The saying, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he (she) is old, he (she) will not depart from it” remains true no matter the generation we are in or how long other  generations will live. The need to have Nigeria’s educational system experience holistic change cannot be better effected if not from the foundation. It has been observed, that while those in authority pay little attention to the situation, for instance in primary schools, the policies that are employed in making this category of schools run are equally questionable. Besides, the people who are in the direct running could also do better, by determining not to be like those in power, but this is not happening as a great percentage of these people are either incompetent or outright saboteurs.

Months ago, a governor in South-South part of Nigeria, particularly in Edo State visited one of the centers where teachers’ verification was taking place and asked a primary school headmistress to read from a script, it was saddening to find that, this woman who heads a government public primary school read virtually everything on the script wrongly. It even becomes more disappointing when the governor made attempt to correct her but she refused at some point claiming what she read was correct in the glare of national media. The shameful exposure is the height of crass incompetence and forms part of the reasons that public education system in Nigeria is in a pitiable state. Having said the fore-stated, examining all other areas and proffering solutions take sway.

Official records reveal that there are twenty educational districts in Lagos and in these different districts there are varying number of primary and secondary schools. These different numbers could be adduced to population, representation, accessibility and receptiveness amongst others. The question of how the increase in population of an area is considered viz a viz establishment of a school comes into play. Alimosho being one of the educational districts is the biggest local government with six different sub-divisions, but incommensurately, it does not have the highest number of primary schools, which, without doubt impedes the expected success that would have been recorded in the locality.

It then calls for the need to employ data gathering, data assessment and data application so as to address the imbalance. Data is as important to the situation pointed out as condiments are to the preparation of a good meal. Perhaps in a class where there should a maximum of 40 to 50 pupils, the Alimosho instance will result in overpopulation because lesser number of schools are in the area, while areas that are less populated may not exhibit proper balance and utilization of facilities. The bedrock of any educational system is the primary school level, because other level must build upon it to attain completeness.

Going forward, the need for training and re-training of primary school teachers could not have come at a better time. It is without gainsaying, that to achieve the best of results amongst pupils, teachers must be at home with the current global trends of primary pedagogy. As much as teaching the conventional way is helpful, employing digital aids could also help add immense value. Watching a drama to demonstrate a process could be easily recalled by the pupils than mere writing of the processes on the board – white or black. Learning, when it is fun-filled is assimilated with relative ease than when it appears to be full of encumbrance. Many of the teachers at the primary school level may have the motherly empathy to put up with the difficulty of learning by the pupils, but many may not be able to do more because one can only give what one has. If a child has a lecturer for a parent and such a child attends a primary school where the teacher is an NCE holder, it may be either a drawback or stagnating if such a teacher gives less than the child gets exposed to at home.

Many of these teachers are in their comfort zones with very low qualification, operating on the ‘analog wavelength than the digital frequency’. It must be made compulsory, that many who are not at the first degree level must either upgrade by further acquisition of knowledge and obtain requisite qualifications within a stipulated period or be ‘shipped out’, so as to make room for those who could deliver at the level of international competency. Schools must not be made market places but where learning takes place. Some will come to classrooms with cooking ingredients and products for sales, leaving their primary responsibilities to suffer. All these loose ends must be tightly knotted
Government must then have a blueprint for training and re-training across all levels, so that being the most patronized between itself and private educators, a lot more will be added in the sense of value, thus enhancing expected deliverables by respective stakeholders. The reality of re-jigging Guidance and Counselling also comes to the floor of this discourse. Fact is, the potential of every child differs and as a result, differing learning abilities. Some are categorized as higher ability and others lower ability. This is simply a distinct offshoot of their learning capabilities.

It is absolute doubt that many government schools have such pattern of attending to learning needs. It is true that many private schools are making effort at recognizing this need, government schools are not in any way looking in this direction. It cannot be described as rocket science because a module of assessment makes for easy categorization by virtue of learning abilities. If the foundation at the primary school level is not solid, whatever one builds upon it is shaky and not result oriented.
Remuneration of teachers and non-teaching staff is also not what one could shove into the drainage. If it is a curse or deliberate wickedness, the jinx is due broken while the milk of human kindness must replace the initial two mentioned. Teaching and teachers are not joked with in other climes, but the manner this profession and those in the profession gets attended to seem palpably denigrating. It is convenient, as one finds evident to owe teachers’ salaries for months un-end as it appears ‘inevitable’ at the slightest economic challenge. This is obviously not a way to go, when the world is fast moving away from the pattern of our teaching; we are rather making it worse by owing those who try to sustain the available model.

The issues raised do not only affect government schools, but may ‘mushroom primary regulators’, whose levels of competencies are in doubt and are further endangering the education system. As much as the government has many regulatory mechanisms in place, more still need to be done so as to salvage this chaotic wildfire of ‘mal-education’, in order to keep Nigeria from going down the drain. There cannot be short-cut or quick fix to these problems, but a deliberate and painstaking effort towards the actualization of set goals. The established and approved primary schools cannot also be left unguided. When it comes to the curriculum, the content must be examined and repeatedly monitored. This is so needful as to ensure that value delivered does not contravene a positive national cause as well as international best practice. The welfare systems of these schools are also very important. Could it be found true that equity is the hallmark of their respective administrative leanings or otherwise?

Ultimately, those who teach must not become teachers or be employed because it is the last resort to survive or make a living; rather, those who seek to teach must be passionate about giving knowledge to the pupils/students who will steer the reins in the future. Many at times do not understand the implications of being badly educated or not getting education at all. The former worsens a person, while the latter cuts off such an individual from the progressive realities of a fast-paced world. Teachers must then be compulsorily knowledgeable, patient, full of empathy and love, kind and vast. Government on its part must keep the cash-pipe open to continuously fund education, be innovative and demand professionalism; as much as ensure that its policies are effective and efficient, feasible and evolving, so as to be able to incorporate the positive, current and ever-changing trends of the education system.

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