Do It Right Or Restart: The Tale Of Education In Nigeria, By Ganiu Bamgbose
The only place to begin is the beginning. Shortcuts cut lives short. When a person or a people do not work with a vision; life goes in disarray. Education is in a state of mess in Nigeria, not because there are no policies but because all concerned parties will not run by the dictates of the existing policies.
Now, have you observed that children of the common men who have only struggled to bag a degree in Nigeria and cannot afford a master’s programme return to tailors’, barbers’ and stylists’ shops after the NYSC programme?
We can safely say unemployment and unproductivity are the major reasons for this new phenomenon. Now to the important question: WHAT IS WRONG WITH EDUCATION IN NIGERIA? Policy implementation!
It is no doubt that Nigeria is a great country at the level of policy making. Our 6-3-3-4 educational policy which was restructured as 9-3-4 is one that can engender development in any country.
The policy simply says that at the end of the first three years in secondary school, a test and good counselling which will reveal students’ ability should help determine who proceeds to the senior secondary school and who proceeds to the vocational/technical school. At the advent of the 6-3-3-4 system, a number of vocational and technical schools were founded in each state of the country for those who will function better in the psychomotor domain (i.e., using their skills).
Nigerians must realise that it is not all children that are wired for school or formal education. What all children need is the basic education which ends in basic 9 or jss 3.
The following questions are now pertinent:
Are there still counsellors in secondary schools who help children determine if they are better off in the cognitive domain (working with their head) or in the psychomotor domain (working with their hands)?
Will Nigerian parents accept that their children will be better off in the psychomotor world and let them proceed to acquire handiworks after JSS3?
What is the government doing to make other forms of education aside formal schooling attractive to young people and their parents?
Are our technical/vocational schools still in good states?
The ‘NO’ response to all of these questions is the reason behind unemployment and unproductivity. A child that is wired to function technically or vocationally will make nothing out of studying any university course. S/he will graduate and be unable to get a job or be unable to do it well.
It doesn’t end there. Polytechnics which also are for people with technical knowledge have also been societally reduced to institutions for people who are unable to get into universities owing to poor policies and bad implementations. So those beautiful ladies and handsome guys who should have become independent people if they had been well counselled after JSS3 are now returning to tailors’ shops and barbers’ shops for what they are originally cut out for.
Would you ask me the way forward? Just three things:
1. Young people should pay attention to what they love doing and let it guide their life pursuit.
2. Parents should pay attention to their children’s potentials and encourage them to work with such special gifts.
3. Government should implement our educational policies and let other forms of education aside schooling look attractive too.
God bless Nigeria!
(2017) Ganiu Abisoye Bamgbose (GAB)