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'Paper' qualification should be de-emphasized

06 June 2016, 14:12 Hussain Obaro

 In the recent years, parents, guardians, academicians and educationists have been lamenting the sharp decline in the performance of their students, children and wards in the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE), National Examinations Council (NECO), Unified Tertiary Matriculations Exams (UTME) and other examinations. However, some reasons have been given for these abysmal performances which includes: poor funding of education by government at various level, lack of qualified teachers, activities of parents and guardians who often induce and/or coarse teachers into allow their children and wards to cheat during exams, and, of course the apathetic attitudes of our teachers which ranges from abandoning their duty post to attend to personal businesses during official hours, sending students out to hawk when they are supposed to be in class, sending students to their farms at schools hours etc.                   

During my school days in the 80’s and early 90’s we didn’t have many of the so called “professional” or “trained” teachers. Some teachers who taught mathematics were either graduates of civil/mechanical engineering or survey; it was common to find graduates of microbiology, biochemistry and physiology teaching biology. We had a graduate of economics who taught English language, and a graduate of the French language who taught us agricultural science. Even though these teachers weren’t “trained” or “qualified” they all had one thing in common; the passion and enthusiasm to pass knowledge on the students. This passion made them to go extra mile to ensure the students digests, assimilates and imbibes what is taught. Their enthusiasm and passion for impacting knowledge was the impetus which made them outstanding and their exploits result-oriented.                                                                                                            

Today, over 90 percent of “trained” and “qualified” teachers teaching in primary and post-primary schools are holders of either a National Certificate of Education (NCE), or a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.). Even the privately-owned schools are being compelled to only recruit trained teachers with the above qualifications in order to meet up with standards, yet the sharp decline in the quality and standard of education which has continue to manifests through poor performance of students in examinations and in the low quality of graduates have persisted and continued to ravage the Nigerian educational system. Obviously, we may now have “trained” and “qualified” teachers; passionate and enthusiastic teachers are nowhere to be found owing to the emphases on paper and certificate qualification.                                                                       

To catch up with the rest of the world and restore the good old days of the Nigerian education system which will lead into improve performance of students, and, the need to put in place a deliberate policy which will de-emphasize paper-qualification is inevitable at this point in time. Teachers should be employed based on passion and enthusiasm for the job, ability to impact knowledge should be the yardstick rather than being a holder of a certificate of education. The fact that a person has an NCE or B.Ed does not really translate into his ability to impact knowledge. After all, many of the early missionaries who brought basic education into Nigeria didn’t have education certificates. No matter their course of study, Nigerians with passion for teaching should be encouraged to take up the job.                                                                      

Nigerian education administrators should take advantage of information and communication technology (ICT) and update teachers’ knowledge through training and retraining in order to meet up with the challenges and realities of modern teaching and learning. For instance, the government of the state of Osun, has initiated the “Opón Ìmò” (Tab-of-Knowledge) programme in which specially customized ipads already programmed in accordance with modern educational curricula are being distributed to students of senior secondary schools. This might indeed be a step in the right direction at further revamping our ailing educational system. The Federal Ministry of Education should convene a summit of experts to brainstorm on how the Opón Ìmò programme could be improved and integrated, because it is indeed a step in a right direction.                                                                                                                    

Unfortunately, the teaching curriculum used in the Nigerian schools in the 80s and 90s is still being used today. There hasn’t been any significant review and restructuring to meet up with modern challenges and requirements. Elsewhere in the world there are 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 when there were no ICT advancement, DSTV, computer games, and iPhones, Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, twitter etc. Education stakeholders should put heads together to orchestrate a complete overhaul of the Nigerian education curricula at various levels in line with modern realities. A country is as developed as the level and standard of education of its citizens. The time to act is now!

- MyNews24

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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