DEVELOPING AN INSTRUMENTAL EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM FOR NIGERIA OTTOABASI ABASIEKONG
One of the greatest sectors that a Nation should give priority and full commitment to is the Education sector. The level of Educational development in a Nation determines to an extent how advanced, developed and transformed a Nation will be in the Global scene.
Michael Milken speaking on the American Education system said “The future of our country is not in the boardrooms, but in our classrooms”, this quote gives an insight to the vitality, relevance, effectiveness, dynamism, productivity, efficiency and transformational education can bring to a Nation that values it.
Two years ago at an Education Summit Prof Wole Soyinka the renowned Nigerian Nobel Laureate decried the deteriorating standard and quality of the sector in Nigeria, expressing his fears that the Nigerian Education system is on a downward slope and trend that may pose great dangers for the future development of the great African Nation.
In the past two years Nigeria has not fared well in the West African Examination Council examinations creating a lot of concern for future of the Nation, when students at the secondary level fail woefully in the Senior Secondary exams.
The difference between Nigeria and developed Nations like the U.S and U.K, is that while the latter was constantly upgrading their colleges from primary to tertiary, the former failed to do so and thereby experienced a decline in its Value and Standard.
Ever Since the Signing of the Morill Act in 1862 by Late President Abraham Lincoln in the United States of America that focused on building an education resource for the American Nation, The American Tertiary Institutions have continued to rank amongst the best in the World, because of the continuous upgrade of the Universities.
Universities like Yale, Harvard, Oregon, Alabama, Princeton, Massachussets Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology, and Stanford in America have become World renowned Universities benefitting from this incisive 1862 Morill Act and even over 100 years have continued to be Instruments to Global development because of the continous upgrade.
Looking at the Concept of Developing an Instrumental Educational System for Nigeria, President Bush said during his second term campaign speech in 2004 “America has lost a lot of viable, sound and technology based jobs to India, South Korea, and Singapore, because the development of the Education system has not been sustained”.
The first major area to reform is the primary and secondary education, it is imperative that the Universal Basic Education (UBE) which was designed to give basic education to the primary and secondary school level of education, experience a restructuring that will position it as a vehicle to making the students enterprising and industrious.
Our Unity schools, mission schools and private secondary schools should also benefit from an effective UBE curriculum that should include Financial Education, Talent Development Innovation studies Computer Literacy from the primary 4 class to the Secondary school level.
The Education Trust Fund (ETF) is a good educational fund initiative, but Government must begin to partner with Private sector with a priority focus for funding the following areas in tertiary institutions across the country which include Information Technology Infrastructures that will develop e-libraries in Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education, Colleges of Agriculture, and Universities of Science and Technology.
From Michael Milkem again comes this quote “In the four decades of philanthropy that have paralleled my business career, I've found that the same principles apply whether you're providing access to capital to grow a business, creating a new paradigm for medical research, or pioneering innovative approaches to education : Empower the most talented people in each field to pursue their passions”
Our Political Economic Status as a Consuming Society can only change with a proper reorientation that is borne out from an Investment into a sustainable Instrumental Education system which will move us to a Productive, Innovative and Industrious Society developing the economy.
Bob Brown speaking once on Australia's Education system emphasized that “Australia must prioritize education spending. It is not a question of whether or not we have the money, it is a question of how we choose to spend it”.
This calls for a Monthly review of the PPP involvement in the sector in terms of Infrastructural Development, Investment in Research, Innovation Drive, Talent Management and Financial Intelligence orientation level of Nigerian Students.
President Goodluck Jonathan's new drive for Entrepreneurial Studies to be integrated into the Educational System is a welcome development, but must be structured in a way that will impact positively on the Nation.
If the issue of developing an Instrumental education is given the priority it deserves, then we can be rest assured that Nigeria will be on the path to Socio-economic recovery with the emergence of a new generation that are enterprising, innovative , Industrious and Valuable assets to the Nation.