Opinion: Education scam of the ‘flashy’ government

by Abdullahi Aborode

Breaking News: Five hundred (500) new laptops to be purchased by the state government on behalf of students to boost the education sector!

Comments: ‘Wow, the governor is nice’ ‘Oh my God, this is a real governor unlike the previous one’ ‘God bless the Governor for this great act’ ‘We will never vote the opposition party, this party really cares’…

These are the sort of irritating comments one gets accustomed to every time any of our “performing governors” pulls a fast one on us. Nigerians are so starved of good governance that building a borehole next to a pit latrine will amount to praises for the leader and the usual “at least he did something” chorus follows suit. We are so deprived of good leadership options that we vote in the “better devil”. Shall we continue to go round this cycle?

We fail to understand that governance has no other end but SERVICE. Yes! That is why we voted them in; but our society treads the direct opposite, they beg us, ‘bribe’ us, and promise us heaven and earth when canvassing our votes, the story changes when these folks get into power, we suddenly need to beg or worship them to fulfil the requirements of their jobs; they’ll commission a borehole and expect the people to unite in praise singing – thanking them for a job well done. We feed them, pay for their medicals and train their kids, while ours starve and lack proper and quality education.  We continue with the praises despite these obvious societal deficiencies.

I have a problem with the misplaced priority of these leaders and the political tricks employed on gullible Nigerians. What is the essence of buying laptops for students that don’t have conducive learning environments? What purpose will these laptops serve for students that are deficient in the art of proper English tenses? There is a systematic poisoning of our education sector by the ruling elite in order to prevent the upcoming generation from acquiring the knowledge to fight for their rights.

How did we get here? If the masses are properly educated and know their rights, it will be very difficult for the cabals at the helm of government parastatals to cripple our society, hence they decided to poison the education sector in order to suppress us. Now what do we get? We have half-baked graduates and educated illiterates as our ‘future’ leaders. Let me break the news to you that we are not the future leaders, the future leaders are the kids and grand kids of the cabals bastardising our future and society.

With the rot faced in our education system, a well meaning leader will focus on the basics,  investing in proper and standard education, he would focus on where we got it all wrong and then salvage the ill education sector. Rather, they use our sorry state as an avenue to amass more ill-gotten wealth.

Do they actually think we are all fools, with the Freedom Of Information act we should know who the supply of these laptops and gadgets’ are being contracted to, we should know the interest of our leaders and their relationship with the winner of the contract, we should know what steps and evaluation were taken before they arrived at the figure they allocated the budget for, questions should be asked and answered!

I have been to various government primary and secondary schools (let us leave the tertiary institutions for another day), they are nothing but a 17th century poultry houses disguised as classrooms; ageing buildings, broken seats and tables, no windows, some don’t even have chalkboards, yet our leaders boast of buying laptops and call it ‘one child per laptop policy’. Instead of wasting our resources, why not put the following into place?

  • Renovate and furnish the existing school buildings: Many of us that attended our public schools (as they are popularly called) or have relations attending these schools will agree with me that they don’t look appealing. There’s a psychological effect on pupils/students when they see the bad state their schools are in, when they perceive terrible odours emanating from the bush around their school compound or when they realise they will have to stand all through the class just to learn.
  • Ø  The number of students recommended by UNESCO for a single classroom irrespective of size is 40 maximum. Teachers should know every student in their classes, their assimilation capability and their abilities, this way teaching and learning will be made easier, unfortunately our classes are overcrowded, what is our government doing to this respect? NOTHING!
  • Ø  Our educational system can adopt project oriented teaching techniques, and through projected oriented learning, pupils can begin to get acquainted with real life situations where many unforeseen incidences occur. Thus, they develop personal initiative and problem solving techniques. Hence, become Leaders in their own way.
  • Essential learning equipments and instruments should be provided: Our leaders travel abroad, some of them studied abroad. They know how important education is  and how much foreign governments spend on educational facilities, we need projectors in classes, magic boards, chalkboards, whiteboards, science equipments to aid learning, adequate seats and tables and a host of essential equipments.
  • State of the art libraries: This is where the laptops/computers are needed, they should invest on libraries and e-libraries, students should have access to their notes by using the school library or the state libraries. At least every ward should have a standard library, that way the education sector is being boosted. Not only students should have access to the library, every legal citizen should have access to these libraries as education shouldn’t be limited to classrooms only.
  • Vocational Schools: The government should ensure that our vocational schools are up and running, well equipped and well funded. We have youths that are naturally skilled in certain aspects of life, the vocational school will go a long way in propelling them to the future they desire and they will indeed be useful to the society at large.
  • Benchmark for teachers: Teachers should undergo proper screening and assessments before being assigned to classes. Nowadays; O level graduates teach, there’s no benchmark or proper assessment to this effect, this isn’t right! This really needs to be looked into and a way to stabilise our education sector should emerge.
  • Appreciate our teachers: This is a vital one, our teachers have lost the zeal to impact knowledge, they are not adequately paid and their inadequate pay is delayed most times. They seem to have lost that stellar touch due to lack of passion. Teachers should be valued and properly taken care of by the government. A teacher should earn more that politicians! There shouldn’t be an argument on that.

If these few outlined points are put into practice, with our leaders jettisoning their culture of theft and misplaced priorities, our education sector will emerge into a glorious yardstick for Africa and we can proudly claim the accolades “GIANTS of Africa” offers.

I may be wrong you may be right! I may be right you may be wrong! I stand to be corrected!

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Abdullahi Aborode tweets from @abdulahiaborode.

 

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

 

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