We can predict what a society will become, the level at which it's members are productive, up and doing, when we access the standard of it's education.
Education is best defined as the aggregate of all the processes that makes an individual useful to himself and his society. We can predict what a society will become, the level at which its members are productive, up and doing when we access the standard of its education. It is no more an argument that the education standard is falling in this country; the falling standard of education is alarming and a thing that concerned citizens are ashamed of. The pride of Africa is now intellectually deformed and, at the same time, industrially deformed due to the half-baked individuals the education sector produces.
The question now is; What do we do? Even though Nigerians have to change their mindset first, the government has to bring something to reality. The government has a serious onus of doing its best to provide a helping hand to the education sector more than it has been doing. It has to do more in training other teachers who have expert skills to manage the institutions of learning; this training should be sound and takes place in an organized and effective College of Education or in the University. These institutions should train 21st-century teachers who will cope with changing times.
They need to be trained to appreciate the computer used to teach, especially teachers who live in the suburbs. It is unfortunate that contemporary teachers disregard professional development in service while others enrolled in the profession have infiltrated the system with unethical and unprofessional principles in both private and public institutions in cities and also in the nooks and crannies of villages. Only well-trained, deserving, and competent teachers should be employed. If it is possible, a test of computer knowledge should be made more effective as a requirement for recruitment into the teaching profession. Since the attitude of nonchalant towards public assets and facilities is one of the attitudinal deficiencies of Nigerians, the government has a lot to do in ensuring that both the human and material resources they provide are utilized and maintained properly.
The individual teacher, among other professionals, should have it at the back of his mind that his job is at stake in this highly computer-inclined time when every professional is striving to go digital. The noncomputer-oriented teacher is too archaic for the job in this generation and the next and is henceforth not worthy of the profession. No wonder society tags the Nigerian teacher 'local' and calls it a profession for third-class students, a profession that is seriously lagging behind as far as computer orientation and mastery is concerned.
The government should encourage In-service teacher training. Private school administrators are not Left out in this herculean task of the climb, of the trek to the horizon. School administrators should help out; they have to spend a portion of their finance on helping the teacher while at the same time refusing to be stingy with resources by imposing responsibility for development on the unfortunate and disadvantaged teacher. When most private schools have cleared the doubts in the minds of Nigerians, others are ever in their deplorable state, that Nigerians ask the question,' What is the role of the Nigerian Association for the Proprietors of Private Schools ( NAPPS) in Nigeria as long as private schools exist?
The government has to rethink Computer Aided Instruction ( CAI ). CAI is the catalyst in this reaction to change the face of education now and in the next generations to come. Developed countries now use Artificial Intelligence ( AI ) as the bedrock upon which the integrity of there education standards is formed. Another area of concern for the government is to ensure the enrollment of out-of-school children, most especially the Amajiris, who grow to be tools used to terrorize the developing society.
Even though primary education is officially free and compulsory, about 10.5 million of the country's children ages 5-14 years are not in school. Only 61 percent of 6-11-year-olds regularly attend primary Schools, and only 35.6 percent of the children ages 36-59 months receive Early Childhood Education- Unicef, Nigeria. In the north of the country, the picture is even blurred, with attendance that is not encouraging.
The safety of a school, no matter what level, is crucial in instruction, just as the safety of human and material resources is. Security is an important aspect that makes a school child friendly, hence the need to take it seriously. But the reverse is the case in Nigeria. There is a record that Nigeria endorsed the International Safe Schools declaration in March 2015, which was subsequently ratified by Muhammadu Buhari- President and Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in 2019. There is an obligation to ensure policies and programs to respond to Schools security and fight impunities for such attacks. It's surprising that we have such a policy of great accord, but we've failed to make it work and come to pass because of negligence, ignorance, and laxity to such extend that terrorist activities have taken a new form to school abductions, from bomb suicides which are partly in occurrence.
I was struck to watch a news broadcast released by France24, an international News Station with headquarters in Paris, France, from their news bulletin on 12th March 2021, showing pictures from the scene of the abduction of female students, including some school personnel carried out in a Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation in Mando, Kaduna, Nigeria, before this in the evening of 11th December 2020, 300 students were kidnapped from a boys' secondary boarding school on the outskirts of Kankara, Katsina State, by a gang of gunmen on motorcycles, which the government claims to have been released.
