Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, has said despite the billions of naira being spent on the education sector annually in the country, the nation is not reaping commensurate gains because education provided for us by the colonial government was not designed to prepare young men and women for the service of our country.
He opined that instead, it was motivated by an attempt to foist the values of the British on us and prepare us for the service of the colonial state.
He stated this on Friday while delivering the convocation lecture at the Benson Idahosa University (BIU), Benin.
The lecture was entitled “Education and Actualisation.” The governor said it was rather unfortunate that instead of changing the course of education to meet our own local needs, successive leaderships seemed to toe the same line laid down by our colonialists and put undue premium on paper qualifications among others.
“For instance, it was not sufficient for us to learn, understand and speak the English language, but we must phonetise it the way the Briton speaks his mother language regardless of the incomparable sizes of our tongues and shapes of our noses.
“We were thus trained to become local clerks, white collar and administrative support staff and also to spread evangelical works. Up till now, everything we do stresses book knowledge.
“They underestimate the place of natural intelligence and street wisdom which are equally important and abound in our people some of whom do not have the opportunity or intellectual capacity for university education. I am not however inferring that any person can be efficient as a result of age, or that educational qualifications are unnecessary.
“My position is that it is a mistake to over-value book knowledge as it is to under-value it. Our theoretical knowledge must be balanced with exposure which is the practical representation of education. I am of the opinion that the development gap between us and the advanced countries has a correlation with the fact that those countries mostly request for evidence of ability to perform tasks while we concentrate on asking for paper qualifications or certificates,” he stated.
Fayose said it was wrong to limit education to paper qualifications, adding that though our forefathers might not have attended formal schools, they were still able to acquire some knowledge with which they tackled issues in the societies of old and survived the vagaries.
He noted that for us to move forward as a nation, we must see education beyond producing teachers, engineers, doctors and others.
”Individually and collectively, we have in actual fact regarded education as a training for the skills required to earn high salaries in the economic sector and often times earn societal recognition for academic titles.
“A fundamental mistake we made was to equate education with schools where formalized trainings are held,” he noted.
Preferring solutions to the problems in the sector, Fayose said the education must be tailored at providing the needs of the Nigerian society. He also called for a review of the entry age of children into elementary schools, saying “most of our children now enter primary schools before age 6 i.e when they are mostly infantile and therefore unconscious of the values of their immediate society.”
He also challenged parents to start the education of their children by inculcating family and societal values and acceptable behaviours in their children.
”Secondly and quite related is the scheduling of disciplines, curricular and syllabi in our schools. In most of our institutions, departments and course contents still exist the way they were handed over to us by the British. Our students are prepared for tailor-made studies designed to pass stereotyped examinations.
”Similarly, the examinations our students write are geared to certain international benchmarks which do not take cognizance of our local peculiarities and needs. We need to reflect on the type of education we need to provide and thereafter select aspects of our syllabus and curriculum that are capable of delivering such outcomes,” he added.
While frowning at the misuse of social media and information and communication technology by youths, he charged them to know that the future of the country rests on their shoulders.
Fayose praised the foresight of the late Archbishop Benson Idahosa that led to the setting up the BIU. He charged the management of BIU to make sure that the institution leads in the revival of education from its comatose state.
Monday, December 18 2017, 8:06 am
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