Isn’t our education system in peril?

No one can deny the fact that education is the cornerstone of national development, on a global scale. Any nation-state concerned and eager to achieve sustainable economic growth and technological advancement should attach great importance to the problems that disrupt its education system. The superpower countries, which have military might, economic wealth and technological culture, have great educational institutions. And their schools are strongholds of scientific knowledge and studies in the arts and humanities. When it comes to countries with large schools, America easily comes to mind. Doesn’t he have Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and others? And, in England, there is the University of Oxford.

Today, some Asian countries have developed their own technological culture with the help and contributions of their universities. And their scholars have formulated variants of democracy that suit the cultural peculiarities of their respective countries. National development depends on a functioning education system. Unsurprisingly, Nigeria is leading the way on the global national development ladder mainly because of its dysfunctional education system. It is an irrefutable fact that there is a correlation between a country’s growth and the efficiency of its education system.

Until the mid-1980s, Nigerian universities were the education mecca for foreign students seeking quality education. However, the decay of our education system as well as the decline in the quality of education obtained in our schools occurred as a result of the military adventurism of General Ibrahim Babangida. We still remember how the military dictator expelled Dr Patrick Wilmot, professor at Ahmadu Bello University from Kaduna in his home country. Other progressive-minded intellectuals and lecturers were also driven from the country. The brain drain that followed in Nigeria then became the brain drain of many European countries, Canada and the United States. Today, from Asia to Antarctica and from Europe to America, many prominent doctors, lawyers, lecturers, scientists and astronauts contribute significantly to the development of their host countries. , are originally from Nigeria.

Back in Nigeria, our academics and scientists from Citadels of Learning are handing out 30-year-old recycled lecture notes to their students, not to mention pushing the boundaries of knowledge in their areas of specialization. But the lack of creativity of the speakers and their lukewarmness towards their work is due to the government’s total and criminal neglect of the education sector, which has become both normative and phenomenal.

Fortunately, and fortunately too, some corporate organizations have instituted prizes to honor and reward high school teachers, who are outstanding in their core tasks of shaping student personalities and imparting knowledge and skills to them. Gone are the days when people always said teacher rewards were in heaven. But we are not oblivious to the striking fact that giving awards to teachers is an incentive and recognition that will lift their spirits and inspire them to give their best.

And, it should be noted that since 2015, the Nigerian Breweries Plc, the organization that instituted the Maltina Teacher of the Year award, annually honors and rewards teachers for their splendid teaching performance.

In the inaugural Nigerian Breweries Plc Maltina Teacher of the Year competition, a small self-effacing chemistry teacher from Federal Government Girls’ College Nkwelle – Ezunaka, named Rose Nkem Obi, won the National Teaching Tiara. Ms. Obi attributed her victory to a mixture of her faith in God and her hard-working disposition. She said winning the teaching tiara boosted her enthusiasm for teaching and gave her a huge voice to offer suggestions to government at different levels on how to revamp our education system in a coma.

Winning this award gave her the opportunity to pursue an educational program at the University of Manchester, UK, where she learned effective teaching methodologies. Lately, I visited her at Federal Government Girls’ College, Nkwelle-Ezunaka, and she offered me some suggestions on how we can approach our education issues: “Our school programs should be expanded to include skills training programs / courses, and this not necessary should be removed from the curricula. ” I agree with her on this point, because students who are endowed with practical skills can deploy them in work in which they can survive.

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Again, regarding the welfare of teachers in post-primary schools in Nigeria, the federal government has formulated educational policies designed to improve the lot of teachers. But, it appears that only federal government high school teachers will benefit from this teacher welfare program. In the context of state governments requesting money from the center, can they implement the newly approved federal social assistance program for teachers?

Once again, Ms. Rose Obi, an award-winning teacher and percipient analyst, gave her take on the thorny issue: “What happens in most states is mismanagement of funds. If the funds are well managed, states will have no problem paying their fees and salaries to civil servants. The money used to run political offices is too high; much should be devoted to the execution of educational initiatives. ”

In Nigeria, education is on the concurrent list, which places the responsibility for managing education issues on both state and federal governments. But the sad, pitiful and abysmal condition of most of Nigeria’s state-owned secondary schools is a true portrait of the state governments’ utter and criminal neglect of education. And, alongside federal public school teachers, public secondary school teachers are poorly paid. They only get a pittance at the end of each month.

Political leaders at the state level should know that education is very critical and essential for the development of Nigeria. Education should take pride of place in Nigeria, because only competent and knowledgeable people can lead our national development initiatives. No nation state desirous of sustainable economic growth and prosperity, technological advancement and stable political policy overlooks the problems that disrupt its education system.

  • Okoye, a poet, wrote from Obosi, Anambra state

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Janice G. Ball