I was speaking on the 4th of May, 2018 to Secondary School students of Oviri-Ogor Secondary School, Oviri Ogor, in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta state.
During the questions-and-answers session, some facts emerged that I had already noticed among many students in Delta Central Senatorial District.
1. Students are no longer interested in reading their books.
Even at the university level, according to a lecturer, speaking on the 5th of May, 2018, during Marcus Ekure’s Book Launch, undergraduates are no longer interested in doing assignments; instead they copy from one diligent student.
2. They also do not pay attention in class during lectures.
3. The level of discipline in most of our public schools is at its LOWEST level.
4. The degree of examination malpractice is so high that students prefer to go and register in “miracle centers” where they can cheat. Sometimes, members of the village leadership in some communities are accomplices in these criminal acts.
5. From my experience in my school, parents are so desperate to the extent they register their children from SS2 for the SSCE examinations. What is very alarming is that many of these students pushed prematurely to write these exams are not very brilliant.
6. It was also revealed that television, telephones, gambling, drugs, and sexual immortality are now major sources of distraction and destruction of our children. I must not fail to mention music.
The consequence of these is that many Nigerian Graduates are not employable.
As an employer of labour, I’m usually amazed at the level of ignorance of many of the graduates who come for interviews in our school. What is most frightening is that the children of the elite and oligarchy are getting quality education from elite private schools within and outside Nigeria.
How did we get to the precarious situation in education?
1. The civil war and military intervention in the Nigerian political arena.
We suddenly had people who were very educated playing second fiddle to military men in government.
2. With the oil boom, lucrative contracts awarded to bootlickers and cronies of these leaders and multimillionaires with little or no evidence of academic excellence suddenly became the models for young people.
3. The advent of civilian politicians and the lootocracy that followed, suddenly made politics the most lucrative area to delve into. Rascals and thugs frightened the educated elite away from politics; therefore, the models were not cerebral people.
4. A combination of all of the above led to economic collapse and massive unemployment and erosion of societal values.
5. With unemployment, several graduates were at home with their parents; so the younger ones did not see the benefits of formal education.
6. Then, the drug trade set in as an alternative route to wealth and relevance. It has gradually been overtaken by “yahoo boys”, kidnapping, and ritual killings.
It must be stated here that many grandparents, parents, principals, proprietors of private schools, and even lecturers are products of the decline that followed the 1977 Massive Exam Leakage. A culture of examination malpractice has finally overtaken the education sector in Nigeria. People like us who insist that things most be done properly are now an endangered species.
7. The takeover of Mission Schools by the Military Regimes did not help matters.
8. The incessant disruptions in the education sector due to poor or delayed salaries of teachers has also contributed to the terrible situation.
9. The terrible states of our learning environments also discourage learning.
10. Many parents are not interested in the education of their children, especially the not-too-educated ones.
11. Parents prefer to buy mobile phones for children even when they have not paid school fees for them. I wonder how parents can afford to buy Christmas clothes for their children without collecting their terminal results. I see children with very expensive hairstyles without books. Many of our parents have misplaced priorities.
12. I also noticed that several of the children who are not interested in academics are from broken homes or large polygamous homes were there is no responsible father figure. The number of such families is becoming increasingly alarming in our locality.
WE HAVE AN EMERGENCY IN OUR HANDS.
SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE FAST.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?