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Author Name: Suleiman Nasiru
Number of articles: 76
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Save our Education Now!
Author: Suleiman Nasiru | November 06, 2009

Education is an agent of change that seeks to overhaul the entire thinking of man and make him to benefit from the society and the society to equally benefit from him. For any meaningful development to take place in any society the people of such society must acquire the needed education to facilitate such development they are yearning for. The unprecedented progress in the world today cannot be divorced from education. The major inventions in the world today are as a result of education those responsible for these inventions had acquired. And for any nation to move forward and attain the Millennium Development Goals that is so much talked about, such a nation education sector must be very sound and directed towards meeting the needs of the society. In fact one of the parameters for measuring economic growth and development is the standard of the education in such a society or nation. Most developing economies in the world today that have attain the status of developed economy in the world pay serious attention to education, adequate fund is directed to the sector, conducive environment is created, the teachers are better motivated and good education polices are made and are implemented through a better strategy that ensure the attainment of positive result, examples of such countries are Japan, China, India and a host of others. These countries understand the importance and relevance of education towards developing their countries and accepted the western education and ensure that they passed it to their people unadulterated and today they are getting the benefits of education. For instance India is among the world leading producers of Information Technology (IT) materials like micro chips, Japan among the leading countries in the production of electronics and automobiles, this apparently shows how effective their education is. The education systems in these countries focus on the need of the society, and not just to turn out graduates in large numbers that cannot solve a minor problem. Despite the important and strategic position education is to nation building and the power of education to reform and transform the entire nation, the sector suffers neglect and is relegated to the background by those in authority in Nigeria. Even in the budget, education is not a front liner, teachers are not better paid in both private and public employment, adequate attention is not given to infrastructure development in our institutions the students are not motivated, no incentive and the policies are not properly made, the curriculum are not tailored towards solving the societal problems, lack of research and development because of insufficient funds and lackadaisical attitudes of major stakeholders in the sector. This is evident by a number of graduates we turn out who are not employable, recently Brig. Gen. Maharazu Ismaila Tsiga, new Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) says Nigerian turns out about 500,000 graduates yearly and yet no positive impact is felt, rather the country still remains stagnant if not retrogressing. Examination malpractice has taken over the entire system and nobody cares because the larger percentage of our students benefited from this evil even top government functionaries, religious leaders, professionals, teachers and lecturers are all perpetrating this crime that has destroyed the education system in the country. People have been talking, a lot of critical voices that have risen against this evil are seem as enemies by the major actors in the business of examination fraud, the examination bodies also are not exempted in the promotion of this crime. Majority of our students are not sitting for their school certificates examination, most of them are being âhelpedâ I mean a number of them cheated to pass this exams, both NECO and WAEC have being compromising, may be this year they decided to be a little bit strict resulting to the mass failure which has drawn the attention of government and other stakeholders in the sector. For instance over 84 percent of the students who put in for these exams failed both NECO and WAEC and the Federal Government are calling for investigation into the cause of the mass failure. Some school heads may be punished to avert a re-occurrence of the âwoefulâ performance. The report continues by saying most secondary school leavers failed the May-June examinations conducted by the West Africa Examinations Council (WAEC), the National Examinations Council (NECO) and the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE). Of the candidates who sat for this yearâs May/June Senior Secondary Examinations, 84% failed. According to WAEC, only 356, 981 or 25.99 per cent of the 1,373,009 candidates (755,955 males and 617,054 females) got five credit passes and above in English, Mathematics and at least three other subjects. Of those who passed, 116,729 are Science-oriented; 33,024 in Social Science class, and 100,632 in the Arts. Of the 1,200,765 candidates who registered for the NECO examinations, only 126,500 or 10.7% secured five credits, including English and Mathematics. Also, 289,966 candidates or 24.5% came out with five credits without English and Mathematics. The Presidency, shocked by the dismal performance, ordered a probe. With the above revelation about the state of our education in the country, you will all agree with me that something drastic must be done to safe the country from the looming doom that befall the future of this country. The report also says that the first family is a family of teachers. President Umaru YarâAdua is uncomfortable with the results and he has asked the Ministers of Education to investigate the poor performance. The Minister of State for Education, Hajiya Aishat Dukku, is coordinating the investigation into the mass failure. Dukku has been in the education sector for more than two decades. And the panel is made up of representatives from the examinations bodies and other stakeholders. The panel has been meeting, evaluating data and factors in the last few weeks. The assignment is being treated with urgency. âThe essence of the probe is to identify what went wrong and how to rectify the problems. The government believes that we cannot continue like this.âAfter the results have been known, the President will rub minds with state governors on the recommendations and the way forward.â The panel have called all the examinations bodies and have sat down also a committee have been set up to look into the poor performance in Secondary School Leaving Certificate Examinations in WAEC, NECO and NABTEB and this investigation have been concluded and a report has been submitted by the panel, but not yet studied and reviewed. And the government has taken a stand that whosoever is responsible for this mass failure, whether it is the head of department, a teacher or a chief executive will face the law because the government cannot be spending huge amount of money on our schools and yet the outcome is nothing. The government said in the report that they believe strongly that there must be value for our investment in education; there must be value for money. If we are to be among the worldâs largest economies by the year 2020, education should be the driving force. The drivers cannot be those that are performing poorly in their examinations. The drivers cannot be half-baked; they have to be well-equipped and it is only through education that they can be. So, we are ready to face this failure squarely and find solutions to the causes.â Now that the government have seen for themselves the situation facing our educational sector and had promise to do something drastic to curb future occurrence, the prayers of some stakeholders is that the right steps should be taken, whatever efforts is going to be put should be directed towards the right direction, and funds should not be expended on programmes that will not solve the problem in totality. Among the major stakeholders that lend their voice to this eminent danger which faces the nation education is the New Nigerian in one of her recent editorials. They say, be that as it may, the WAEC/NECO latest results signaled serious danger ahead for the future of the country, as secondary school leaving examinations are key in the production of manpower and the gateway for entrants into the universities and other tertiary institutions. The nation must therefore not toy with its future by producing half-baked or out rightly poor middle and high level manpower via equally poor educational institutions given its developmental challenges at this point. With the Presidentâs seven-point agenda and his administrationâs oft-repeated resolve to place the country among the 20 best economies by 2020, only the very best brains deployed into the various key sectors to implement policies and programmes will do. As it were, we are had to fully harness this crop of already fully educated persons and produce others with the present state of affairs in the country, particularly in the education and economic sectors. While therefore going back to the drawing board to come to terms with the import of the poor showing of our children in the WAEC/NECO examinations, the opportunity also presents itself for us to be more seriously tackle the fundamental problems of the entire education sector. The federal and state governments holistically and critically re-examine their commitments to qualitative education from all perspectives with a view to restoring the standards and save the nation from further slide and embarrassment. We must aim at meeting the UNESCO requirement of 26 per cent of the national and state budget being devoted to the sector, while also ensuring that only duly qualified teachers are engaged to teach our wards and children. Facilities such as fully-equipped laboratories, quality instructional materials and other teaching aids must be provided without compromise. Our teachers should be motivated to bring out their best. NASIRU is of No 1b Rimi Road off Rimi Drive, Ungwan Rimi Kaduna. Phone number 07030476699

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