This Post is Strictly For Students, Parents, School Owners, and Teachers

Teacher

What is certain is that the person reading this falls under at least one of the categories of people stated in the title of this writ. More certain than this personality confirmation is that each one of the afore-stated people blames the system for the way education has turned out to be in the country, and more certain yet is that the ones throwing blames around are key microorganisms in the chronic infection that has plagued the educational system thus far.

By all means, this is not meant to be a blame game, and I would not want you to see it as such. However, if you cannot help it, I’d like to remind you that I fall under two of the categories stated, and, more than you or anyone else, I should be blamed. But this writ is my retribution… my retribution for keeping mute while the system descended more and more into darkness. And I covet your attention to read this to the end if we are ever going to make education better again in this country. After all, Nigeria is our collective idea and responsibility.


Sometimes ago (before going for NYSC), I was enrolled as a physics teacher in a private secondary school. In this school, students have to pass, or more accurately, must pass, and I believe that is the norm in every private school. To achieve this, we were made to correct the mistakes of students and sometimes write for them if they scored below average. It was more like sitting for exams, the answers to which we know by heart.

If this had been too strange for me to handle, maybe I would have come up with this article sooner. But something happened recently in the college of education where I lecture (as a corps member). A pre-NCE student was asked to define a conductor and all what one could make of what she said was the danfo kind of conductor. Strange but true. And I was forced to ask myself whether she actually attended a secondary school or not. That was rhetoric, no doubt, because I know she did, and I know that she sat for WAEC and passed. Maybe…just maybe her JAMB score was not too good, but how else could she have been enrolled for the program?

At that moment, I thought about the other students I have come across and saw that they were more of the same thing; negligent, irresponsible and deteriorating. And if you observe carefully, you will find out that the students of nowadays are far worse (academically and behaviorally) than those of ten years ago, and it would be considered blasphemy to compare them to students in the days of my mom and dad. It is more like a deteriorating line of succession, and I have come to realize that the problem is somewhere, obvious and yet hidden, in the secondary level of education.


If you ask any secondary school student what he wants to become in future, he will tell you he wants to become a lawyer, or a doctor, or an engineer, or a banker, and so on. He practically wants to be everything but a student. He obviously does not know that being a student is easier than all what he wants to become and also a stepping stone to achieving all of his aims.


He only sees studentship as a rigorous process, but it is more. It is being, it is an art, a budding flower that can only thrive in a condition of limited use of social media, which he has a keen appetite for.
I have seen secondary school students arguing about the number of likes they have on Facebook, screaming on top of their voices: “Na dem dey rush us.”

Social media is created for everyone: the wise and the foolish. And the relationship you want it to have with you depends solely on you. Parasitic? Symbiotic? Commensal? I will let your wisdom hold you responsible for yourself.

But no matter how smart or stupid a student is, he cannot pull off his own failure or success on his own. He needs the expertise of his teachers and/or his parents to do it.

Parents, nowadays, have lost their charms, their unequalled skill in calling their children to order, their adaptability in maintaining friendship with their folks, their intuition in monitoring their kids without them noticing or taking offence, their understanding in solving their children’s problems, their creativity in making work seem like fun, and their wisdom in knowing what is best for their kids. Instead, they encourage their children to be openly rebellious, academically unserious, morally unsettled and socially over conscious.  They do this by berating their children’s teachers, openly abusing them whenever their kids are being disciplined, questioning them as to whether or not discipline was part of the payment plan; by encouraging them to cheat in school, assuring them of special centres; and by treating them with excessive indulgence.

If you are a student, I will like to tell you the truth. If your parents are using their connections and money to push you ahead, then you have to be rest assured that they have lost faith in you. They do not trust you to pull off at least five credits in your exams, they do not trust you to gain admission on your own, and, more than anybody else, they do not believe that you have the potential to become someone big in life.


But if you are a parent, I will like to ask you one question: Don’t you EVER want to be genuinely proud of your child?

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Schools have, over the years, transformed from being learning centres to business centres. All thanks to covetous school owners. There was a time when learning and schooling were inseparable, like the two sides of a coin, one non-existent without the other. But now, learning has been replaced by a miniature version of schooling, giving everyone a justification for their lack of enthusiasm for going to school.

Because of their love for money more than quality education, school owners employ untrained teachers to teach na├»ve students. Nowadays, they employ fresh secondary school graduates to teach secondary school students; consequently, creating a setback for the system. 

Knowing the importance of quality, but impatient to go through the process, these school owners pay for examination malpractice to ensure their students pass their WAEC. The situation has become so bad that I can hardly not question any good WAEC result I see. And at the end of everything, the student will go out there and confuse physics conductor for bus conductor. Sometimes, I wonder why WAEC should ever be a criteria for admitting students into universities; it should just be post UTME. That way, the school can be sure of the kind of people they enroll.


In destroying the life of other people’s kids, school owners require the expertise of teachers, teachers that help students pass; teachers that do not speak against examination malpractice; teachers that collect money to sit for students; teachers that would rather stay in the dark than be torches that light the paths of their students. These teachers are a curse to the system, to Nigeria.

A friend once told me about a teacher who was sacked for speaking up against examination malpractice. I want to believe the reason for his dismissal was not in his refusal to help students pass, but in the mindset of the school owner who believes that there will be more than enough teachers desperate to fill the position and ready to dance to his whims.

Educational issues are complicated, and for that reason, we have to start tackling them at the level of ideology. We might be right to put blames on the system, but for the sake of national development, we need personal resolutions. Rather than putting unfair and unnecessary blame on the system, we should seek to change ourselves, and, consequently, the system will heal.

Thank you for reading. Please let’s work together in reviving the educational system by sharing this post. And if you have one or two things to add, it will be most welcome.


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