In Search of Viable Education – By Arnold A. AlaliboArnold Alalibo, Articles, Columnists, Education, NNP Columnists Monday, July 25th, 2016
By Arnold A. Alalibo | NPP | July 25, 2016 – Kevin Rudd says, “Education is both a tool of social justice as well as a fundamental driver of economic development.” There is no gainsaying that education is vital to the sustenance of culture and democratic principles. It defines the individual and determines his worth. This is the reason qualitative education has become a “sine qua non” in a burgeoning global economic competitive system.
Ever year, Nigerian teachers join their colleagues worldwide to celebrate World Teachers Day. The stories that always emanate from the teachers are tales of woes, indicating all is not well with the education sector in the country.
The story has always been the inadequate remuneration of teachers, poor education infrastructure and sometimes the dearth of teachers in schools. Inadequate funding of education has always been a recurring problem which also affects tertiary education in the country. Again, there exists the twin problem of poor school enrolment and the high rate of school dropouts. Education is the basic right of the child. This fact is acclaimed worldwide. In Nigeria, the Universal Basic Education, UBE, programme advocates basic education for all Nigerian children of school age. And the constitution requires that primary education be free and compulsory. Why then does government find it difficult to fulfill these obligations?
I think a more fundamental problem in our education sector is our inability to make the children understand the need to learn as well as create the appropriate environment for learning to take place. A corresponding problem is the sterility of our curriculum.
Equally critical is the fast mutating pace of our value system. The emphasis on wealth accumulation has trumped the core value of education. Unfortunately, our children are taught to value wealth amassment than the acquisition of knowledge and problem-solving skill. The wrong value system entrenched in our education already takes its toll on us. A strong knowledge base which ought to propel the economy is lacking, and this has driven us into a long circle of poverty. Additionally, our youths are pre-occupied with an elusive chase for wealth which has prompted them to engage in unbecoming acts.
I find it difficult to understanding why it is hard for government in all tiers to fund education adequately, and spare us the endless tales of woes in the sector. Since we have the capacity to build a strong education that can be the envy of the world, why are we relenting? This confirms our ignorance of the link between education and economic development. Our attitude coupled with government’s unsustainable education policy has culminated in the current shambles witnessed in the sector. The staggering result is that education is decaying, without any substantive intervention by our policy-makers who should have been honest enough to take proactive measures.
President Muhammadu Buhari should take up this daunting challenge. I think the first problem his administration ought to look at is education, not power. The long years of anomaly and neglect must be addressed. One way to begin this is to emphasise teachers discipline, training and adequate remuneration.
Our education system should also have more local control of primary and secondary education with strict parameters of accountability by the state and federal governments. Each local council, state and the federal government must come up with practical solutions to education problems in their respective locations.
I believe the decay in the education sector could be remedied if consistent and sustainable corrective measures are taken with long term planning and monitoring. Since the problem has reached a critical stage, governments at various levels should deal with it aggressively.
I agree with Euza Look who says; “Better build classrooms for the boy, than cells and gibbets for the man.”
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