(By Chiedu Uche Okoye)
“It is an irrefutable fact that many teachers who were recruited into our public primary schools were not subjected to standard oral and written tests before their recruitment. It is improvident, injudicious and wicked for us to put our children in the care of academic dwarfs and moral midgets. Primary education is pivotal to children’s educational progress. Children or pupils build on the knowledge they acquired in primary schools as they go further in their academic pursuits.“
HAS our educational system not gone to the dogs? Who doesn’t know that many university graduates cannot write job application letters? It is that bad. So, the declaration of an emergency in our education sector is long overdue. But, sadly, our political leaders are behaving in a way that tends to suggest that they are not aware that functional educational system is critical to our national development.
There is a nexus between a functional educational system and national development. Only people with skills and knowledge can drive our developmental initiatives. A good educational system imbues those that pass through it with nationalistic fervor and a sense of patriotism. A patriotic person puts the interests of his nation first while serving his country. Educated and well behaved citizens can help in no small ways to accelerate their country’s national development.
So, we need to call the government’s attention to the issues troubling our educational system. There is no gain-saying the fact that our educational systems at different levels are dysfunctional. Are those that impart knowledge to our pupils in primary schools knowledgeable and morally upright? Many teachers in government-owned primary schools across the country are illiterate. These teachers secured their teaching employments either by offering bribes to the employers or through cronyism. The inability of a teacher in Edo State to read a court affidavit she had sworn illustrates graphically the rot in our educational system. The incident happened when Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State was inspecting schools in the state. It was widely reported in the media, then.
It is an irrefutable fact that many teachers who were recruited into our public primary schools were not subjected to standard oral and written tests before their recruitment. It is improvident, injudicious and wicked for us to put our children in the care of academic dwarfs and moral midgets. Primary education is pivotal to children’s educational progress. Children or pupils build on the knowledge they acquired in primary schools as they go further in their academic pursuits.
What obtains at the primary school level replicates itself at the post-primary school level. That is why parents, even seemingly educated ones, hire surrogate and mercenary students to write such examinations as SSSCE and NECO for their children. The students cannot pass these examinations by themselves as they’re not properly taught by their half-baked teachers.
Is this immoral act of aiding and abetting examination malpractice being perpetrated by parents for the benefits of their children not akin to socialising and initiating our young ones into a culture of corruption? Not surprising, the cancer of corruption has afflicted our body politic.
Our universities, which are microcosms of our society, are riddled with unconscionable corrupt deeds, too. Some unscrupulous lecturers trade grades for sexual gratification or money. And, those students who are not mentally and psychologically prepared for the riguors of university education join cult-groups and brow-beat their lecturers with their memberships of the cult-groups into awarding them high grades in their courses. The moral decadence that characterizes our tertiary institutions is a reflection of the moral malaise that has afflicted our country.
More so, researches are seldom carried out by university teachers now. They moonlight to earn more money, instead. Consequently, some lecturers dictate 20-year-old notes to their students. Yet, universities ought to be the bastion of learning and researches. Lecturers should be conducting or carrying out researches in their fields of specialisation. But, the reverse obtains in most schools. Can we achieve sustainable national development when our schools are in disarray?
Now, industrial action has become a component of our university school system. Lecturers do down tools on the grounds that the Federal Government has reneged on their agreements. Industrial action paralyses academic activities for which universities are set up.
No responsible government fails to meet its financial obligations to the universities, knowing that education is the cornerstone of national development. But, does the Federal Government’s budgetary allocation for education meet UNO’s stipulation? Are our universities adequately funded so as to ensure that they function optimally?
If our leaders want to make Nigeria one of the top 20 best economies in 2020, they should tackle the issues of our education holistically and sincerely. A functional educational system is the key to sustainable national growth.
• Chiedu Okoye, a poet, lives at Uruowulu Obosi, Anambra State.
“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”