The Future Of Nigerian Education Is Bleak Unless The Government And All Stakeholders Take Action

Some leading academics, entrepreneurs and politicians, yesterday, dissected the Nigerian education sector and came away with a heart-rending view: the future of education in the country is bleak unless the government and all stakeholders do the needful to halt the spiralling decay.

 

 

From left: Chief Yemi Ogunbiyi, Chairman, Tanus Communications Limited and Tanus Book Limited; Mr. Sam Amuka, Chairman of the occassion/Publisher, Vanguard Newspaper; Prof Ayo Banjo, Professor Emeritus/Guest Lecturer; Chief Audu Ogbe and Dr. Doyin Abiola at the event.

 

Indeed, from the lips of emeritus professor and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Ayo Banjo; Publisher of Vanguard newspapers, Mr Sam Amuka; Second Republic Communications Minister and a chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Chief Audu Ogbeh and Chairman of Tanus Communications and former Managing Director of Daily Times, Dr Yemi Ogunbiyi, it was lamentations galore as they decried the sorry state of the education sector in the world’s largest black nation.

 

They spoke in Lagos at a lecture: “The Future of Nigerian Education” to mark the 20th anniversary of Tanus Communications and public presentation of 110 primary, junior secondary and senior secondary school textbooks and classic series published by the company.

 

Notable personalities at the agenda setting event included former Governor of Ogun State, Aremo Segun Osoba; former Governor of Cross River State, Mr Donald Duke; Dr Doyin Abiola; Professor Oye Ibidapo-Obe; Mr Tunji Bello; Olorogun Sunny Kuku; John Edozien and Professor Stephen Uche.

 

Why newspapers are error-prone — Amuka

Amuka, who chaired the occasion, opened the floodgates of lamentations. He said: “There is no doubt at all that education has degenerated but considering my observation as an old man, it has gotten to a stage that I can say that those things that happened in the past were better than what we are experiencing today though there are few exceptional cases like communication, which has improved over the years.

 

“But for education, it is sad that there are many habits, which we now observe which did not happen in the past and I am talking about two, three generations behind. Cheating during exams were not there when I was in school but it is now the norm. The universities have no more confidence in the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and, therefore, they insist on conducting their own exams.

“Let me relate another personal experience.  I am an employer of labour and I enjoin you to go through any newspaper in the country, where you will find out that all the workers are graduates yet  you will not find any of the newspapers free of grammatical errors, which are quite embarrassing.
“And I would say to you, don’t blame the newspapers, blame the institutions. We also have a situation whereby people do not read and if publishers depend on sale of books, they will die of hunger. The lecture is a very important topic because we all have something to learn and take away from the occasion.”

 

Disregard for intellectual property bane of good governance — Ogbeh
On his part, Ogbeh, who unveiled the 110 books published by Tanus, said scant regard for education was partly responsible for failing governance in the country. According to him, political parties, instead of serving as avenues for sharing of ideas by intellectuals, have become bazaars for sharing of money to the detriment of the polity.

The former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national chairman decried the removal of History from our school curriculum and urged its immediate restoration because “we cannot survive as a country without our children knowing the history of the country, our past leaders and heros.”
His words: “One of the reasons governance is faring badly is because we have very little regard for intellectual property. Political party is a bazaar for sharing instead of a gathering of intellectuals to share ideas.

“I congratulate Tanus for coming with a stream of books that will improve education in the country. We must restore the teaching of History as quickly as possible”.

 

How we started derailing — Banjo

Delivering the lecture, Prof. Banjo, who, in a 20-page treatise, traced the history of Western education in Nigeria to the middle of the 19th century, lamented that the standard of education had fallen so low that urgent and emergency actions were needed.

He noted that products of the primary education system of the early 20th century in the country spoke and wrote better English than their offsprings of today, a point he argued is reflected in every other department of learning. He enumerated the factors, which boosted education in those days and those responsible for the prevailing decay.

The factors include: schools were supported by a network of well-trained teachers, who enjoyed higher status in society than their modern equivalents; Grade II teacher training colleges have now been phased out; fresh graduates doing their youth service, most of whom do not have teaching experience, are used as backbone of the teaching force in secondary schools; schools no longer have inspectorate divisions, which supervised and kept teachers on their toes; funding is inadequate and remuneration of teachers is poor.

He said: “The co-existence of lack of proper training and absence of supervision is a recipe for the parlous situation in which the system finds itself today. The situation is that teaching has acquired a poor image and very few people now choose to be teachers.  I am not aware that any teacher at the primary or secondary level in this country has ever won national honours.”

Banjo also x-rayed the decay at the secondary and tertiary sectors and called for urgent reforms. He decried the implementation of the 6-3-3-4 system, which has defeated its primary aim of comprehensive education.

At the tertiary level, he lamented that irregular calender had cut off Nigerian universities from the rest of the world, with the attendant low rating of the country’s tertiary institutions. He said it was sad that only three candidates scored above 300 marks in 2012 university matriculation examination.

To turn our education misfortunes around, Banjo said: “All we need to do is look at our own history, at how the early primary and secondary schools,though few, were carefully nurtured, and how the University of Ibadan once came to be one of the 10 best universities in the Commonwealth, and learn appropriate lessons.”

 

Credit
Clifford Ndujihe & Prisca Sam-Duru via .Vanguardngr.com

 

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