The woes of the society often time than not has been attributed to the failure of educational system. This blame game has continued over the years. Ironically too, those who were not properly brought up right from their homes also blame the educational system of their time and so it continues. This shows how important education is, not just to our society but also to every society.
Majority of those that spoke on the challenge facing our educational sector agreed that something is really wrong with our educational system, where supposedly the strength of the nation should lie. The implication is that if nothing is done urgently, the hue and cry in the system will continue for a very long time. Simply put, the time to act is now. As a journalist, this job of minding other peoples’ business laid a heavy hand on me, even though I consider it a social responsibility since the members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm, where I belong, owe it a duty to unearth issues, hitherto hidden for the common good of the society.
To get back to the issue of education, I was at Federal School and Technical College, Yaba recently. The choice of the federal college for all I know was germane since the school is one of the foremost Technical Colleges, founded 69 years ago, precisely in 1948. The choice of the school again in this report was equally informed due to how parents struggle to ensure that their wards gain admission into the Technical College. Agreed also is that the Technical College will be the readers delight anytime since it is believed that, the school has a lot in stock, talking about educational excellence but alas, findings show that, the society needs to dig deeper in addressing the decay and rot in our educational sector.
It is rather difficult to systematically discuss the issues in the course of a brief write-up. However, it is interesting to hear that, a Federal High School as old as Yaba Technical College, with a population of over 4,500 students (Junior and Senior classes), and still counting, is currently grappling with the commonest issue of chairs and lockers till date. Investigation reveals that, students wait as long as six weeks after the payment of the compulsory N7,000 before lockers are allocated.
The question now is; during this period of waiting for chairs and lockers allotment, what are the students sitting on, and how are they copying their notes during classes’ period?
Findings also revealed same waiting periods applies to new intakes who after payment for school uniforms still waits for an upward of six weeks or more before school uniforms are distributed, even when it is not permitted for students to attend classes on mufti and the question now is: who is deceiving who?
It was equally revealed that, to gain admission into the school is like asking the camel to pass through the eye of a needle. Beyond admission racketeering which has become a norm in the school, a source who confided on this reporter hinted that; students can also be admitted at anytime of the year without minding whether the time-table for the term had been covered or not. Implicated in this kind of investigation are such issues as the subversion of excellence, and merit. For example, the school has up to 12 classes. You have JSS 1A – L, same applies to JSS2 and 3 with a minimum of 65 students in each class.
How then can a teacher cope in a class of 65 students, even with public address system which I doubt is available? What is the size of the class that takes up to this number of students? The rumbling between Kaduna State Government and the teachers in the education sector whereby over 22,000 teachers risk losing their job should serve as a wakeup call for those who are toying with the future of the students and the country in this critical sector.
The simple truth is that, both the teachers and the students are disadvantaged if the learning condition is not conducive not minding that it is the students that suffer most. As worrisome as the situation is at Federal School and Technical College Yaba, the school management is challenged therefore to come up with a workable solution, to really address these imbalance, else the vision of those who founded the school, 69 years ago will be thrown to the wind and the country too will be the ultimate loser in manpower development.
The crusade against corruption crisis-crossing the length and breadth of the country should be extended to our Federal Secondary Schools to save the educational sector from the grip of those who do not have conscience. The new principal of Federal School and Technical College, Yaba is therefore challenged to ensure that the Technical College takes its prime place amongst other Technical Colleges in Nigeria. The time to act is now and that is why is advisable that, the Honorable Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, should take note of this to avoid further decay and further rot in our Colleges across the country.
COSMAS OKEREAFOR writes from Lagos.
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