On minister of education

Speaking of the new ministers, it is fascinating seeing how quickly we choose to forget just about anything. Many of the appointed ministers were criticised not for any other reasons than their paper qualifications in the area they were appointed to lead.

In the last decade alone, we have had many public officials with fine degrees from both Nigeria and all around the world, the only thing that is common across board is the ability to drain the nation of all its limited resources. I am sure there were competent handfuls that went in to do their jobs diligently but those were in the minority.

My favourite ministry for a long time is education, I have never understood what the job of a Minister of Education was and neither did I understand the job of the Commissioner for Education at the state level. Reason being that since I was in secondary school the most exciting news about schools from primary to tertiary levels had been about teachers’ salary or strike actions.

Is Mallam Adamu Adamu an Accountant turned journalist the best for the job of Minister of Education? I don’t know but given that since 1958, Nigeria has gone through 45 different ministers with different credentials befitting the office and yet same story, I don’t think Adamu Adamu can be any worse.

Several years ago, my boss took me along to visit someone he intended to partner with in town, the man was a medical doctor who was interested in investing in entrepreneurship. As we sat down talking, he called his daughter to get us some drinks, then introduced her, my boss and the man’s daughter exchanged greetings.

She turned out to be my mate in secondary school that I have not seen since our convocation seven years prior, we exchanged greetings and chatted a bit. She was still at Med School and I just finished College of Education and had started working.

On the way back my boss was surprised I knew the family. I told him I did not know them at all but the girl and I spent six years of our lives in the same secondary school.

This was not so long ago, it was not one of our grandparents stories. What was unique in our public schools in the mid 1980s was that wealthy and educated parents send their children to the same schools children of farmers and less well off – it was an incredible diverse mix of talents and class.

How did I managed to get into the same secondary school as children of the wealthy and university professors in town?

It started from primary school.

Trying to remember one thing that was different at the time and had eroded due to lack of funding or outright mismanagement of limited resources. I remember that in my first two years of school, our reading books were carefully selected and were given to each child at the beginning of the term to take home for homework, so children whose parents can not afford buy books are not left out, the books were returned at the end of the term.

The same primary school today despite the location on a busy main road has not seeing any maintenance in 30 years.

My secondary school was a formal missionary school and at the time still enjoys government maintenance funding and school developmental levy pent on intended purposes – that is what attracted children from varied background.

The same school today is a shell of its old self.

And yet we have always had departments for Ministry of Education at the federal level and Commissioners at the state levels.

Mallam Adamu Adamu is from NE where 52.4% male and 62.1% female are not educated. To put this into context SW has 11.6% Male and 17% female lacking basic education. 

What is obvious is that NE will be attracting lots of attention in all areas given Boko Haram presence, but the question we should be concerned with is how he is going to balance his official assignment to the nation so that the rest the country where public education had been neglected for decades get needed attention both from him and at the state levels.

Maybe rather than “hitting the ground running” the first assignment should be to make unannounced visits to random public schools to know the extent of rot he had to deal with.


Categories: Education, Nigeria

Tags: , , , , ,

13 replies

  1. Just yesterday I was at a School Management Board meeting. My Church Own’s a school & only members with the educational backgrounds get nominated to be in the management board. I just wonder how much we would have achieved in our modest effort if we were not a body of professionals in Education. You just can’t properly manage something you are not trained to, it is not ideal. The advanced world we love to emulate don’t do that. The best minds are place in the highest offices in their fields. Your experience in a mission school says it all. The most achievement Nigeria has had in education (at least at the basic & secondary level) was under the watch of the missionary. The take over of the mission schools by government was a horrible mistake.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Misguided views, isn’t it? So one must have academic degrees like Mr & Mrs Jona to be nominated…uhmn.

      Totally with you on the haste of taken over mission schools, I think it should have been done gradually then let them exit after we have learned the ropes.

      Let’s hope Adamu Adamu has team in place to get out of their offices, into the field. I believe fixing primary and secondary schools should take priority.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Totally agree…. Primary & secondary schools should be first point of call. All this talk of improving the quality of teachers is rubbish. The qualified teachers are very much available right now. The solution to that aspect of the larger problem is strict and continuous inspections for the teaching staff. It is as simple as that. That is the major difference between the past & the present. Everyone has heard or read of the Schools’ inspector on bicycles. We need those sorts back.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Agreed Aboki. Even I remember school inspectors in primary school, they came unannounced to do their job.

          Yea, they talk about loads of rubbish…I know if you pay Nigeria professors 1M naira/second, nothing will change, real change will only come if strict inspection is enforced.

          Oh my other pet peeve – it is only Nigeria that will sponsor professors to fly all over the world researching topics that western profs have researched to T – why not spend fund to research compelling causes in our own alley?

          Liked by 1 person

          • My big time retired, many-times-VC, Professor uncle will love you for that observation. He has not stopped going on & on about this waste of money in the name research.

            I don’t know how we think in this country? We keep going on about our politicians being corrupt when in the actual sense of it even the most learned minds in the country are worse at finding ways to steal public funds.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Education is one sector that is dear to my heart and until we as a Nation take our education sector seriously, we shall remain in the doldrums. When you feed the mind appropriately, you feed the Nation.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Our educational system is in bad shape too. It seems that more money goes into teachers salaries than what is necessary for the students, such as good text books etc. The teachers seem to be in a continuous prestrike state. It is as if they almost don’t want people to learn or think for themselves anymore. It’s a lamentable situation.

    Liked by 1 person

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