101 WAYS TO IMPROVE SECONDARY SCHOOL EDUCATION IN NIGERIA…PRACTICAL POINTS OF VIEW OF AN EXPERIENCED EDUCATOR (5)

41. The Guidance Counselor’s work is not to sit down behind a table in an office. He /She is to move around to observe how school programmes especially are being effectively implemented. There is also the need to fish out miscreants for discussion or dressing down if need be. A Counselor should not wait for trouble to happen or to come to him/her in the offices. I still remember the example of two boys who fought each other in a classroom within 5 minutes of leaving the morning assembly with one of them losing his front teeth for life! That is how fast bad things can happen

42. National examination bodies such as WAEC/ NECO and JAMB need to be more realistic with examinations set and grading applied to students.

43. Let school inspections be a public –private venture. For now there are not enough hands in Ministries of Education across the land to conduct genuine inspections.

44. Most schools engage in one form of examination malpractice one way or another. Many start from the Continuous Assessment Scores (CAS) they submit to WAEC and NECO to actual assistance of students on examination days. WAEC/NECO has no known system for checking the veracity of scores submitted. One way to reduce corruption of the system is to cancel submission of CAS to WAEC/NECO. A more effective system however need to be set up in replacement.

45. In many schools both public and private classroom environment is far from ideal for learning. The walls and furniture tell tales that are best unsaid. The population of students in class and the attitude of certain tutors are so bad that one may safely say that most of our secondary schools must be suffering from unrecognized but socially induced Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD). Physically they are not ill. But in terms of listening, reading and thinking logically it is doubtful if many students can recollect what they did at school at the end of each day! Some of the proposals earlier suggested may solve these problem but many students need lots of motivational programs to channel their attitudes to more productive achievement.

46. SSCE Schemes and Syllabuses are TOO WIDE and TOO ADVANCED in some subjects for today’s SS3 students. For example the Biology syllabus / schemes of work need to be re-examined because it looks too wide and difficult for many students.

47. As matter of fact the current SSCE / SS3 system makes learning too nebulous and mesmerizing for an average SS3 student with little or no time these days for serious studies as in the days of yore. When we were growing up the 5-2 system of Secondary / HSC presented a common core of knowledge that was more readable and understandable at both secondary and HSC levels. Every one going for HSC knew that going into that class was “serious business” and it prepared students mentally for university studies. But SSCE does not.

48. SSCE also makes many tutors feel teaching is an all – comers affair. But in those days only certified experienced and qualified tutors could handle the HSC.

49. Again, today’s schemes of work do not accentuate students knowledge and problem- solving habit for modern day living. Let’s face the Biology scheme again as an example. It is a scheme which does not really challenge students to think deeply about basic principles of ecology, waste management, pollution, overpopulation, environmental degradation and today’s human health issues such as stress management. Some of these topics when touched are handled like appendages to the study of the digestive system a rat or rodent. How many times do students go on site visits to refuse dumps or swampy areas where oil bunkering haS damaged the water or the environment? So in reality, present-day Biology lectures do not address every-day problems which will likely stare them in the face as adults. On the other hand, countries whose schemes of work and policies we copied have moved on to more practical ways of educating their children. Our schemes are therefore still directed at giving certificates instead of education for communal solutions. When shall we relate learning and problem – solving instead of our rote system and certificates as packaged?

50. Deficiencies in our education go beyond shortage of teachers, buildings and equipment. And it is not a question of low funding alone. The solution is not merely by Government putting in more money. Our educational policies and programs must focus on curriculum changes and education strategies or techniques for students’ personal needs. Having more teachers, buildings and equipment cannot curb delinquency or “area boyism”. Today many students passing out of SS3 cannot construct simple essays or do quick maths ( “Mental Maths” in those days). Ask some of them to divide 1000 by 125 and you will be surprised at the confusion that will well up in their eyes because many of them were not personally taken care of at their various schools.
TO BE CONTINUED

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