Mrs. Ruth Keffas Gadzama is a highly resourceful and committed educationist. She left a legacy of service as a teacher under the Lagos State Education Board and the Nigeria Police Education Inspectorate for over two decades. Of her decision to be a teacher, she says:
“I became a teacher because I wanted to make a difference. While there are many fields in which I could accomplish this goal, I feel that education is the one in which I can have the greatest impact. Every day, children in Nigeria are being told that they aren’t good enough, or that they just ‘can’t’. As a teacher, I feel I have a positive platform from which to dispel that fallacy. I realize that teaching is a profession that can be supremely exhausting, but I know in my heart that the benefits outweigh the fatigue ten times over. Teaching requires patience, understanding, compassion, and enthusiasm – all things that I am more than willing to provide on a daily basis. I believe in treating pupils equally. This also implies that I treat pupils differently according to their needs. As they say, “Success breeds success”, so I will give my students every opportunity to succeed on their own terms.”
Ruth Keffas Gadzama trained as a teacher at Women Teachers College, Azare, Bauchi State between 1970 and 1975. She also schooled at the Kaduna Polytechnic where she studied Guidance and Counselling/Rehabilitation. She went on to read Sociology at the University of Maiduguri, graduating with a B.Sc in 1995.
From 1996 to 1997, she read for a higher degree, M.Sc Industrial & Labour Relations in the same university. She bagged that degree in record time. She also did a course at the Chartered Institute of Administration between 2005 and 2006.
Mrs. Ruth Keffas Gadzama joined the services of Lagos State Education Board in 1981. She taught for several years at Army Children School, Bonny Camp, Lagos before redeploying to the Nigeria Police Education Unit. She subsequently taught at Police Children School, Enugu.
In the year 2004, she was posted to the Inspectorate Division, Police Force Headquarters Annex, Lagos. In 2009, she became Head Teacher of Police Children School I, Obalende, Lagos.
For over five years, Mrs. Gadzama has been engaged in youth development and empowerment in her community in the northeast of Nigeria. Through her NGO, she has trained over 300 youths in various vocational skills.
Coming from the northern part of Nigeria where female education is low and women are largely discouraged from schooling, Mrs. Gadzama gives back to her community by sending young women back to school. Her NGO educates these young women on the importance of education.
The target beneficiaries of her work are mainly orphans and vulnerable children, particularly from the rural areas and poor families. She targets children whom poverty could lead into such pitiable engagements as child labour, hawking and early marriage. The beneficiaries are mainly primary school girls whose parents or guardians cannot afford basic things like uniforms, books and basic needs of a child.
It was in recognition of her contribution to national development in the field of Education that Mrs. Ruth Keffas Gadzama was conferred with the PSR Woman of Merit Gold Award in 2016.