Thursday, 14 August 2014

The weight of politics on our educational system BY SUPREME OKPON

The weight of politics on our educational system BY SUPREME OKPON
Education remains the best gift any good parents can give to their children and a compulsory gift a Nation must give to her citizenries, if the leadership of a country so which to have people who will take over the leadership from them when their strength fails. Education is the answer to the question of development and sustainable development; this is because education is a change agent and most reliable tool for preparation, creation, development and nurturing of character, traits, knowledge, skills and attitude. 

The cruciality and centrality of education in the development process lies on its important towards the preparation of productive capacities of human beings as Economic, political and social agents, Charles Esu (2009). Education builds up knowledge, skills and attitude of men, women and youths for production purposes and enables them to contribute positively to the advancement of National Economy. It creates human capital with relevant capabilities. Education equips the mind, the body and the hand to “Lead” a life well spent. It is obviously the compass of life, an instrument through which all leadership instinct and sensitivity can be systematically developed and conditioned for a permanent behavioural pattern of life.Human capital is properly harnessed and groomed through education, its provide the necessary and sufficient condition for solving various perplexing problems such as poverty, hunger, diseases, illiteracy, unemployment and conflicts, all these problems pose leadership challenges and require strategic visionary and sustainable approaches to handle them. Educational sector is the most crucial of all the sectors of economy, other sectors are passive agent in the civilization and development process. Charles Esu (2009).

 Education provides the basis for the development of the skills, knowledge and attitude of the nation’s people. The place of education in the leadership and Nation’s building process cannot be over-emphasized, education is the bedrock, it creates the opportunity, enabling environment and ideals processes  for people to learn and master the fact that leadership and development are multi-divisional phenomenon involving determination, aspiration, vision, motivation, self-esteem, value, ethnics, culture, independence of thoughts, need for achievement, interpersonal skills, tolerance, accepting responsibilities, respect for law, passion for Excellence, awareness of general positive attitudinal configuration and action meant to engender the overall achievement  of the Nation’s Blue print.

 Hence, the big question on our educational sector is WHAT TYPE OF EDUCATION IS OUR NATION PROVIDING FOR THE STUDENTS? Looking from the right perspective of what should be. 

For education to provide the right enabling character, ideas and condition for building sustainable leadership and development, it must be the right type of education; it must possess the right contents, structure and philosophy with adequate infrastructures, backed with appropriate fiscal policy provided by the Government. It must focus on needs relevant to build; it must possess the ingredients of empowerment and capacity building. 

 It must address character, knowledge, skills and attitude formation. It must provide a strategic springboard for self-development and esteem. It must be premise on integrity. It must build trust and confidence. It must build hope. It must be a ready weapon for attacking ignorance, poverty, diseases and oppression. It must develop a total person who should grow to appreciate and ultimately influence the environment for good and for the benefit of all. Thus the right type of education must develop the hands, heads and hearts and enhance their application.  This type of education must possess some key elements of dialectics and pedagogy having to do with the knowledge and forms that constitute “good’’ and strike a clear distinction between what it is, what should be and what is generally considered bad” considering the type of education obtain in our country Nigeria can we gladly say that we have gotten the right type of education? If no why and if yes where are we?  

Another question is WHERE ARE WE in our educational sector? When considering our performances and achievements. This is a question that jeers the leadership of our Nation, the educational dolerites and prophets of education. WHERE ARE WE? 

Education should be able to synthesis the school and the world we live in. Schooling should be less mechanistic but perceptive and reflective in the development of human personality. The product of education should be able to act on the members of the society rather than upon the subjects of it curriculum. In fact, the sum total of education and life experience should produce and determine character and knowledge of the people. 

A lot has been written, said, spoken and done about the standard of education in our dear country. But the controversy of failing or fallen standard and inherent crisis in the education sector has occupied the attention of stakeholders for a long time.  Educational reforms at various levels have been embarked upon by various levels of Government, while some reforms effort may be ongoing and commendable. The fact, that there is still a wide gap between where we are and where we should be is not indisputable. As the debate and controversy rage on, not a few stakeholders are concerned but the general public as to the state of affairs of our education sector. 

 The structuring and contents of the school system seem to be as confusing as they are not popular coordinated. In our schools, aspect like verbal aptitudes, elementary reasoning and logic are not emphasized, largely, the teaching and learning method still remains rote in Nature while our leaders fold down their hands and watch, thus the sector continue to produce graduate of subject rather than graduate with better reasoning skills. Yet development and leadership require thinking in all it ramification. 

If education in properly, generally and effectively coordinated, it should enable the beneficiaries to become truce leaders in their own right. The beneficiaries should also become pilot for sustainable development for generations to come; they should be mainly concerned with building of characters because human beings are best judge and assessed by the contents of their character. 

Nigerian Government should use every weapon at their disposal to fight the canker worms that is eating up our educational system.