Also, on 17th February 2021, a school child was killed with 27 others abducted by armed men at 3a.m from their school in Kagara, Niger State. Just nine days after the incident in Niger State, another on the 26th February 2021, where 279 female students aged between the ages 10 and 17 were kidnapped in Government Science Secondary boarding School in Jangebe, Zamfara State, who were claimed to be released on 2nd March 2021. We have the historic 276 Chinook girls abducted in 2014, by the Boko Haram insurgents, from a Government Girls College in Chinook, Borno state, and also the school girls abducted in Dapchi, Borno State. Suppose these tragic events fill the air and make headline news; how.do we expect our education sector to flourish?
Notwithstanding, the government needs to focus its attention on primary and secondary schools on the lookout for the evil of sexual assault and bullying by both teachers and students because it appears that the evil is eating this sector very quickly and silently despite the fact that the indicators of the evil in this sector are evident not until it becomes an epidemic. If our government remains sincere, then we will toe in the right direction if government savings from subsidy proceeds are channeled to rehabilitate the state of education in the country.
The government is still lagging in protecting the young and vulnerable youths since 12 states of the federation have failed to enact the child rights act of 31st July 2003, as amended in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ascended and signed into law by the former president Olusegun Obasanjo. We have to stop the habit of hiding evils like this behind the curtains of religion. Fighting the evil of sexual assault is a collective effort it we do not put our hands on deck because this evil is eating up the moral side of the education system.
Employers, whether Government or Private Managers, should do away with teacher disregard, avoid selfishness, and adopt fairness. Employers should understand that the worst teacher imparts in the life of his student must have inspired at least one child in his class and so should be guided to be the best; by so doing, the teacher will pledge loyalty to the school that made him and give out his best promisingly. Management should understand that the least of teachers have the potentials hidden to make the school the envy of its competitors. Management should give room for suggestions from teachers because no one in an educational environment is an island of knowledge, a suggestion box or other means should be provided for this. Sectional heads should put their legs into the shoes of teachers to know where it aches by practically demonstrating teaching in some classes, especially the ones where there are challenges; by so doing, the head will know why the problem at hand exists, and work with the teacher to solve the problem. Wise schools do not sack or lay off recklessly but rather make the best brains themselves, in other words investing in their staff. Management should also desist from overworking its staff to get results.
Good management promotes word of mouth and a good name to the organization, but when management is harsh and unfair, bad-mouthing scares away parents and potential teachers the organization dreams of employing, bad-mouthing can be perpetrated by aggrieved teachers, disappointed parents who feel the sack of a student has affected their child's performance in the class.
Since parents cannot be ruled out of these efforts to salvage the falling standard of education in Nigeria, awareness and Dialogue forums should be designed to create a cordial relationship with teachers; this makes teachers feel loved, motivated and appreciated. They put the welfare of every child as a major concern, and students connect with the teacher's psych to thrive in the classroom. Parents should stop channeling complaints to the management before meeting the class teacher; since the issue of concern stems from the class, it should first be tackled in the class, and when it fails, then the management can be involved. Parents must shun the evil of tempting teachers to go against the ethics of the profession for the benefits they enjoy.
We should have it at the back of our minds that what affects the teacher affects the student who is at the receiving end. Education revolves around teachers, parents, students, and the school. Failure of one party to thrive affects the other. Both parties need to treat each other with fairness and love.
Sound policies for effective supervision, not supervision geared to witch-hunt staff of the education sector, should also be taken seriously; even though it is in place, it is not very effective. This is so that erring teachers are cautioned and encouraged to improve. And also to ensure that facilities are always in good shape and condition.
One cankerworm to watch out for is the issue of immorality, bribery, and corruption, which is not just eating the education sector but every sector in the country. The government needs to ensure the laid down policies designed to check this evil are functioning appropriately. If proven that 'education is the only weapon we can use to change the world' as Nelson Mandela said. If we don't come together to use this weapon that has no value of wear and tear judiciously, posterity will ask us as we make our footprints visible in the sands of time.
Theophilus Philemon Amana
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