By: Adekunle Adewunmi
“Government shall strive to eradicate illiteracy…..(a) free, compulsory and universal primary education (b) free secondary education (c) free university education and (d) free adult literacy programme”
Section 18, sub section 3 of the Nigerian 1999 Construction
The above provision is entrenched in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. But, can we say the law is still very relevant today? The answer is as you have right in mind.
Literacy has over the years been termed a way out of many world problems. With education, the key to success in the outer world is assured, they say. Having garnered much strength by parents to send their children and wards to school, it is believed way that the road to such child’s success is certain while others bend themselves to low-esteemed jobs out there to become part of the beneficiaries of the leading trend of education that births success. It is however, sad that the delivery of such brings tears to one’s eyes.
Political office holders take pride in rearing their own children in wealth and affluence to study in pocket-screaming tuition amount, in the best private schools in the country and abroad, not minding the conspicuous lack of equipments and study materials cum capable hands in exerting knowledge to the tomorrow’s future in our schools, with the jaundiced state of the Nigerian Academic Standards, community, and syllabus.
Re-calling the months in which students have had to sit at home due to recurring strike actions that had always emanated from paying lip services to teachers’ rights, which occurrence has not been well tailored still, with LAUTECH students still languishing at home, no thanks to the strike actions.
Teachers and Lecturers have been found with oodles of ways in bringing disrepute to the Nigerian educational community due to government’s neglect. They have resorted to the saying which goes by: ‘oga ta, ogaota, owo alaaru ape’, thereby lessening the standards of the impartation of knowledge, skills and wisdom. Lecturers on the other hand, had been found selling textbooks to students even when they are sub-standard, and coercing students to by them with various threats to fail them if they fail to buy books. This is bad but, government and Ministry of Education has influenced these happenings. I’m not saying what they are practicing is good, rather, some of them have been found in it because they have to look for alternative ways to make ends meet.
Neglect of the majority minors screams in all corners whilst policies and Constitutions, bent and maligned.
No gain saying the fact on how the Federal Government had brought in JAMB that is used as a means of milking the citizenry dry every year just because of the much necessity thrown at us, by the society of getting educated. Not relating anymore with the fact that enough scholarships are far-cry as rampant in other countries that helps the minorities who are intellectually sound and want to study but for which free education for all has become lost in transit.
Our Leaders and Politicians has been found guilty of sending their children abroad and brag, about the same. Many of them flaunt their wealth and keep spitting lies about how they bag certain unknown degrees in Institutions outside the country. The Senate President has been found doing the former, with many others swimming in the latter.
In spite of all, despite all of these, Nigerians have kept mum!
The will to learn has been on the increase amongst Nigerian youths and even the adults are not left out, as they are being found heightening and widening their intellectual horizons to keep themselves away from being tagged ‘Dinosaurians”.
The recent news that trends around the Nigerian educational community is the increase of tuition fees not minding the pocket-tearing admission fees demanded by most schools.
I for one believe that at this crucial moment where our country is experiencing downturns in most sector, the educational sector should rather be given a boosting morale instead of dampening the hopes of people seeking to gather knowledge.
Little wonder why many do all in their capacity to study outside the country even if it demands borrowing. They have studied this nation and have seen that anyone who wants to attain the desired height of greatness either scholarly or in any other fields, mustn’t await the government of this day, for all they delight in is to sweep the nation’s wealth in their well embroidered white Agbada apparel and receive many with their white teeth smiling on the outside.
Nigerians are fuming, they have a very good resistance habit but when their “shock absorbers” gets worn out and they get back to the government in any possible way of revenge; either wars or mutiny, they shouldn’t be blamed, for they have well waited for a bettered but given a battered change.
When people have chosen to find succour in the government institutions but neglect and heart break is what they get in return, then it is nothing but shame on the ministry that umbrellas this sector!
Let me quickly ring you an alarm of remembrance if you have forgotten that, plethora of the governing body had enjoyed from the free education given to all during the Awolowo times because your parents were also like many of ours but, you scaled through ignorance vis-a-vis illiteracy and here you are today, in lucrative positions not willing nor wanting others to prosper. You claim that you want to be called a success after all but, can there ever be a success without a successor? How are you mentoring others? Let that keep in ringing!
Someone had said that Nigerians are suffering from poverty. The Westerners had tagged us as being poor. However, we aren’t poor at all be it materially, intellectually, name it; only that we are being deprived of showcasing what we’ve got and can do for Nigeria, Africa, and the world by Nigeria. We see our people in countries like UK, America and other developed countries; developing things and making things work for other countries other than ours because we have refused to take responsibility to develop and brush up our tools (students); we are sound upstairs. Our system is sick upstairs due to bad, haphazard operators.
Government shall direct its policies towards ensuring that there are equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels, Government shall promote Science and Technology- Nigerian Constitution, Section 18(1).
For Polytechnic graduates having to go through the process of Post Graduate Diploma or Conversion programmes before being certified to obtain Masters Degree form, is it not sickening? It is really barbaric for some graduates to delve into the next level of education straight, on a platter of gold, in the name of paper (Certificate) while others go through a useless process before doing same. What disturbs and disheartens me the more is the fact that graduates with low, pass marks in University takes this process in which Polytechnic graduates with Distinction is also obliged to sit for. It has gotten that bad!
A Third Class University graduate being likened to an assiduous Distinction, Higher and Lower Credit graduate of a Polytechnic lacks meaning and any sound explanation as defense; it is becoming unacceptably incessant.
However, many of us are ever ready to #Standwith9ja though we are out-cast, yet will we stand if and only if this country is ready to make the wrongs right and continue to right the rights.
Re-positioning our academic standard cum parlance will involve procreation and disbursement of more educational equipment to all state and federal institutions, improved payment of teachers’ salaries and allowances without any hiccups, employment of fresh graduates to both administrative and teaching part of Education, re-work of syllabus at all levels, respect for Polytechnic and Technology based schools graduates, with many other right actions; we shall reach our desired height of academic excellence.
EDUCATION is Light, help us gain access to this light, and we’ll make Nigeria shine brighter than all! Give us the opportunity to learn, and we will become great and illuminate the dark path in the life of the country; thence shall we re-affirm the real saying that, EDUCATION IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS.
Also, government should not fail to do the needful, adhere strictly to the dictate of the Nigerian constitution. Human development is worth more than infrastructural stride.
May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!