By Sotubo Olajide (HND, AATWA)
The introduction of the deregulation that birthed private education institutions at all levels : primary, secondary and tertiary was as good as its negative impacts on the system. Today, the system has become a profit oriented industry that anyone can just venture into even without having the professional skills and competence.
Several private schools now exist in the country without approvals by the government. This is a great deficiency on the part of the Federal Ministry of Education as no step has been taken by the ministry to eradicate or curb this act.
And since the establishment of private schools, examination malpractice and misconduct have become a national phenomenon. The guiding principle in private schools is that ‘under no circumstance should a student fail’. WHY? It is because of the money they generate from them. They fail deliberately to encourage students to prepare for exams adequately but give assurance of good results i.e. 8credits in WAEC and NECO, 280 in JAMB, etc. The assurance given can only be achieved through examination malpractice which is generally known as ‘expo’ i.e. solution to exam questions will be supplied to students.
Lecturers in government owned tertiary institutions no longer give credits to students on merit; they are not sincere in awarding marks. They believe in tit-for-tat (purchase my textbook/hand-out and get good marks) even to the point of unduly influencing the students to purchase their hand-outs through orchestrated carry-overs (failure) which may make students spend more years than necessary in school. Students who are passionate about bribing get better results and graduate with the best grades. On the other hand, students who believe in adequate preparations sometimes get bad results and graduate with lower grades.
The government needs to re-strategize, re-structure and completely overhaul the activities of private education institutions in correlation with the goal of bringing back the lost glory of Nigeria’s education system. Individuals who are professionally unqualified, that is, do not have teaching backgrounds should not be given the license to own a school. Proper scrutiny and proper teachers’ training/screening should be conducted through the consolidation of effort by the academic boards at each level of government before approvals.
And whatever is contained in the constitution in this regard must be strictly adhered to; there should be checks and balances. The local governments are considered the closest to communities therefore, their academic boards should be charged with the responsibility of ensuring that unregistered private schools are duly investigated and reported accordingly.
It is generally known and believed that the life span of a building depends solely on its foundation. More emphasis should be on primary and secondary education because those are the foremost foundation of education.The government through effective regulation should ensure that academic institutions are well equipped with infrastructures, apparatus and equipment to enhance studies. Good working conditions should as well be ensured and made available for teachers and lecturers of the institutes.
We all need to know that the future of this great country lies with the coming generations. Therefore, let us ensure that we give all that could be required to standardize the education system of Nigeria because that is best legacy we can ever leave.
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