What has Butterfly Effect got to do with Nigeria school system abysmal condition?
It all started from the early 1980s, most schools around were government-funded schools and teachers were for the most part of reasonable quality.
Admittedly, federal government is not solely responsible for the failure in the education sector – however, they failed to put strict monitoring system in place to be sure every child should matter. Also to maintain those at decision-making offices are sensitive to local needs.
My niece had all along had thought her mother did not finish secondary school because my family was poor and on top of that her mother can’t cope with academic rigour.
“Whoa, that’s what you thought happened?” I spoke through fits of giggles.
My sister had underestimated how much children make up stories to draw conclusions that make sense for them if adults around failed to share past experiences in a simple way to enlighten.
No, your mother did not stop going to school because my parents were poor. Remember, most people are poor but one thing that people in the south takes great efforts to achieve was education and this is very common with people in the villages and small towns.
Your mother, I explained to my niece, stopped going because in early 80s government decided that educating the masses was not that much important so they stopped funding schools at all levels – giving selected few scholarships to study abroad.
No concern to what happens to local schools, so everyone at all levels of authority did as pleased – social welfare of ordinary citizens amount to little.
Well, it backfired, as it is evidenced today that educating everyone to a quality primary school turned out to be much more important to a successful nation than sponsoring a few thousands to study oversees.
It was 1984, Jibola was looking forward to leaving primary school behind. In my mother’s dream – Jibola was to become a nurse – Moomi had a nurse friend and loved the uniform.
Jibola was given admission to Iyekere Commercial Grammar School, Ile Ife (under new name now) No Modakeke indigene in their right mind would send their child to a school in Ile-Ife because we were at war with each other.
1984 was superficially calm because It was a military regime – uniformed men about town from the north – they don’t speak local language, worked under strict instructions – you cause trouble, they kill, ‘Kill and Go’ they’re called – also we were under curfew.
Oba Sijuade feared Military regime so kept it all under wrap but perpetual killings still went on underground – everybody knows this including children like myself.
My sister’s school was state-funded, this makes no difference to the average person on the street but what it means in reality was that Jibola had to supply her own locker and a chair to take to school because the school is basically a shell.
Preferential treatment even for entering government-funded schools, thousands of school children even locally didn’t have to do this but Jibola had to.
“Ask your mother to show you the two gold bracelets she has,” I told my niece. They were the only leftovers from our mother’s wedding jewellery – Jibola hid them away insisting mother should not sell them to the Mallam (neighbourhood Hausa gold dealer).
Your mother had all her text books, notebooks, pens, tuition and developmental fund paid.
Jibola was determined to face the challenge. Every morning she’d walk about two miles to school, the walk was never the problem but each time she crosses to the other side, she’d panicked holding her breath – never felt completely safe.
It was someone’s job to make sure school allocation is sensitive to the local people’s needs – whoever was in charge underplayed how constant anxieties could easily kill motivation in school children.
“Moomi is going to kill you when she gets home” I told Jibola when I saw her coming home with locker and chair to signal she has had enough.
“Daddy, is home, he’ll protect me” She replied, not very sure but knew she is tired of that school.
My mother was defeated, her dream of a nurse daughter dashed away, she didn’t make any fuss – she saw it coming, only trying too hard to see how far Jibola could go.
My niece has been quiet for a while, I could see her renew appreciation for her mother but being a young woman, she could not help but broke down…
“Oh please, don’t get teary eye on me” I said to my super sensitive 23 year old niece. “Time to start working on Dreams from my Mother, that’ll worth all the tears.”
Oh, least I forget “Your mother’s school shoes was my mother’s 1961 wedding shoes” – Now that’s the whole truth Omo Iya.