Thursday, 16 November 2017

Kaduna teachers mass failure: My stand.

By Igwara Chukwuka Anthony
"Fear the man who gives good advice but does the opposite".
It's no longer news that twenty one thousand Primary School teachers in KADUNA State of Northern Nigeria, failed a Primary 4 Competency Test paper. A serious case of the hunter becoming the hunted. For most analysts,it was only a confirmation of the status of the state as one of the Educationally Less Developed States in the country. The damage done by this negative publicity on the state that prides itself as the "Centre of Learning "and the host of the famous Ahmadu Bello University and the National Teacher's Institute is a sad commentary on education and a scar on civilization and intelligence that falls below the permissible percentage of folly.

The Encyclopedia Britannica defined education as the transmission of the values and accumulated knowledge of a society. It is designed to guide children in learning a culture, molding their behavior in the ways of adulthood and directing them towards their eventual role in the society. Everything in education- content, method, discipline--must lead in the direction of mans supernatural destiny. It is the responsibility of government to educate each child--without racial, social or narrow intellectual restriction--to the limit of the child’s ability.

Act 1, Scene 1: Enter Nasir El-Rufai, Architect and Governor of KADUNA State on a mission to sanitize and rid his state's educational sector of quacks.

While many have kicked against El-Rufai's reforms in identifying the "supposed quacks' and the multiplier effect of retrenching the affected teachers in this period of economic recession; it's important to analyse how and why we got to this stinking situation since none of the 36 states is immuned from this ugly trend. It must be noted that as societies grow more complex; the quality of  knowledge to be passed from one generation to the next becomes more than one person can know, thereby evolving more selective and efficient means of transmission. Should our children receive education built on a faulty foundation? It is time to speak against education that has semblance with Spartan education which exposed children to dissimulation, lying and theft.

Act2, Scene 2: The need for qualified and competent teachers.
It is laughable, ironic and damaging to the sensory organs that teachers failed exams supposedly meant for their pupils. Pupils produced by quack teachers spill on to secondary and tertiary levels with minds not well equipped for further scholastic endeavors and ultimately drop out of School to become social deviants who engage in vice for daily survival"(Afe Babalola). It's common knowledge that lecturers in higher institutions of learning assign work meant for them to students as projects and assignments, thereby perpetuating and expanding the inter-generational transfer of ignorance and mass production of insufficiently educated minds. We are products of a generation which believes in the fast-food approach to Learning.(The end justifies the means). A generation that reads to pass examinations because of the premium placed on certificates and one not adaptive to retain knowledge and details.

Familiarity , they say, breeds contempt. I beg to ask: Did these sacked teachers fail to learn on the job? Should a teacher perform below acceptable standards because of poor remuneration, infrastructural deficit and absence of instructional materials? Have they been teaching without recourse to course content? Why did they fail to deliver on the day it mattered most? What are the criteria for employing and certifying teachers in this country? Which is more important in employing teachers: certificate or competence? 

A lot of these questions beg for answers. There is no substitute for excellence, most especially when it concerns educating young minds. There is need to re-evaluate school curriculum and criteria for employing teachers in the light of recent revelations that many teachers possessed fake certificates or were employed based on political patronage. Goverment at all levels should also increase budgetary allocation to the sector towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals in education--by 2030. Parents should learn from this episode that the education of the child should not be left to teachers should be a complimentary affair aimed at bringing out the best in a child. Finally, pupils should be encouraged to participate actively in class activities and ask questions that can expose quacks early enough.(Whistle-blowers needed urgently)

Marble Hill School, Okpanam/Asaba
Delta State

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