NIGERIA’S LOOMING EDUCATIONAL DISASTER

Victor Adaha

A people without direction and focus are indeed heading towards doom, mind you it is never too late to change once noticed that the path being treaded leads to nowhere. It is well said that CHANGE is the only constant thing, but the question remains from where and what are we changing to?

It has been argued by both stake holders, state men, government and even concerned citizens that for our country Nigeria to make any meaningful progress we must and would have to chant a new course and policy for our educational system, most importantly among others. All hands have been on deck in recent times in ensuring that the educational system is revamped, as unpleasant happenings have been linked to our chronic educational system. It is widely argued that most graduates from our national universities are half backed and unemployable. Our position as consumers instead of producers, has also being linked to the quality of the nations educational system.

The big multimillion dollars’ question staring at the face of our nation is, what is the way forward? This single question could mean different things to different people.

Only recently the Government of Kaduna state in the northern part of the country decided to take its educational sector as top most priority, and hence made a call for ‘teacher competence test’ arguably using primary four scheme, the result became a national embarrassment and disaster, it is also important to remind us of similar occurrence which played out in Edo State Southern Nigeria. Some years ago when the then Governor decided to priorities its state educational system, the discovery equally was not a pleasant one. Be reminded that Nigeria can be said to be broadly divided into two which are the South and Northern Nigeria.

The nations educational system as a whole has been faulted by many, both educationist and other national stake holders in the educational industry, the government discoveries in recent times has also affirmed the need for an urgent state of emergency, and also there has being official statements from the government at different levels affirming that there is a serious problem that needs to be fixed. Sadly, as it appears in the midst of all these there have been no solution in sight.

A discussion with a senior Nigerian who is a lawyer by profession revealed another side to the issue, she argued so strongly as to why these teachers should not be sacked. Before we further x-ray her own side of the issue, let consider the following.

A society that forgoes competence for nepotism would never see success, and a system that is built on the bases of sentiments cannot stand the test of time, just as nepotism cannot be allowed in the health sector for any reason, so also shouldn’t it be allowed in the educational sector, a mistake from a doctor or any other medical practitioner could result to a patient’s death, while a mistake from a teacher could result to the destruction and malformation which is as good as death to the lives of a whole class, which class number could vary from 10- 100. So while a doctor could kill one person. By the illustration, a teacher could kill ten times more on an average. Why then should we keep slaying our educational system on the altar of nepotism and emotional sentiments, for the fear of making people jobless, which at the end would amount to penny wise pound foolish. Why are we just chanting educational restructuring and no conference has since been conveyed?

Just recently, the government of Adamawa State declared a state of emergency on their educational system, but shockingly there has being no known educational conference for professionals and policy makers to meet, and the huge amount that was voted for the emergency, is already on its way to be exhausted.

It has been argued that laying off those teachers is not in the best interest of the economy, even as I partially agree with that, I still strongly believe giving them a three months there about ‘therapy’ might not be effective.

It is high time we took the bull by its horn, if the government is serious about education in this country, they should in my own informed professional opinion cater for those aged unfit teachers who cannot adapt to the new system, they should be put off the class rooms and any other who can not deliver sound and qualitative education.

While young hands are encouraged into the sector, especially in the face of unemployment looming the nation, interested graduates who are non-professionals should be encouraged by enrolling them for post graduate programme in education, while they remain in the class as assistant teachers pending when certified.

Educational sector should be prioritized with more funds voted in, just like security and health are.

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