By Ayodele Fagbohun
The much orchestrated education summit has come and not completely gone as its impact will continue to linger on and be felt for some time to come.
For fear of being rendered as mere academic exercise, its outcome has generated some hear, controversies, comments pleasant or otherwise from concerned stakeholders.
This is a welcome development and the end result which in the ultimate will serve as modus operandi to move the all important education sector forward.
For instance, the communiqué released on the summit that recommends the funding of the post primary institutions solely on the parents and guardians the latters regard this as another burden too much for parents and guardians as a result of the present harsh economic reality which deprives them of their legitimate earnings from the government over the years.
How would they have the mean to fund the education of their wards and at the sametime fend for themselves in the face of this stark and grim financial predicament.
As far as we are concerned on this vexed issue the state government should not abdicate its primary responsibility of funding education, nay the primary school education which is pivotal and strategic to the other levels of education.
The state government must induce all stakeholders that worth their salt across the state to accede to the clarion call of funding education and make same functional and accessible to the people.
For any reason whatsoever if government should go laissez-faire and somewhat lackadaisical that parents alone must fund education. It may not be healthy for the discipline of the pupils. More pupils will drop out of school system.
Besides, the significance of post primary institutions cannot be over-emphasised in the 6-3-3-4 “American” stereotyped system of education that we imitate. Most of our secondary schools designed to be comprehensive are only doing so in name. They lack basic infrastructure, required personnel and state of the arts to any proper and effective training in vocational and technical studies. Most schools have no pilot farms for the practice of agricultural science.
We are of the strong view that mega school is a frag, anachronism which must be discarded outright and the structures converted to the training of computer and allied vocational technical courses in the junior secondary’s school. This will surely complement the efforts of our poorly equipped and derelict technical colleges across the state.
Again, the curriculum in the secondary schools should be developed to accommodate the widest scope of learning and scholarship be it moral and religious to enable and guide students in the choice of their courses when seeking admission into various tertiary institutions.
In this connection, the government must prioritise the teaching of religious education. Christian Religions knowledge (CRK) and Islamic religion should take a pride of place in the school curriculum to dis-abuse the minds of the onward public and to explode the rumour mill and myth surrounding the wicked lie that President Mohammad Buhari’s administration is heading towards islamisation of the country.
The agents and sponsors of religious bigotry and destabilisation are the enemies of Nigeria. They will surely quail at the might of their strength as the country shall remain inviolable and indivisible secular state.
The study of history must be re-introduced and amplified to enable the students in the grammar schools have a wider horizon about contemporary and global issues. This will be a deliberate policy to rekindle the flames of patriotism and nationalism already to whittle down good governance and the urge for self determination shortly after independence and sequel to the rude military incursion into politics.
The military in a clever manner to perpetuate their illegal regime discountenanced the study of history in our secondary schools to brainwash the students and the people alike and to put the whole nation in the dark to know and comprehend the evils and enmity of coups detat alongside its violent upheavals which the student of history imparts.
Without the requisite personnel by way of enough trained teachers to gap round all the classrooms,. All spirited effort of government and stakeholders to rejig education to its top form will be sound and fury’ signify nothing.
On this note, the Quality Education Assurance Agency should be scrapped and be incorporated into inspectorate division, Ministry of the Education for the avoidance of unnecessary duplication of duties.
Most of the staff in the agency were hastily recruited from the teaching field on fake assurance and bait to offer them juicy special salary scale which never was and uncovered the nakedness of the schools.
These teachers must be drafted to the classrooms to day to save teaching its pedagogy from imminent collapse.
This paper insists that government must not be under the duress, cajolery or any pressure to abandon free education programme. In the interim state government if necessary should impose a progressive education levy on the entire work force, viable business premises, individuals groups that benefit from government patronage.
The proceeds realized must be sparingly and diligently utilized, channeled towards identified area of vital need that demands urgency.
Government must discontinue some extraneous propagandist devices in deceiving parents like provision of free shuttle Bus, a drain on the lean financial resources accrue to the state.
The free education policy must be retained and pursued vigorously as it is in vogue in the advanced and other fast developing economies as well. It is the only and surest way to put Ondo State and our economy on the fast lane of progress and modernity.
Fagbohun write from Akure.