Thoughts Lead To Appreciation
What is the opposition to the extension of schooling opportunities to every Nigerian?
The discourse on pre- and post-mass education reminds of my observation at Shehu Shagari College Of Education.
1~ There were mumblings of reduced standards with mass education.
2~ Several of the lecturers were trained by expatriates in the college and other excellent centres of learning.
3~ In the 70s and 80s, a class may contain only one female student.
In the mid 2000s, a third of the class were women.
4~ Administrators increase student population. Lecturers complain of work load. Students who would have been turned away gain opportunity.
5~ Yes, a good number of students are only in class to be seen.
That cut across socioeconomic lines.
In fact, it was more visible among students from wealthy households, whose flashy cars fill parking spaces during examinations, but who sit near, beside and behind smart students, many of whom are offspring of low income earners.
6~ Finally, I noted disused equipment such as a hand drier and sanitary pad dispensers.
Of course, those equipment are remnants of European involvement.
Who is to blame for a decline or disinterest in technology? – Certainly not the beneficiaries or sponsors of mass education.
Interestingly, some lecturers who though taught by Europeans perceive pioneering advancement as a show-off.
What is the way forward?
Hypothetical solutions to the failings of our education system are rarely valid.
Real and practical solution is that, for example, almajiris have access to the same public schools available in each Northern state.
Never mind that many parents choose to send their children on the street to beg, but not only is education free, meals and other items are free as well.
Of course, schools still charge fees for I do not know what.
And the problem with admission to federal colleges is the same with catchment areas or what is it called in universities.
Admission to schools, colleges and universities need to be entirely on merit.
Polytechnics provide an educational alternative to learn crafts and vocational skills.
Plus, vocational courses are taught in some senior secondary schools to equip students to be self-employed should they wish not to go further in education.
There are also skills acquisition centres for all levels of education, especially suitable for persons without formal education to learn designing, manufacturing and so on.
Having trained children from extremely poor families for years, I know all they lack is finances.
I sit them in my home and within days, one cannot believe they previously had never attended school.
Those children are an inspiration to me.
I will defend anyone who defends the vulnerable.