St. Jonathan Goodluck Primary School Aso Rock
Monkey smart, monkey smart na because tree near tree. But soon dem go deforest the bush. Dat day no go sweet o. Bini Proverb
In the last few weeks the political atmosphere has been blowing hot and cold. The nation has continued to witness all sorts of climate change, with the PDP and its bunch of rascals at the helm of affairs, we have been living witnesses to the end of what Soyinka described as 'spousal abuse'. Jonathan continues to take advice from both friends and foes, good and bad ones too.
He has continued to take wobbly steps, some good steps in the wrong direction and then some very wrong steps in the right direction. He has in few weeks been to US, France, Jeddah, Gombe, Port Harcourt, he has been to Ibadan for Akala's owamba birthday bash, and his wife has not been left out as she went on a 'personal visit' to Dubai, Lebanon and back.
The National Assembly has also not shown any form of remorse or repentance as they continue to show their disdain for Nigerians...one law for us, more money for us. Soon they would be getting paid for sitting in Abuja instead of the UK. Already they have spent over N452 billion of tax payers' money to maintain themselves for the past nine years.
Three paragraphs gone and really what has all these got to do with the school Jonathan attended.
I asked a friend to go write WAEC or NECO at least in sciences because the next diet of these exams represents the best opportunity to pass without necessarily exerting too much energy on reading. Why he asked...? My answer "the government has set up a committee and instructed the bodies to address the mass failure witnessed in the last exams".
A week later in an exclusive chat with a topshot in one of the exam bodies he told me that the mandate by the government was an easy one. First they would request for money for sitting and cars and all the logistics and then secondly instruct the examiners to just "mark and pass" liberally and their job is done. Simple and short!
Was I bewildered, are you surprised, does it sound unbelievable...the questions are so many. However this is Nigeria, the land of all sorts of possibilities, just have faith and goodluck will come your way.
While we concern ourselves with the happenings in the polity, we simply brush aside some of the major problems bedevilling our society. We pay lip service to our educational system that is going rot every day.
We are largely concerned whether Jonathan does contest or not, but we are less concerned regarding what blueprint he has or anyone for that matter has for the education sector. Mass failure has become a norm, even as our ivory towers are going the way of the primary schools (extinct).
A friend stated that in the next decade the likes of UI, Unilag and Nsukka may actually be treated as 'public' universities only fit for 'we-we', as 'dem-dem' would have their kids attending the 'real thing'.
Apart from affordability no one is concerned about the number of Nigerians leaving the shores of the country for higher education to obscure institutions in Cyprus, Bombay, Mozambique and all the satellite campus trash selling certificates in our country.
I know a friend's son that just came back after acquiring a B.sc in architecture from some two story building university in Kiev or wherever and yet could not draw a plan for a village hut. Or the one that went to learn music in some Scandinavian place and told an interview panel that Mozart was an actor...he may be right after all (a musical actor).
I gathered that there was legislation on the way for politicians, legislators and public office holders to make sure their wards attended public schools. But off course such legislation never get speedy hearing, in the event it is even read on the floor, it is thrown out instantly.
Jonathan, Goodluck, PDP, 2011, PAC, IBB, INEC, CAMPAIGN, CONTESTANTS, FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS, these are some few phrases, names, abbreviations for now. The question is where do we place education in all of these?
It is true that the easiest way to fool an African nay Nigerian is to put it in words. Indeed very debateable but we are politicking at the expense of a nation's future. And the numbers are alarming...more Nigerians are dropping out of school for numerous reasons, more graduates spend average of 12 months more than the required to complete a course of study. You get into school as a kid and come out a full adult. Less and less young people attend colleges of education meaning less and less of teachers, infact teaching has becoming a 'circumstantial' profession, A wetin man go do job.
University of Jos is two sessions off mark, same with many in that league, while the politics of selecting Vice Chancellors continue in others. I cannot recall one public good achieved by the last general strike in the educational sector.
Meet a Nigerian well above 50, he recounts his educational pursuit from primary to university with nostalgia, fond memories of the 'good old days' when teachers were in their 'teacher chike short knickers', when we went to school with hoes, and cutlasses, did home economics, and not now when one paid several thousand as part of fees for private primary schools that provide computer via one table desktop that has a Windows79
I have refused to delve into the arena of the teachers, the environment, infrastructure but they are equally part of the same side of the coin in the dilapidated state of our education.
Numerous summits, conferences, strikes, mouth watering promises but very little substances, at the recently concluded NUT 'qudruwhatever' conference they lamented the state of infrastructure, unmotivated and unqualified teachers, total neglect of the primary school system. Sadly no one is listening; instead we are 'Jonathaning'.
At the Secondary level, the verdict is overwhelming a complete failure courtesy of WAEC, NECO, JAMB and the so-called post JAMB fraud.
Our ivory towers have become dumping grounds for all sorts...rape; cultism, gangsterism, handoutism, female sleepism and abuse by male lecturers are just few of the ills plaguing the system.
All is not well with our political structure, the money is there but since Gowon's time we have been struggling to get it right as we still do not know what to do with it. Which is why we will be spending 10billion Naira for independence party and our kids go uneducated.
I end by saying like I began, monkey smart, monkey smart na because tree near tree. But soon dem go deforest the bush. Dat day no go sweet o. Jonathan attended public school o...but will he allow his kids attend public school today, soon that day would come when tree go far from tree, all of us monkeys will not be any smarter than we are now. Goodluck to us!
By Prince Charles Dickson, Jos, Plateau