BURNING POT BY PRINCE CHARLES DICKSON
Whether corruption is stealing, or stealing is corruption, our education is corrupt
The West African Examination Council WAEC in the last few weeks had engaged not less than 15 states in a war of words over debt owed the exam body by the states. The height of the war was a threat by the body not to release the result of students from such debtor states.
Days after, newspaper headline read: "WAEC to Release Withheld Results...as Debtor States Pledge to Pay Up". Interestingly, the pass rate of the exam by over a million Nigerian students was barely 39%, and it was an improvement from last year's result.
In another report, the percentage of failure was equally on the high side, as the Legal Council released the Law School results. While members of the Council say that the results were not as bad as reported, newspaper reports quoting the council say that the failure rate was well above 50%.
It is not any better with the nation's Medical Schools...with a sizable number of the schools having accreditation issues, and in some cases like Benue State University, Abuja University: They have not been able to graduate medical students in well over a decade.
Another newspaper headline was "Ogun sacks perm sec, five others for ‘offensive exam question’”.
The story in full: Those sacked were a Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Folashade Oresegun, three directors and the examiner, Mr. Adegbenro Joel.
Joel was said to have prepared an English Language question for the third term Unified Examination for Public Senior Secondary School students, which took a critical look at, alleged negligence of the education sector by the government.
The alleged offensive examination question (comprehension) read, “There is no arguing about the fact that the government is merely paying lip service to the development of education. It is true that a lot of money is being spent on the education sector but, with little or no impact felt by the people, except where we want to deceive ourselves.”
It continued, “Many schools run by the government, which were formally known for academic excellence have suddenly lost their prestige and are living on past glory. No wonder many parents and guardians are left with only one option, to withdraw their wards from these schools to other ones that are better managed.”
The students were expected to read the passage and answer questions put to them from it.
Though no particular government was mentioned, the state government was reported to have been angered by the way the examiner appeared to have indicted the government and ordered their sack.
The Head of Service, Mrs. Adekunle in reacting to the development told journalists, in sacking the "sackees", due process was followed, explaining that the action was taken after a panel set up to investigate the issue found the officers guilty.
WHAT A SHAME, and I purposely put this in cap letters, to underscore how low we have descended.
Let us take a backward journey to Plateau state, the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Julius Okojie, could only decry the inability of Plateau State University, Bokkos, to graduate students since inception in 2005.
Okojie, expressed his displeasure when Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong visited him in Abuja, he attributed the problems to lack of accreditation and political issues.
According to him, there are defective governance structures; no vice chancellor, there is no governing council; no programme is accredited and students are in final year. If you beat that, the school has no registrar, no bursar!
Over the last few years the nation's educational sector has been under heavy scrutiny, sadly the political shenanigans across party divide continue to debate about who is most corrupt.
No one is really bother about the state of our education; we are so concerned about NNPC audit, how Jonathan failed, or APC will rule for 26 years according to Rochas, or throwing tantrums on Baba Go-Slow.
Paraphrasing late Tai Solarin, a good many of us spat on the education we had yesterday, and off course what passes for education today. And certainly, a large stratum of our society looks back, nostalgically, at the quality of yesterday's education".
By and large, however, while most of us believed that there was very much missing in the content of our yesterday's education. What we have today, in spite of innovations and the bold attempts to re-orientate it, remains, as it was yesterday, orthodox, slow foot, and myopic.
Our educational system today only attempts to sharpen the head to near pin end quality, however the possessor’s limb is atrophied by long disuse. Our education is money centered. It is an education, which goads the possessor asking, "What can my country do for me?" not as J.F. Kennedy requests immortally, "what can I do for my country?"
With the kind of scandals in our education, kids we send to Uganda, Dubai, Malaysia, and soon Chad may soon define the quality of education we want for tomorrow…
We do not have an education in which a possessor wants to elevate the less privilege that surge him round.
Today what is the value of the education given to a young man who lives or is doing his mandatory service year in a guinea worm infested area and yet is incapable of causing a revolution in the lives of the villagers by transforming their drinking water into healthy supply?
Please what is the use of education given in physics to a young girl when the lights go out, she does not know what to do to get light again.
Today how many young persons want to go home and at the beginning of the year cut the bush in readiness for the new year's planting; making of garri or pounding the yam or preparing the 'ewedu' soup. If these children do not participate how can they be integrated into the society, if all the values they see are big cars, big mansion, how they integrate should not be surprising.
Every graduate desires Shell, Chevron, MTN, GTBank, Immigration and the Ministry of this and that, baring those not in politics as educated thugs.
While government at various levels goads their roles in educating its citizens, I advocate government's participation as matter of social contract and responsibility to the people. That way we could boast an education that 'LIVES'.
Can the education being given to our children today, give us a newer and nobler Nigeria, is our current education alive, or are we overtly more concerned about stealing being corruption, when the kids cannot spell corruption—Only time will tell.