Whose job is it to revive our education system?

There is a fair amount of expectations on our government especially after decades of neglect in our education sector.

How do we as citizens could best help our government with information on areas that require attention?

Osun state schools especially primary and secondary have seen the most improvement than anytime since the state was created 23 years ago.

New school buildings across the state. Obviously, this is a massive project that most people are deeply appreciative of.

We do need more fit-for purpose schools to accommodate our growing population, however given the finite budget for education or any project for that matter, realistically we could not have all new constructions, however we can renovate existing structures and bring the old glory back to our land, one school at a time.

My old primary school is on a major road, Ondo road. Since I left the school in the 1980’s I have always wondered why the same structure has not seen maintenance ever since.

However small, surely there must have been some annual renovation budget for the school. So this time, I thought I’d stop by to see my old ‘spot’ in class six B.

Just approaching the building I realised not only has the building not seen any improvement but it has now been turned to public toilet – literally.

No government, no matter how brilliant could solve all of our accumulated issues with wave of a wand – this has to bother everyone around as well before it can be a priority.

CAC Oke Aanu Primary School Akarabata, Ondo Road

DSC_6651 This building here to the left was used for primary five  and six in 1984/5. Now just rotten away.

DSC_6652

The once class six C  is now a dumpsite and a toilet. I saw a middle aged woman just finishing up her  ‘business’ as I walked up, I suppose she saw me first otherwise I would have waited – no point been a nuisance.

What’s the church business in this?

The pictures above are about 20 feet away from the minister’s accommodation so it is not far fetched to assume the rubbish here came from the occupants of the Mission House.

It is very common to have schools attached to churches especially if the church is centrally located and has land to spare (usually sold to the government). Government maintains such schools. This is the case with CAC Oke Aanu Akarabata.

DSC_6654

To some degree, the church used to work collaboratively with the school to maintain high standard.

From what I saw, this has not been the case for a very long time.

Luckily I met a young man in front of the Mission House who was surprised that the building was once used as classrooms. He didn’t even know that the basement of the church was once rooms for primary 3A & B neither – well, that is now a pond for more garbage and frogs.

After a few minutes wander, I was convinced the school is no longer being used but to my surprise, a few one level buildings are still being used for classrooms.

Really? Where do pupils sit then? I asked the man. He gestured to the left. To the area he pointed at – I saw perforated corrugated roofs, I feared to ask the same question over again, so left and thanked him for the time.

Renovating existing structures of this school and the likes across the state will be a lot cheaper and together we can have schools to be proud of.

Here, I also pondered on the idea of education vs. religion.



Categories: Africa, Education, Nigeria

Tags: , , , ,

21 replies

  1. I saw this clip and remembered this article.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-32608772

    If not for you (and a handful of others) raising issues like this, I think Nigeria will really be down-graded to the 4th world (as opposed to the current 3rd world).

    You will see that Ghana placed last. Fortunately, Nigeria was spared public humiliation by not being included. We all know that without education or poor education the future is indeed bleak.

    Failure to meet the challenges of education will mean that Nigeria can never hope to improve the situation for its people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for this link, there is the proof.

      You would laugh at this tweet:

      “NIGERIA STUDENT NEWS ‏@NigeriaStudent1 14h14 hours ago
      We are concerned over the quality of universities Nigerian students attend in West Africa, especially in GHANA – Prof J. Okojie, Ex Sec, NUC”

      A Prof concerned about quality of universities in Ghana, what happens to ours?

      Glad for Ghana. Very soon, they’ll start refining our oil too.

      Like

      • Ghana is resilient and due to the efforts of Rawlings, they have developed a ‘can do’ attitude. I’ve no doubt they will self-correct and move on.

        Education is freedom, we have seen how Singapore was once regarded as a backwater, now it one of the key players in the world.

        Education must be taken seriously, not gimmicks or stunts, simple consistent, solid high standards. Even if it means sending a delegation to learn more and bring those ideas back to “kick start” the catching up process.

        We can’t rely on oil indefinitely as Senator Murray-Bruce wisely pointed out. Rather than pay disproportionate high fees for technology, or at best settle for out-dated and redundant technology, Nigeria has to really decide what path to follow to be a consumer (as is currently the case) or develop sustainable initiatives. Why not follow the latter like South Korea?

        Liked by 1 person

        • See what Rawlings did re ‘House cleaning’? May not be the most humane way of dealing with the stiff dried fish that refused to bend, but did the job for them and set some standard.

          Nigeria will never do that. We know the problem, but willing to dancing around it, hence the norm to blindly defend using tribe when in reality we have enough people from all tribes to pay for their actions.

          Follow SK footsteps? I think it could work very well for us long term, people can really be creative making do with what they have. This will work well when there is transparency with leadership so all control is for the common good.

          In a way, the dwindling oil price is a good wake up call, it can not be any worse for those already on the ground…

          Like

  2. FK
    Good to see you leading by example and acting as a responsible citizen.

    Education is something that can’t be left to chance. I think we can all agree it is vitally important, that being the case. then local taxes will have to be levied to pay for the improvements. If people don’t want to pay, then they should be prepared to tolerate the sub-standard conditions that currently exist.

