The Ideal System of Education for Nigeria.
Education simply means every activity geared towards the acquisition of knowledge and skills through the process of teaching and learning. Unfortunately, the educational sector in Nigeria has for long played a significant role towards the underdevelopment of the country. This ugly trend can be attributed to many factors the chief among them being the mistake of putting round pegs in square wholes in terms of the curriculum being adopted per time. Inasmuch as the the world today has become a global village, and this plays out virtually in every facet of societal endeavour (meaning that a country can today solve its particular problem by borrowing a leaf from the solutions being applied by another country that once faced a similar challenge), the fact still remains that every country is peculiar, hence the solutions to a country's problems can basically be derived from the practical realities in manifestation at the country's local scene.
Prior to the advent of colonialism in Nigeria, a system of transfer of knowledge and skills from one person to another was in place. For instance, fathers trained their male children on farming, fishing, hunting, etc. While the young female folks were trained by their mothers on skills like cooking, general house chores, petty trading, etc. Although the foregoing took place under an informal atmosphere, but it did achieve the cardinal purpose of education based on the demands of the society then, which is to make an individual to become functional and useful to the society. However this system suffered a great distortion in the wake of colonialism. The invasion of the Nigerian territory by the imperialists in 1861 has brought us to where we are today precisely on our educational sector.
Today in our educational sector, we have a situation whereby all rivers are flowing to the same ocean, more of depicting a rate race in which everybody struggles to do a particular thing at the same time. If this were not the case, how then do we explain a situation where a child spends a total of twelve years in the primary and post-primary schools just for the purpose of getting him prepared to go the almighty university or any other tertiary institution for that matter? Given our population explosion, the ways to these institutions keep becoming narrower everyday thus effecting more perforation on the ozone layer of our educational system. What really stops a secondary school graduate in Nigeria from becoming functional and useful to the society? Can we safely justify the level of priority being placed on university education today, with a proportioal panacea to the challenges (unemployment) facing us as a nation? The bitter truth is that most Nigerian graduates are neither employable nor do they possess what it takes to become job creators not because they lack adequate knowledge of what they studied in the tertiary institutions, but because right from their primary school days a wrong notion was entrenched in them to the effect that book knowledge is the pinnacle of achievement in education. What then is the way forward?
In my opinion, a simplistic approach should be adopted towards resolving this problem. Firstly, more attention should be given to the teaching and learning of English Language (being the language of communication in our learning exercises) especially at the primary school level. This is because up to 99% of the subjects taught in our schools are taught in English Language. Personally, deepening my knowledge of English Language greatly helped me in having a firm grip of knowledge of other subjects I offered. If a child is able to acquire a sound knowledge of English Language from the primary school level, there is every tendency that he will have less difficulty in mastering other subjects since the latter are taught using the former. Similarly, given the current trend in ICT and technology in general, more efforts should be concentrated on simplifying the method of teaching and learning of Mathematics. As an educationist with both classroom and administrative experience, I have discovered that the phobia most children develop towards Mathematics (myself inclusive as a child) is mainly due to the approach being adopted by most Mathematics teachers in teaching the subject, no thanks to the unfriendly nature of some of these teachers coupled with this age long myth that Mathematics is a very difficult subject. There is need to make the teaching and learning of mathematics more attractive and interesting to the students precisely at the primary level, such that they will fall in love with the subject.
Further more, teaching and learning of 100% practical based subjects should be made compulsory in the primary and secondary levels of all schools. Both public and private primary and secondary schools ought to be grouped into different categories based on different skill acquisition. A child who attends a particular category of primary school known for the acquisition of tailoring skill for instance, should be mandated to proceed to a secondary school with a specialty in teaching tailoring for the purpose of advancing his skill in tailoring. This implies that each primary and secondary school should be made to become a citadel of skill acquisition in a particuar area in conjunction with the normal teaching and learning of other subjects.
In conclusion, if the above suggestions are implemented, it will give a child the requisite solid foundation in pursuit of his studies meritoriously to any level. Also, it will enable the secondary school graduates to express themselves properly both in speech, in writing and in logical reasoning.
Secondly, it will go a long way in helping to equip a child to function best based on his peculiarity which is against the current situation where every child is evaluated basically based on book knowledge alone. More so, the ugly trend of unemployment will be reduced to the bearest minimum as secondary school leavers will be practically equiped to become useful and functional to the larger society based on their individual areas of skills. This will in turn reduce the crime rate in our society, as well as minimize the undue scramble for university education which has left an abysmal academic standard on its trail in our ivory towers.
Thank you for reading this article. Your opinions on how best to improve the Nigerian eductional sector are highly welcomed.
NB: All the images used in this article are gotten from google.