Restoring excellence in the Nigerian educational system, By Ifere Ruhamah

Posted by News Express | 13 August 2019 | 779 times

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•Ifere Ruhamah

Education has been seen as a great tool in the improvement of a nation. Nelson Mandela describes it as the most powerful weapon with which you can use to change the world. This means that, it should be recognised as an effective tool that should be embraced by everyone.

August 12 is the day designated by the United Nations as the International Youth Day. The theme for this year is ‘Transforming Education’.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are 17 in number, were propounded by the United Nations to contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. The Goal Number 4, Quality Education, defines quality education to mean “ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all.” Inclusive here means that everyone is fully represented irrespective of sex, ethnic group, disabilities, etc. The discrimination based on the aforementioned should be frowned at and not encouraged. The need of “persons with disabilities" should be catered for, taking into cognizance their rights to Quality Education.

By Equitable, the goal is that there should be availability of quality education and equal access to it without any form of restriction.

It is important to note that little progress has been made and large disparities still exist. In the rural areas, there has been proven reports of schools that lack the basic amenities and structures that will facilitate and promote a good learning environment. Surprisingly, gender inequality still exists as it is evident that the females are not fully represented in school enrollment but seen as commodities to be traded off to the “other room” and kitchen. The boys are not any better either. In some places, they are sent off as apprentices who are largely involved in trading, buying and selling in the market place. The situation in the urban is also deplorable.

The issues that plague the schools and universities range from exorbitant school fees to organised brain drain. Organised brain drain occurs where Principals/Teachers/Lecturers encourage the illicit rendering of assistance to students in the exam halls in order to maintain the prestige of being the ‘Best’, passing off as competitors in the market and producing graduates who are supposedly educated yet not enlightened. All these maladies have further served to deform the educational system making us wonder if education does really matter.

In spite of all this, education still remains one of the most powerful and proven vehicles for sustainable development. Education is central to the achievement of other Sustainable Development Goals.

Truth be told, the Nigerian educational system is a far cry from the epitome of excellence or what it ought to be. However, there still exists a way to transform the education sector and restoring the excellence. This will require the concerted efforts of the government, educators, youths and parents.

Firstly, there should be employment of qualified teachers with the right certificates and passion for teaching. The employment of not-so-qualified teachers who see teaching as a last resort due to the economic state of Nigeria should be discouraged.

Secondly, there should be availability of well equipped and updated school curriculum, libraries, laboratories and other school facilities.

Thirdly, the practice of gifts by parents to teachers should not be encouraged. For instance, parents offer gifts to teachers which in turn tend to influence them to award attractive marks to students that are not deserving. This is detrimental to the education system and should be frowned at.

Fourthly, there should be a policy that encourages the exchange of student scripts to different schools examiner for markings. This will help to eradicate the rot that has become prevalent in schools.

The last is the proper enforcement of the laws to regulate the conduct of examinations in schools and universities. The culprits involved in exam malpractices should be penalised and commensurate punishment meted out to them.

Instead of people being valiant in killings and destruction of lives, kidnappings and other social vices, they should channel their expertise in ensuring that people are educated, including themselves.

Ifere Ruhamah is a student of National Open University (NOUN).

Source: News Express

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