No nation in the world that want to progress will take for granted the education of their country. Nobody can denied the fact that education is the bedrock of any developed nation, as no any development can take place in a country where the education system of such country is not a viable one. The recent technological advancement in the world today is attributed to the breakthrough experienced in the field of education. So, any country yearning for any meaningful progress must accord education a special place in the scheme of its business.
Education as they say is an agent of change which transform those who pursue it. It is a known fact that no transformation can take place without a good and standardized educational programmes in place. For years now, those in authority have been singing the chorus of transforming Nigeria, they have come up with various programmes and policies to ensure they achieve their developmental programme, but all yielded little or no results. The present administration came up with a new song call transformation agenda and the president said education sector is a key sector for the attainment of his transformation agenda, which is very true, if the right thing is done, I believe if the right kind of education is given to Nigerian populace, we will be on our way to the transformation of our country.
But the reality on ground is that the sector that suffer most neglect in Nigeria is the education sector, over the years there have been cry from various angles that the sector is underfunded, the basic infrastructure needed to facilitate teaching/learning process is lacking in virtually all the states of the federation, poor quality of teachers is also a major source of concerned, the menace of unqualified personnel being employed as teachers have seriously affect educational development negatively.
In almost all the states of the federation we are faced with this problem, where political thugs are employed as teachers to compensate them for helping some of these politicians to snatch ballot box and rigged election, uncivilized attitude of teachers, particularly male teachers who are fond of raping their female students, most at times minor, corruption on the part of school administrators , ministry heads, not to talk of the menace of cultism in most of our higher institution and the open prostitution in most campuses, indecent dressing among females students and the activities of some of these naughty professors, who are ready to give first class degree to anything they go down her skirt and any man who have too much money to throw around.
Students hustling to compromised some of these â€˜decentâ€™ but can fall to the temptation of money lecturers, are we to talk of the wrong curriculum and the evil going on in most private schools, who is even talking of the â€˜normalâ€™ business of examination malpractice, which is the main reason why many private school owners are in business today, schools were opened mainly to run this illicit business and the government officials in the ministry and other public examination bodies have been compromised, they have become partners in this crime, reason they became blind, deaf and dump while the system is been bastardize .
The only time our media will be awash with educational matter is when WAEC, NECO or JAMB releases results of examination, then you will hear analysis, statistics, breakdown, you will know the region who is educationally advantaged even if graduates from such states can hardly speak or write good English or they will tell you that one region need to be favoured, considered because they are disadvantaged educationally, everywhere you go during this period is educational matter that will take the front burner in place of football matters which was their regular feature, not even serious educational matter, but result matter.
The other time we were told that in a particular state that only 17 candidates that sat for WAEC passed the exams, we were still trying to cope with the shock of such devastating result another heartbreaking result was release by NECO where most students who sat for the examination perform poorly, we were also told that out of over 1.5 million candidates that sat for JAMB examination, is only 3 candidates that score above 300 what a shame. Yes shame I tell you truth, believe me or not if 50 Nigerians sat for debate about Manchester United and Barcelona playersâ€™ sign on fees, jersey number and other statistics, I bet you boys of lesser age of those who sat for this JAMB examination will do far more better than this abysmal outing in JAMB, if it is Facebook or 2go, Naijapals, myspace, hi5, google+, twitter and many other social network I bet you Nigerians will do far more better than they do with educational matter.
Are you surprise our students are performing very poor in writing good English language and speak excellently well? It is the result of communications on this social network, the method of writing here affects negatively their writing ability, on Blackberry, they use short code and modern-lingua short code like BRB, OMG for Be right Back, Oh my God and many other things they have provided short code for and that is what is affecting their writing even in examinations.
We only talk of the failure, but cannot proffer solution to the problems, I have been listening and following the media reports of education, most especially when these results are released, I have been following government responses and sometimes I have to cry and laugh at the same time. In 2009 when the result was released and it was very poor, a committee was set up by the then minister of education to look into the causes and proffer possible solution to the problem, the committee was given a time frame less than two months or there about to proffer solution to the problem, I remember one of their suggestion and verdict was to sack any principal whose students did not do well in the next examination.
Does sacking principal amount to solution to the fundamental problem facing our education? It is a fundamental problem, the value system of Nigerians have fallen, nobody value hard work, everyone want it cheap, we always want the short-cut, we major in the minor and minor in the major, we are so serious with football followership and forget education, our students are so depended on the common practice in town of copying examination on blackboard, or white board, since the board are no longer black, so we donâ€™t want to get down and do the hard work to get the right result, but depend solely on cheating and doing it the wrong way. How are we even sure the 17 students who pass this exams sat for the exams themselves?
The fact that we are faced with security challenges is not enough reason for us to abandon very important sectors in the country, nothing is moving at all, all attention has been shifted to the menace of the insurgent group Boko Haram, and nobody is even concern with the future of the country, while corrupt officials are busy with their loots and things are left to rot away in the educational sector, for instance in Kaduna state alone close to a thousand teachers have been sacked already for many reasons, some were said to be employed through the back door, while many of them did not possess the needed paper qualification. Many have alleged personal vendetta, that they were been witch-hunt for so many reasons.
No matter what the reason may be, the authority said is for the good of the system, but the only source of worried is the fact that in a state where we are complaining of inadequate teachers to cater for the teaching need of the school children population, and over a thousand teachers were sacked without replacement, though the authority said they are putting a plan in place to with minimum delay employ replacement of these sacked â€˜quack teachersâ€™ and that we are praying the same sacked â€˜quack teachers' will not find their way back and many of the sacked teachers complain that some that are worse than they were are still left in the business of teaching in the state.
And even from the feelers reaching us that many illicit practices is going on right now, that some officials are charging money from those who bought the TSB form at the rate of 1000 naira, and money to the tune of 60,000 to 70,000 naira are been charge to secure employment in to the teaching profession in Kaduna state. We have all gone astray, we need to come to our senses and talk to ourselves, we are heading to destruction and until we tell ourselves the bitter truth and find solution to our problems together, we will all perish.
Enough of this emphasizes on paper qualification, stop gratification taking, reward excellence and encourage students to study hard, but what we see today is parents shopping for the best miracle centres for their children to sit and pass exams, this must stop and stop now, stop asking for brown envelop to do your duty, tribalism and religious sentiment must stop, nepotism must be done away with, bribery and corruption that has become our tradition and culture must be sacrificed on the altar of progress and development, we must all do the right thing, government must be sincere in their dealings, the leadership must garner the needed political will to transform Nigeria, if not, all these choruses and jingles in the media will not do the magic.
The recent launch of the Almajiri modern school in Sokoto is commendable, but that is not the issue, politics should be taken out of educational issue, education is about nation building, building the capacity of the nation, equipping the manpower needed to run the country, so that we can get to our desired destination, we are not supposed to be here now, we know where we supposed to be, we know where we belong now, why must we be struggling to catch up with South Africa of yesterday?
Why must we be playing the game of deport me I deport you with any country in Africa and even in the world, poor planning, lack of proper management and insincerity of government officials over the years is responsible for this mess, you and I know we are not there already, lets us gear up and start moving, but the leadership must show us the way, lead by example and that they are not doing right now, and I donâ€™t think they are ready to do, because they are carried away by political ambition, but can you have a nation without the necessary manpower needed to move the nation forward?
Forget the politics of 2015, regional politics and faced the fact that the nation need urgent attention and must be responded too now or we will all perished!
Nasiru Suleiman is a public affairs commentators, resides in Kaduna and can also be reach on 07030476699
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