UBECBy Alhassan Bawa Niworu

It is not longer news that our educational system is bedeviled with myriad of problems beyond any imaginative perspective, ranging from Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strikes to unholy policies and societal interference.

Consequently, in Nigeria today, government officials take advantage of their privilege positions to give order and directives which in turn culminate into a problem difficult to solve for the nation.

The recent pronouncement by a federal education director that only graduates with first class or second class upper certificates are those to be employed as teachers, goes to tell that the director himself is not eligible to be in that ministry, because to be a good teacher; entails many things as an act.

First and foremost, standard of degree vary from university to university, even in the same institution, it can vary from department to department. There are quite a number of students who could not cope in our Nigerian universities and went outside the shores of this country and returned with second class upper, even some with first class degree.

As one time Chairman of the Niger state Universal Basic Education Board, I went on a monitoring and discovered teachers with good NCE results but could not teach. The director should know that there are factors that can affect the performance of a student during exams including understanding the question he is attempting that may determine his final grade.

It is the like of this officer in the past that abolished the grade II teachers’ programme, First School Leaving Certificate etc, that we are paying for in different directions in our educational system.

Preparatory to the take off of the universal primary education programme, General Olusegun Obasanjo set up additional grade II teachers colleges as bedrock for teaching. This programme prepared students for teaching and subsequently admitted into the Advanced Teachers Colleges for the NCE programme. Today, the last batch of these teachers’ colleges has retired from teaching. I can vouch for that programme as a teaching practice coordinator in one of the teachers colleges in Kwara State.

The announcement of this officer if allowed to be executed will have future dire consequences on our university certificates. First and foremost, parents could start paying for their wards to have higher grades without commensurate knowledge. Secondly, cultist students will start terrorising lecturers for higher grades. Thirdly, some bad lecturers will take advantage of students and especially female students will not be spared.

No system is absolutely perfect; it all depends on the modus operandi. The funny question is, where will a Nigerian with third class or pass degree, work? Is he to go to Cameroon or Chad to look for work? There should be other ways of selecting who to teach as we cannot get education graduates for all the subjects.

I stand to be corrected, let every state publish the statistics of her NCE physics teachers, NCE chemistry teachers, NCE mathematics not to talk of university graduates; you will discover that we are nowhere.

This is what our state government has to consider, after all, they have their own state colleges of education. They have to look into subject combinations like mathematics-physics, mathematics-geography, chemistry-physics, biology-chemistry etc. No state can boast of enough NCE teachers in the above subjects not to talk of university graduates.

Today, we talk of e-learning; computer based test. How many secondary schools have electricity? How many secondary schools have computer teachers? How many village schools have communication network? It is the poor man’s child in the village that is incapacitated.

The same thing is applicable in the award of contracts. The ordinary contractor in the rural area is out of job because of rigorous procurement laws i.e registration of company, pencom, education levy, insurance etc. The big and wealthy people go for the jobs meant for ordinary rural contractors because these rural contractors cannot afford registration cost into hundreds of thousands of naira, therefore, the poverty level heightened in our rural areas.

Recruitment into para military agencies too are not spared. The poor man’s child has no information about the website. The exercise is conducted at the state level not at his local government level where he even finds it difficult to attend because he knows no one to reside with, neither does he have the transport fare.

Those who clamour for the restructuring of the country do not make mention of all these because they ride above it. All these were not the situation in this country by the 70s. Are the state and federal law makers fighting the course of a common man? 

 

 

Alhaji Alhassan Bawa M. Niworu

Ex NSUBEB Chairman, wrote from New Bussa,

Niger state.

TAURARUWA