I must start this piece by commending our teachers and other workers in the education field. I must praise them for their tenacity, sacrifice and forbearance!
It is not easy to teach without salary for months on end! Indeed delayed salary and no salary is the norm in most states. This is in addition to very low wages that are often less than what is paid to cleaners, janitors and security men.
Yet, these gallant men and women are the true producers of our collective tomorrow! Many forget that the child of today, is the adult of the future. A poorly trained child, a poorly equipped learner, an improperly motivated child will grow into the voter and office holder
and leader of tomorrow. Dear reader, take a little time to let that sink in! What kind of leader will ignorant people make? What kind of country will Nigeria be in the future if we continue to turnout graduates and others who know next to nothing because our educational
system has failed them?
Many people, leaders and followers alike tend to forget that the world works on the cycle of sowing and reaping! Therefore the poor education
that is sowed today will be reaped as a future of ignorance and disorder for all!
For years, politicians and office holders have badgered education!
They have under invested in the future, they have treated teachers as some kind of second class citizens of no worth. They have neither invested in their training nor have they made their terms of service
attractive. Yet, these demoralised group, these unpaid and poorly paid
people are expected to produce those who will lead our nation into a renaissance? How possible is that?
Education is the centerpiece of everything, it is the main driver of development! Why are we lagging behind in manufacturing? Why are we
lagging behind in heavy construction? Why are we lagging behind in innovation, in leadership? The answer is simple, because we are
lagging behind in education!
State governments have long filled the classrooms with people who themselves need to first learn the alphabet. Local governments who have the constitution allocated role of running the primary schools
have simply treated the primary schools with disdain and disrespect.
They employ and deploy to teach people who have themselves never been
to school! Many forget that it is the primary schools that feed the secondary and the tertiary levels of education. With the foundation so faulty, what can be expected of the next higher levels?
As a nation, we have consistently missed opportunities to grow. UNESCO
advises a minimum of 25% of budget for education. We budget around 6% on average. And even much of that is lost to misapplication and mismanagement!
I have been on the governing council of three universities, I am a keen observer and watcher of education and I can say that what I have seen is not pretty. I have seen a federal university budget N1.5million for research for the entire university while the VC’s
Office spends 10 times that for local travels!
I have seen schools where teachers aid students to cheat in national exams. I have asked my lecturer friends to proffer a solution to the crises in higher education and they tell me there can be non unless the feeder points are overhauled. For those who don’t know, the education system works like a factory conveyor belt! The pupils get on
at the primary level and the conveyor takes them on to the secondary and then the tertiary!
The higher levels are not equipped to deal with the defects of the lower levels, so, garbage in garbage out!
Juxtapose this with the facts coming out of Kaduna State where teachers failed the very rests that they are supposed to administer to pupils. Recall the Edo case where a teacher could neither read nor write! And they are expected to teach, teach exactly what if I may ask?
This column therefore supports the education reforms that are going on in Kaduna State, but that is not enough. The federal government itself must declare a nationwide Crisis in Education. We cannot continue to pay lip service to the future! We cannot afford to continue with the current farce in education whilst other nations are reforming and
The greatest capital in the knowledge economy is knowledge itself and
can we really say that the school system we run in our country today
Teaching is a vocation, education should be a passion, but the workers in that sector must be better paid, better motivated if we really mean
to have a future in the modern world where it is clear that only the educated nations will survive and thrive!
Therefore, I call on the leaders to recognise the rot in the education sector. It is too deep to be papered over with palliatives. No house
can stand a storm if the foundation is weak. For any structure to stand the test of time its foundation must be strong. A bad wall will
fall on you unless rebuilt. So it is with the current schools system in place.
It requires a tearing down and then a building up if we will prepare the nation for the challenges of the future! The sorry sight of school
buildings without roof and lecture halls without chairs are
symptomatic of how bad the sector is! The atrocious teacher to student ratio is another indicator that tells the story of national underinvestment in education. I have seen universities where one
lecturer handles a course with 500 students! How can functional learning be said to occur in such an education unfriendly environment?
Hon Adamu Adamu, please take note that without changing the
educational system, the change mantra of this government will never bear fruit. Sir, the ball is in your court!
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