“In the recent years, parents, guardians, academicians and educationists have been lamenting the sharp decline in the performance of our children and wards in the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE). Some reasons for this abysmal performance include poor funding of education by the government at various levels, lack of qualified Nigerian teachers, activities of parents and guardians who often induce teachers to allow their children and wards to cheat during exams, and, of course the apathetic attitude of our Nigerian teachers.
“During my secondary school days, we did not have many professional or trained Nigerian teachers. Most of the teachers were what one would term as ‘passionate’. Some of the teachers who taught mathematics were graduates of civil or mechanical engineering, or survey. Some of the teachers who taught biology were graduates of microbiology, biochemistry or anatomy/physiology. We had a graduate of economics teaching the English language, and a graduate of the French language teaching agricultural science. Even though these teachers weren’t “trained,” they all had one thing in common: the passion pass their knowledge on us students. This passion made them to go extra mile to make sure the students digest, assimilate and imbibe what they taught. This passion was the impetus which made them outstanding. The hallmark of their exploits was result-oriented.
“Today, 90% of “trained” Nigerian teachers teachers in public primary and secondary schools now have had either the National Certificate of Education (NCE), or a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.). Even the privately-owned schools have been compelled to employ “trained” teachers with the above certificates in order to meet up with “standards”.
The overwhelming majority of Nigerian students who sat for the May/June 2014 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) have failed to pass the exercise. Who, or what, is to blame? Naij.com constant guest contributor Hussain Obaro argues that lack of “passionate” Nigerian teachers and obsolete school curricula are the main reasons behind the poor performance of students in the SSCE.
“Yet, there is a sharp decline in the quality and standard of education, which manifests itself through the poor performance of our students. We may have “trained” and “qualified” teachers, but passionate Nigerian teachers are nowhere to be seen.
“To catch up with the rest of the world, improve performance of our students in SSCE, and, indeed, raise the quality and standard of education in Nigeria, we need to put in place a deliberate policy which would de-emphasize “paper” qualification. Instead, Nigerian teachers should be employed based on their passion and enthusiasm for teaching.
“The fact that a teacher has an NCE or B.Ed. certificate does not really translate into his ability to impact knowledge. No matter their courses of study, Nigerian teachers with passion for educating should be encouraged.
“Nigerian education administrators should take advantage of the information and communications technology (ICT) and update their knowledge through training and retraining of Nigerian teachers and academicians in order to meet up with challenges and realities of modern teaching and learning.
“For instance, the State Government of Osun, under the leadership of Governor Rauf Aregbesola have initiated Opón Ìmò (“Tablet of Knowledge”) program. Although some disregard it as mere political propaganda, this might indeed be a step in the right direction to revamp our ailing educational system.Customized tablets programmed in accordance with modern educational requirements are being distributed to students of senior secondary schools.
‘The Federal Ministry of Education should convene a summit to brainstorm on how the Opón Ìmò program could be improved and integrated. Because it is indeed a step in a right direction. Unfortunately, most part of the teaching curriculum used in primary and secondary schools in the 80s and 90s is still being used today. There hasn’t been any significant re-structuring. Elsewhere in the world, there is a constant and periodic review of schools’ curricula which allows for updates at regular intervals.
“We shouldn’t expect our students to perform well in examinations while we continue to teach them almost the same things their parents were taught. In our parents’ times, there were no ICT advancement, DSTV, computer games, and iPhones. Still, we expect an outstanding performance. Education stakeholders should put their heads together to orchestrate a complete overhaul of the Nigerian education curriculum at various levels to be in line with modern challenges and realities. A country is as developed as the level and standard of education of its citizens. The time to act is now!”