 Benjamin Franklin in his words elucidate on the universality and profitability of education to man, I quote ‘if any man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest’. The important of education cannot be undermined, especially in a growing and development context of Economy where the weights of development solely depend on Education of the people. 

If a country most experience development or maintained peace and tranquility the leadership of the country most invest in the education of their people knowing that with education people mind set will be transformed, thereby set the people on the part of civilization to enhance development.

 In Nigeria Education is Business as usual where the federal Government and ASUU negotiate on how much  to invest in education when I see things like these, I begin to believe that our leaders have lost sight of their responsibilities and core principal of building an enduring leadership for the people, if little Malala a Pakistan 16 years old girl, a survivor of Taliban attack, knows the worth of education And call on her people to expedite their action towards education ,she urge the people to pick up their books and pens as the most powerful weapons that can change the cause of humanity and  the face of a country then how much more the political stalwart in our country. They should know better and not to call for pen down in our tertiary institutions.  

Countries around the world don’t  joke with the education of their people but in Nigeria the case is different as the Government displays I don’t care attitude towards education and thereby allowing the system to be so weak and sick, if they had been a close monitoring in our educational system by federal Government ,the educational system  wouldn’t have decay so bad that it require quantum amount to rescue the sector as it is  now, since federal Govt fail to be monitored and evaluate, appraise their performances and assesse the needs of the sector on time in order to keep the sector in line light of what it should be. Now the system has gone so bad that ASUU has to stand up and place their demands on federal Government to avoid total collapsing of the sector.

 Federal Government should not try to claim that its now that they become aware if the ASUU demands, these pack was signed by the Federal Government in 2009 after three years of deliberations and after 2 years of no response by the Federal Government ASUU reminded them with warning strike yet futile effort while the Federal Government promise to include it in subsequences budgets,  if federal Government of Nigeria value education as other countries of the world do, the federal Government should have started meeting these demands bit by bit without even waiting for ASUU to call their attention to the issue and by now the demands would have been cleaned but they waited to see total  annihilation of the sector.  

My fellow Nigerians Education is too important to gamble with, if we gamble with education then the future has no place for us as a Nation. The federal Government should reframe from the derogatory words of Minister of Finance that there is no money to rescue the sector (settle ASUU), if I may ask did the federal Government not include ASUU money in the annual budget of the nation having known that they had signed a pack with ASUU, if yes then its deficiency on the part of the federal Government and they have to look for a way out because the money has been long due for payment, federal Government four years after signing agreement with ASUU cannot still implement the pack. It’s indeed sad, the federal Government has no excuse even if the country is in deficit, and then the federal Government should stop spending money on frivolities and redirect the funds to priorities.  The fact is Education valued more than we can pay for, therefore the leadership of Nigeria should endeavor to provide sound Education at all cost for their citizenry. 

If the educational sector fails then the failure of the future is clear and certain, there is possibility that we as a country will fail in future because the absence of education means the absence of preparation which implies that the future occurrence will meet us unprepared. I enjoin the federal to wake up from their slumber and stand to answer, to serve this nation as duty calls them to save educational sector from dilapidating and consider the invaluable worth of education and make the ultimate sacrifice for education in our country.  

Mr. president  pedigree could also be trace to this sector, Educational sector should be Mr. president closet constituency, reasons being that he has experience the heat and cold of this sector before and therefore should know the best approaches to bring calmness, soundness and restitution to the sector. It’s not in the best interest of the nation to shut-down educational sector for months now. It’s an outright display of incompetency on the part of leaders; it does also advertise their deficiency in resources management and effective administration. 

  Unfortunately, despite several reform efforts towards education by Government in Nigeria, it’s observed that little or no action has been taken to implement the reforms/policies, as a matter of fact; all is not well with our educational system. Many issues and challenges have combine to hinder the potency of our educational system from developing, training, transforming and molding people rather than producing human beings with mere certificate popularly known as meal tickets. Our education system at all level is afflicted by many issues and challenges where their persistency is a cog on the wheel of progress without any serious intervention or remedy.  

There is this notion that everything in Nigeria is politicized, i plead with Mr. and Mrs. Politicians, Honorable, distinguish and public servants not to demeaned Educational sector with their selfish interest. They should stop trying to use the defunct sector to broker gains. This is not the time to fathom on who gains what and who losses what rather it’s  time to stand to build, to defend, to serve our Education system from collapsing to the ground, because posterity will never forgive us, the generations to come will never be proud of us. Let’s stand up together and lay every weight aside and redirect all our focus to salvage Educational sector, our heritage, our knowledge, our pride. 

Let me end here with a quote from Mihaly Gsiks “if the next generation must face the future with zest and self-confidence we must educate them to be origin as well as competent” but certainly not with epileptic Educational system like the one in Nigeria. Nigeria has to learn how to get it right and provide the needed foundation to build a strong, dynamic and egalitarian society to save the future generation from the scourge of poverty and dependency on foreign markets.  

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