Nigeria: Stakeholders Brainstorm On New Policy On Education

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Thu Aug 3 14:31:33 UTC 2006

Stakeholders Brainstorm On New Policy On Education

August 2, 2006

By Emmanuel Otaru

The auditorium of the Women Development Centre, Agege, Lagos bubbled with
life again last Thursday, when stakeholders in education converged on it
for the South West Zonal Consultative Forum on the review of the National
Policy on Education (NPE). This was at the instance of the Nigerian
Education Research and Development Council (NERDC), which was mandated by
the National Council on Education (NCE), to carry out an informed review
on the policy. The consultative forum is to be held in all the six
geo-political zones of the country. Deputy Vice Chancellor of the
University of Ilorin, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, who represented the NERDC
Chairman of Council, Alh. Salisu Buhari, said, "there have been three
revisions of the policy on education in the past, but this one was unique,
as the first to invite stakeholders' contribution.

He said education in Nigeria should not be delivered in isolation of other
sectors, stressing that the curriculum that cannot train people for
adaptability is wrong. "That is why the Federal Government is asking us to
put our heads together and come out with quality inputs". In the course of
the brainstorming to find ways of revitalising the education system, Osun
State said many subjects being taught in schools are not related to daily
learning and living, and therefore suggested a review. It also wants the
French Language to be taught like English language in schools. Oyo State
on its part feels that primary education teaching should be more practical
and done in the child's mother tongue, while agreeing with Osun State that
English and French should be taught in schools.

The state also suggested that Distance Learning System (DLS) should be
de-emphasised as it is not achieving its aims. For Lagos State, the
minimum learning experience expected for early childhood/pre-primary
education should be listed as: Letter Works, Number Works, Rhyme, Social
Habit, Health Habit, Moral Instructions, Scabbing, Elementary Science and
Creative Arts. The state also suggested that the minimum number of
subjects expected for primary school pupils should be 11, and maximum, 13.
Separate sections should also be created for Junior Secondary and Senior
Secondary schools or Primary and Junior Secondary schools, as different
from the UBE law which merged them. The Lagos State Ministry of Education
would like to see Science and Commercial students chose Further
Mathematics at the O' Level by instead of Geography which, it believes,
does not make a good combination for them.

The royalty was not left out. The representative of the Oba of Lagos,
Chief Onigemo lamented the activities of social miscreants, popularly
called 'Area Boys' in Lagos, who terrorise people in the state. He blamed
it on lack of proper upbringing and education and advised government and
the people to do something about the social malady of the miscreants who
continue to forcefully rob people of their handsets, wristwatches and
other valuables, unchecked. Onigemo further suggested that basic and
primary education and craft centres should be created, where, after the
first two years in post-primary schools, students could learn a
vocation/trade. Former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Alhaja Lateefat
Okunnu, suggested that the God factor be inculcated in school children,
saying, "we are not secular as it is claimed.

We should recognise God by emphasising religion and moral instructions in
schools. On his part, the former Executive Secretary of the NERDC, Prof.
Uduogie Ivowi wants the 6-3-3-4 system retained, saying, "from discussions
with parents, it would appear that most of them prefer to retain the
status quo of primary school, JSS and SSS so that transition from one
segment to the other is clearly defined. He equally suggested that, "the
national flag must be conspicuously flown in front of every school and
each day's activities should start with pupils singing the national anthem
and reciting the national pledge."

In its contribution, the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA)
stressed the need to properly understand the meaning of teaching, which
include practical, visits, excursions, fieldworks, seminars, workshops,
etc. The university said all teachers in tertiary institutions shall be
required to undergo training in the methods and techniques of teaching to
enhance their efficiency. It equally suggested that university research
shall be relevant to the nation's development goals. "Universities shall
be encouraged to disseminate their research results to both government and
industries which must be willing to make use of research findings and
encourage further work on them."

FUTA also suggested other sources of funding education, which include the
Education Trust Fund (ETF), Industrial Training Fund (ITF), National
Science and Technology Fund, etc. The Federal Road Safety Commission
(FRSC) was also represented by one of its officers, Odewo Olalekan, who
said, "a strategy should be developed to educate the public about the
effects of drug abuse, and promoting abstinence from hard drugs in young
persons." He suggested that the Federal Government, in collaboration with
the Federal Ministry of Education, should include drug abuse as a subject
in secondary schools and as a General Studies (GNS) course in higher
institutions. Before the epoch-making forum, the various stakeholders had
sent in their detailed memorandum, suggesting areas of amendments and
inclusions into the draft of the NPE before it would be ratified into law.

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list