Education reforms: The way forward

By Saliu Woru Mohammed

Right from my youthful days, two professional careers had always appealed to me and hoping to engage myself in either after my school days, they’re either becoming a practicing journalist or police officer.

I love to engage in journalism, because journalists are the conscience of the nation and friend of the weak and the oppressed, while the police officer is not only a peace maker, but law enforcement officer.

Police are constitutionally saddled with the responsibility of protection of lives and property apprehension of offenders and enforcement of law and order, there are many other constitutional duties expected to be discharged by the police.

It is a general belief, that if these constitutional duties of journalists and police are properly carried out, the reward is not only achievable here but even in heaven, therefore, I cherished these two important and noble professions so much and I worked ceaselessly to achieve my aim and dreams.

In preparation for the hectic challenges of the two noble professions, each time we were in the classroom, I did listen to our teachers and accorded all subjects the necessary attention.

I was not only present in the class, but I try to understand our teachers who always regard us as their sons and daughters.

They were always present in the class and also belonged to the generation of decent and fine breed of class teachers and were disciplinarians to the core.

We were not more than thirty in a class room and never a time did we disobey our teachers whom we

regarded as a source of pride and inspiration. Despite huge volume of works of the teachers in those good old days, their devotion and commitment towards making us better citizens and leaders of tomorrow was phenomenal.

The pupils or students wouldn’t dare to look at our teachers in the face talkless of having any illegal or inappropriate affairs with any of them.

Those were the good old days when the teachers were regarded as gods. It was a period when you can not enter into the teachers’ office without a good cause for doing so.

They were all good teachers, who devoted themselves to their duties and hardly have time for other things other than teaching, writing and imparting knowledge.

Our parents complement the government’s efforts in the provision of necessary learning materials and equipments.

The establishment of boarding schools by the government did not only provide the desired conducive atmosphere for learning but serves as a veritable means of monitoring the activities of the young and innocent pupils who are the leaders of tomorrow.

In our school days, pupils were encouraged to engage in debates, listening to radio for news and watch televisions for educative programmes.

The primary roles of journalists have been identified as education, dissemination of information and entertainment of the society, his sense of perception, ability to concentrate, good retentive memory, both visual and auditory and his sense of reasoning and judgment must all be at best in order to effectively control the ever increasing complexity of modern society.

However, in the modern society, journalists have more challenging roles; they are good investigators, nation builders and indeed peace makers.

Also, Journalism worldwide through investigative journalism, have at one time or the other, exposed crime syndicates, arrest and subsequent prosecution of those involved.

The desired publicity normally accorded to police activities and operations in cases of wanted persons, security hints, and other criminal incidence make the police force to perform creditably, and enhance a crime free society.

Experience has shown that several valuable articles have been recovered in the course of police investigation courtesy of wide and diligent publicity and cooperation of the pressmen.

Similarly, Nigerians are very proud of our journalists in the way and manner they have been handling various election petitions in various election tribunals across the country, by so doing journalists have independently proved to be the friend of the weak and the oppressed and indeed great national assets.

However, a rumour is ‘usually a story which is usually spread either through publication or talking. It is a story which doesn’t represent the correct fact of event, both criminal and civil laws frown at spreading rumours.

It is therefore imperative on all and sundry to refuse to be cynics or alarmist, as anything less can be retrogressive to the prevailing development of our national economy, peace and harmony in the land.

Back in the good old school days, many reasons have been said to be responsible for the present problems confronting our education sector in the country.

Some accused the school ,others blamed the government and the parents for abandoning their responsibilities, hence the fall in the education standard.

Some said that there have been glaring inconsistencies generally in the education policies and programmes of successive governments, and some outrightly regretted that nowadays, teachers are not teaching well, and claimed that some students are even better that some class teachers. Quite expectedly no one appear ready to accept the blame for these national problems.

Hence accusation and counter accusation continue. This columnist believes that the acceptable solution to the present educational problems which appears to have defied all solutions is to return to the drawing board, return to the old days when the government, the teachers and the students, are loyal to the nation and the country will do things right.

The most serious problems confronting the education sector can be traced to the primary school, there is no gain saying that if the foundation of a building is solid, the construction is bound to be as well, if the primary school is not looked after, all efforts to sanitise the secondary and tertiary may be mirage.

There is the need for the establishment of “Unity Primary School” in the state. The government is advised to reintroduce boarding system in such “Unity Primary School” if put in place. Only qualified teachers and staff must be allowed to work the school which is expected to be established in each of the sixteen (16) Local Government areas of the state. The government should also reintroduce the old system of school inspectors and management in all our zonal education office. Pupils admitted into such proposed “Unity Primary Schools” should not be allowed to live off boarding, allowing such a practice will be counter productive.

Primary education should not only be free, but all textbooks and other learning materials including pens, pencils and exercise book should be supplied for free.

In order to fund such free education, civil servants, members of the public, political office holders, traders, industries and companies including all Banks, supermarkets, etc operating in the state should contribute in financing the education.

One of the major problems confronting our children and the government today is the issue of examination malpractices or cheating in the examination, which constitute a serious crime under the law. Whatever angle we may look at it, examination is meant to determine the merit of the students or if a student have met up with his/her obligation throughout his or her course.

Most students have been known to perform very poorly or failed woefully because they failed to study and prepare well for the examinations in the right direction.

To many, the mere mention of examination sends shocks waves down their spines. Examination fever has held many captive  students; yet, examination is a measure of success, they’re important in academic activities.

There is no doubt that the students’ presence in the class is a vital ingredient of passing an examination. The student has to be present in the class before the teacher starts the lesson.

However, presence in class is not everything, the student should help himself by being very attentive to what the teacher is teaching and be amenable to discipline, not only did he have to listen, he should able to grasp, the major and important points of the lecture.

Most students have failed in examinations because their minds were somewhere outside the four walls of the classroom during the lectures.

Some of the important efforts that the student can make is to cultivate the habit of reading very wide, listening to radio, watching television and engage in profitable discussions and debate.

Efforts should also be geared towards attending educative seminars, lectures or workshops.

Students should not restrict themselves solely to the note of the lesson students should read as many books, newspapers and magazines, journals, as possible. By so doing, he will be able to present so may points in an examination and come out a happy candidate.

A student must be able to study his teachers very well since languages and styles of teaching of  teachers are different from one teacher to another. In order to know language and style of each teacher and there is the need for cordial relationship between him and his teachers.

Experience has show that most people have failed examination because they have failed to relate and comport themselves very well.

There is no need rushing to attempt any question during an examination.

You should read and understand all instructions very well before beginning to answer the questions. itemize the points, before you start detailed writing in your answer sheet.

Attempt the questions you understand first before going to the complex ones. You should endeavour to enter into the examination hall confidently and with hope to succeed.

Do not attempt to cheat in the examination; doing so amount to serious infringement on the law.

However, for the current education reforms in the nation to succeed, it is dawn on all and sundry to cooperate with the government and learn to be role models to our children, who are innocent and who are indeed leaders of tomorrow.

The children are no doubt the ornaments of life, they are amusing, wonderful,curious, anxious and rare symbols of God’s creation. The society must appreciate their needs, talents,aspirations and their short comings.

we can also achieve these by being good listeners to all their complaints and carefully responding to their demands.

We should remember that children who are allowed to be roaming about or engaging in street hawking without going to school can hardly become a good citizen, hence, all parents and guidance are enjoin to allow their children and wards to go to school and they should not be allowed to be used as agents of destruction.

*Mohammed, the Mogaji Nda of Ilorin and Zana of Okuta writes from Ilorin.

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