer thought in our schools. History is important to know your values, locality or products; so this product will make our children to know what matters about/to us and get prepared for tomorrow”.
On his part, Donald Duke, former Governor of Cross Rivers State and the products chief reviewer said that Ethan and Harriet’s vision will reignite the cultural acumens of most Nigerian and Africans at large.
He said that ‘corruption’ of Nigeria’s traditional heritages by penchant for foreign culture do not augur well for the development of the country.
“How come, people who stayed and studied abroad all their life, without any knowledge about the country (Nigeria), are usually interested in coming back to lead the people. You do not know anything about the people, culture and values. Now, we have an intervention in the products Ethan & Harriet are launching today (Thursday); let us make us of them, even adults are not left behind, because only few can identify the States in the map and their capitals. Because there is a problem with the way and manner our culture and heritages are dying, now, the opportunity has come to resuscitate them,” he urged Nigerians to embrace the products.
Also speaking, Erelu Olusola Obadan, former deputy governor of Osun State and erstwhile minister of State for Defence, charged parents to be conscious about their children learning tools.
She scored Ethan and Harriet ‘Lift n Learn Magnetic Puzzle’, ‘Family Floor Nigeria Puzzle’ (products) high and said that it was relevant in today’s society for knowledge sharing.
Erelu Obadan said, “It is a very good step in the right direction, because our children need to know about our and their heritage and what the country used to be. I think this product is very educational. If it is introduced into the school curriculum it is going to be very fantastic and exciting.
“I think kids and adults will appreciate it. Instead of wasting time on things that do not add value to their wellbeing, our children now have a tool to learn and become aware about the society at large”.
Earlier, Bunmi Williams, founder/CEO, Ethan & Harriet Company, said that the products were provoked by the need to design and manufacture the finest in children’s interactive educational toys and games, as each of the products develops and builds the necessary skills children require for school and beyond.
The Ethan & Harriet Founder/CEO said, “We have spotted disconnect between many Africans and their heritage and a lack of knowledge as it pertains to African history being passed on to children. Ethan & Harriet intends to bridge this gap by educating children through toys, which would in turn impart knowledge about African history in an engaging and appealing manner”.
She said that, from Nigerian to broader African context, they aim to promote education and knowledge about the rich culture, history and heritage.
On the Ethan & Harriet Initiative, a Corporate Social Responsibility project, she explained, “We have developed this initiative with the sole aim to providing healthier and conducive learning environments for students across the nation. We intend to achieve this, by providing furniture (chairs and tables), learning aids (blackboards, books, rulers, chalks, charts, etc) and sanitary wares (toilets). Through this, we hope to change lives, because we know that education empowers children”.
She added that the Initiative was set up because of their commitment to education and social development.