Participants at the Education Reform Stakeholders’ Engagement with Lagos State Ministry of Education have stressed the need to review the education curriculum in the country so as to meet the standard of the education system of the 21st century.
The participants said this was necessary in order to equip the Nigerian child with the required knowledge, skills and competencies needed to thrive in the 21st century.
The forum, organized weekend by the Education Reform and Innovation Team (ERIT), a non-governmental organization, and held at the weekend in Banana Island Ikoyi Lagos, was attended by a team from the Lagos State Ministry of Education led by Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs. AbosedeAdelaja, the SUBEB Chairman, Hon Wahab Alawiye King; member of the board of SUBEB, Mr. Dayo Israel; Representative of the Vice Chancellor, Lagos State University (LASU), Dr. Toyin Enikuomehin, Associate Professor & HOD Computer Science; Heads and Presidents of School associations.
In her remarks, an education reformer and co-founder of ERIT,Mrs. Abolaji Osime, declared that the education system in the country “is in urgent need of transformation”, adding that part of the problem is the curriculum which needs to be addressed.
“Our education was designed for the Industrial mass production 19th century age; if not, how can you explain a curriculum that still has a type writer and teaches shorthand when students in primary school in the US are building drones, robots?
“We have lost decades; the last time our curriculum was reviewed properly was in 2010. Perhaps it is time again to have those conversations and ask ourselves deep questions. How many of us will go to a Doctor or Dentist that is using technology from the 19th century and yet we are content to allow our children to be taught an outdated curriculum? Why is Canada opening up looking for skilled people? Why are we importing tilers and artisans from Cotonou when we have technical colleges? Our curriculum is too heavy on content and too theoretical and certainly not building the 21st century skills we need for the jobs of tomorrow”, Osime stated.
On the problem facing education system, Osime said the situation has not occurred overnight and is the result of many years of decline, neglect and mismanagement over several decades.
“Nigeria’s greatest opportunity for a viable future hinges on its young people. If they continue to leave in their droves to Canada in search of better educational opportunities, then Nigeria’s future will be threatened”, she added.
She then said:”Government needs to always engage private sector; we need to be a community of conversing people and let’s have as many conversations as possible so we can move forward. Sixty years post-independence, we cannot continue what we have been doing that has just continued to deepen the rot; we need now to embrace a participatory approach to help us deal with the challenges in education. Government cannot do it alone”.
“Our education system must produce problem solvers, ethical relevant and responsive and productive citizens. Our tertiary instructions must be industry focused graduating students who are employable. We have spoken for far too long, it’s time to turn words into action. We must stand for the Nigerian child”.
The education reformer also said private sector played a prominent role with over 18,000 schools giving education to over two million children “thereby saving Lagos State Government a whopping N377 billion according to Deepen, a DFID intervention in Lagos State”.
Other education reformers on the occasion also stressed the need for curriculum review, pointing out that the one in use now can no longer carry the Nigerian students to the next level.
“Teachers are expected to build contents on the curriculum. When teachers are trained well on the curriculum, they will deliver well. The curriculum needs to be rejigged or reviewed. We are where changes happen rapidly”, the participants submitted.
The LASU VC through Dr. Enikuomehin, gave the assurance that the institution would partner with the organization (ERIT) in the area of curriculum development as part of its contributions to the development of education in Lagos State and the country as a whole.
In her remarks, Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Adefisayo, said the state government was addressing various problems confronting the education sector, including infrastructures and curriculum optimization.
“We are not relenting and we will continue to address problems in the education and other sectors. We want to take our teachers to a level where they will be able to learn. We are looking at teachers’ condition of service.
Apart from ‘Teacher of the Year Award’, we are also planning taking them (teachers) abroad and make school heads work. Above all, we have to address the civil service capacity building, among others”, the Commissioner stated.
Earlier, the Founder of Incubator Africa Ltd, who is also co-founder/ trustee of ERIT, Alero Ayida Otobo, explained that the organization (ERIT) is a private sector led non-profit organization comprising members of the communities, NGOs, private companies, schools, individuals, teachers, parents, all positioned to collaborate with Government to attain a superior high quality education at all levels.
“We have the combined expertise of over 160 education local and international experts in ERIT that can provide practically any solution Lagos State needs in the education system”, Ayida Otobo stated.
For a better society