By Maria Famakinwa
Findings have shown that most schools (public and private) are not taking extra -curricular activities especially quiz and debate seriously as it was in the past. Few schools that organized quiz and debate for their students before had since jettisoned the good idea thus focusing on classroom activities alone which most times make learning boring.
Co-curricular activities are the outside activities from the regular curriculum programmes of the school system but inter-related and correlated programmes for the holistic development of the students.
Debate and quiz aside which assist to relieve the stress and tension of daily work routine also help to improve and expand the knowledge of learners as well as inculcating fun and active participation among students.
One of the primary educational objectives of schools is teaching critical thinking skills and no class performs this better than a strategic debate and quiz. Some of the respondents who spoke with The Hope on the topic blame our faulty educational system for the problem and pleaded with relevant authorities to revive debate and quiz in the nation’s schools.
An educationist, Mr Taye Iwalewa, who observed that many things are wrong with our educational system called on the Federal Government to find lasting solution to this important sector of the country so that our future hope will on a solid foundation. “Many things are wrong with our educational system so, we should not focus on quiz and debate alone. True learning can only take place when things are in order and the same problem is affecting the continuity of quiz and debate in schools.
“Schools debate and quiz help to provide feedback to teachers because when students answer questions or try to explain a particular concept in a discussion, enable teachers to gauge their level of understanding then, correcting what they have not gotten right or what they fail to see clearly.”
Iwawela while appealing to school management to bring back quiz and debate in primary and secondary schools added that most students especially the slow learners gain a lot from it.
A private school teacher who simply gave her name as Mrs. Anuoluwapo agreed that most schools are no longer organizing debate and quiz because they did not allocate time for it in the school time table and it will be difficult for any teacher to do otherwise.
Her words: “Teachers strictly follow what is on the school time table for the day and it will be difficult to use another period for quiz and debate but if the time table can be adjusted to accommodate quiz and debate teachers have no option but to comply. No one can play down the importance of quiz and debate in aiding learning among students.
“Quiz serves as the purpose of a brief assessment to test the skills, abilities and knowledge of students while debate improve the verbal communication skills of students and also helps students who have stage fright to overcome such challenge and speak without fear.”
Anuoluwapo who further observed that organizing quiz and debate in schools will help students to be better prepared for future academic challenges called for adjustment in the school time tables be in order to create time for it.
A secondary school student, Miss Adewumi Adetona who also wants quiz and debate to be revived in schools said that it helps students to see learning as fun and gain more knowledge. She also revealed that some of the topics in school debates most times come out in external examinations like West African Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO) among others which serves as a bonus to the students because such topics have been treated before.
“There was a particular topic that came out in WAEC two years ago when my sister sat for her WAEC examination which was debated in the television thank God that my sister noted the points and corrections made on that day which helped her to make credit in English Language. Debate and quiz can also help many students in making good grades in their internal and external examinations.
“Debate offers students the opportunity in critical thinking, development of their academic research skills, improvement in their communication abilities and providing solutions to problems in a most creative way as well as increasing students self confidence. Both the teachers and students will benefit in school debate and quiz and this also helps to improve the nation’s educational sector.”
A parent, Mr. Clement Adeolu, blamed the dying culture of quiz and debate in schools on the fact that teachers welfare had gone comatose and appealed to stakeholders in education ministry to compensate teachers for their efforts. “Teachers already have more than enough work load to attend to yet their input is never recognized.
“What is being done to improve the welfare packages for teachers? This is not peculiar to a particular state alone, it is a general problem. Teaching is a noble profession but the way teachers are being treated make the job unattractive. That explains why most of them are not committed to the job.
“Like many other parents, I will also appreciate it if schools debate and quiz can be re-introduced in both primary and secondary schools because they provide opportunities for students to interact among themselves, catch fun and learn in a friendly environment. Debate and quiz have offered generation of privileged student tremendous academic benefits that are outcome of training in persuasion, rhetoric, argument, and organised communication which I am a beneficiary of. I am appealing to the relevant stakeholders in the education ministry to as a matter of urgency take drastic steps to discuss the way forward in saving our educational system from imminent collapse.”
The man said further that if teachers are treated the way they should, they will be happy to put in extra efforts in achieving the desired results.