    Additionally local initiatives can be adopted, like cultivating some of the (school) land for food production, some of the produce can be sold and that money used to improve the school. Parents can form associations &, help raise funds for their schools.

    What you said about renovating older schools makes sense, it is definitely cheaper than building a brand new school.

    Some important things you mentioned, I realise they aren’t the focus, that is why you only mentioned them in passing.
    1) Even if a building is abandoned, that is no excuse to use it as a toilet or a rubbish dump. This unordered method of waste and rubbish disposal is not only dangerous but also primitive and sets a bad example. This is not how we want our schools or anywhere else for that matter to be in the future. Why is hygiene given such “short shrift”?
    2) The school environment is meant to be conducive to learning, who will want to hang around a rubbish dump or a place that smells of human faeces?

    What does the local minister of education for Osun (state) have to say about the state of disrepair? Why can’t pay be linked to performance, so poor performance merits low pay for the ministers and their staff?

    Good topic, it is these kind of questions that hopefully will lead to improvements.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You see, sometimes I don’t think I get my people, I just don’t understand many of our attitudes, especially regarding a public building being used as a rubbish dump. If it was a private property I can see people actively preventing anyone throwing rubbish there calling them ‘arungun’ (someone who lacks knowledge of how hard it is to create wealth) even if the owner wasn’t there, however, public properties often get this treatment and nobody thinks it is an offence.

      Minister of Education? I am not sure any of our schools have anyone that visits anymore. It is all complicated as everyone is so defensive saying, it has been that way before they took office.
      We have Commissioner for Ed, she is also the deputy to the governor. I believe given the rot in our education system, we all just have to play a little role but that will only happen if we are all on the same page.

      Local taxation will work wonder especially if includes every working adult. Policing might be a bit tricky, especially for market men/women, but can be done. People will shout but the truth is when they realised the benefit and also fund been put back for public good, people will relax. Even if this taxes focus for now on education, that will be a great start.

      Like

      • We can’t have a situation whereby those at the top (ministers) dodge their responsibilities and those at the bottom (the working public) run from theirs, this state of affairs leads to the results that you brought to our attention. As you have said we all need to be pulling in the same direction. Without a coming together this is tantamount to abandoning the children to their own fate and hence no improvement.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yea, but you’ve just said what the whole problem is about. LOL.

          A tale for you: My inlaw once told of a pastor who was ‘blessed’ by his state governor with a gift of 10M naira for getting the church votes, it was a big deal with radio announcement and church thanking God. The same crowd wondered where the governor spent the rest of the state allocation…

          I suppose one way of seeing this is that people get what they deserve, however, over the years I realise many people realistically do not know what is best for them any more unless it is force on them.

          This is the weak area that public officials are exploiting.

          Like

          • Apologies for the redundancy.

            Hopefully in this internet era, and more people being informed, and blogs such as yours. The age of flagrant duping of the masses will come to an end.

            Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it is but really it is the same case in all of our regions hence we have so many sub standard private schools – guess it is a job on its own to raise awareness…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sub-standard private schools indeed…
        I hear folks here rightly complain about the poor standards of our public schools, but I go to the some of the so called “better” private schools they put their kids in and I want to puke from sheer disgust. With the amount some of these people pay to educcate their children in these schools, they are better off hiring private tutors at home.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You are very right. I had better public school state education than many private schools today. For example, my sister pays 15k naira/term for her 5 year old private sch – supposedly one of the few best in town. When I visited, I thought Naija really don pafuka! The classroom was packed like eja sardines.
          However, according to my sister, it is still one of the few best and hope to keep up with the fee.

          No, kidding my classroom in the was 10x better in the late 70s. No country can survive like this. Private schools was supposed to be a little bit better in terms of extra curricular activities but today everyone sets their own standard, given quality education is expensive hence it is government job to provide this for the people, even if they have to pay a bit, it is still a lot better than the ‘hole’ we are subjected to today.

          See, when they complain about the poor standard of public schools, they are talking about the likes of the picture I have above and also the fact that some teachers now when you see them in the morning you wonder if they were going to Oshodi to sell merchandise or go to classroom to teach. (Remember Edo teacher who cannot read a simple note? Courtesy of Oshiomole).

          But all in all, there’s need for overhaul in our education system – really sad but I think what my governor is doing is a very good start, building fit for purpose structures for schools.

          And government must stop owing teachers, just doesn’t make any sense – wahala country!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. The onus of reviving our education system lies on every Nigerian- government, private organisations, individuals, churches, mosques, communities, all of us. It cannot be left to one group alone. Take your almer mata for instance, that community, the church and even you the old students can turn it around. Collective effort!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you completely, actually the only way to bring back what Nigeria education used to be will have to be collective efforts.

      If we were to get anywhere and being honest, we have people who are paid to be in charge of these failing schools – they must do their jobs first and foremost. The headteacher in this particular school gets to provide administrative role which include maintaining conducive learning environment for pupils – he/she must earn the pay.

      There are several layers of inspectors on payroll, how can they not see this?

      As a community volunteer, I would be glad to pay my due to contribute anytime (and I do, maybe can do more) but I don’t want to clean any minister’s crap. The church should be held responsible to clean its own garbage.

      To avoid needless confrontation is why we have a government, so they visit and enforce law then community volunteer would be happy to help.

      Liked by 1 person

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