OPINION: RE-EDUCATING THE NIGERIAN CHILD

I must say something.
I must say something.
Or else the vast cloud swallows us.
I want us to say no or else
Ponfa Onyedikachi

January 24th marked the annual International Day of Education—a moment to reaffirm global commitment to the rights of every child to a quality education. While emphasis is placed on the child; In Nigeria, it is not just the child, of just the girl-child, and then how about those that are managing to get some form of education, and those that are responsible for educating, what form of education and what is the quality of education.

Teachers are perhaps the most important actor in a child’s education—a significant body of research demonstrates that high-quality teaching is one of the biggest factors impacting student learning. In the United States, for example, studies have found that the differences between a good and a bad teacher can equate to a full year of learning for a student. Quality teaching also can play a role in improving equity, as “several years of outstanding teaching may in fact offset learning deficits of disadvantaged students.”

Reading the last few lines of the above paragraph means that the quality and effectiveness of education, training, and continuous professional development for teachers and other members of the education workforce should be a top priority for those working to strengthen quality-learning opportunities for all.

ALSO READ: OPINION: REWORKING THE NATIONAL POLICY ON EDUCATION TO MEET 2020 DEMANDS

Now before I bash teachers in Nigeria, commend them, or scold them, let me state that this is not about the teachers alone in context of just classroom teachers but parents, vis a vis teaching and parenting. And this really is the heart of my admonition.

Youtube describes him as London’s underground legend, a key pioneer in the UK AfroBashment scene, fusing his inimitable Lagos accent with trap, bashment, grime and afrobeats to create a sound that encapsulates the melting pot of London’s constantly innovative club scene.

According what is available in public domain, he was born in Agege, Lagos State, Nigeria. At the age of 11, he moved to Peckham, South London, England. He started his education at Porlock Hall, before moving to Walworth School where he obtained his General Certificate of Secondary Education. He went to Peckham Academy where he graduated with a distinction in business. He went further to study at Crossways College, now Christ the King Sixth Form College, where he completed business law. He is married to two wives and has four children.

On 10 May 2019, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC arrested him, alongside his friends. The arrest was made a day after he released the video to his controversial song “Am I A Yahoo Boy”. On 15 May, his friends were released on administrative bail, leaving only him in the EFCC custody, because of overwhelming evidence against him. On 16 May 2019, EFCC filed 11 charges against him before Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, bordering on internet fraud and cyber crime, the 11 counts carry a potential sentence of seven years in jail if he is found guilty.

On 20 May 2019, he was arraigned before the Lagos court and pleaded “not guilty”, a bail hearing was set for 30 May 2019.

On 30 May 2019, he was granted bail in the sum of ₦2,000,000 and the case was adjourned till 22 October 2019 for commencement of trial. On 14 June 2019, he was released from EFCC custody after perfecting his bail conditions, barely 14 days after being granted bail.

On 22 and 23 October 2019, he returned to the Lagos court to face his charges. On 12 December 2019, his case was again heard and was subsequently adjourned to 27 February 2020, after an EFCC witness testified against him.

Real name Azeez Fashola, craft name Naira Marley a 25-year-old lad undoing the teaching and parenting that many kids are either getting or not getting at school and at home. He is one of the many representation of a moral virus with the tag ‘Marlian’ echoing as a failed educational system and a failing parenting culture.

So we understand, only recently Adebiyi Gabriel Olajide-Mackson, a parent took to social media lamenting over his 15-year-old daughter’s alleged membership of a ‘Marlian Cult’ where girls supposedly do not wear pants.

The Lagos-based man said the school authorities invited him and handed him his daughter’s suspension letter who was punished alongside several other girls. Authorities of the school she attends discovered that she belongs to the said cult where one of their many rules included “that they must not wear pant to school on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.”

And here I come back again to my concerns, how do we re-educate a youthful population, a multitude of millennial lads who won’t wear belts on their trousers, and girls who won’t wear panties on certain days.

How do we use education, and parenting to tackle a growing alcohol/drugs abuse issue that the Marlian nation represents. How do we deal with a growing population of young persons with Zero manners, poor cultural and traditional values.

For a generation that watches as her leaders plunder, loot and squander collective resources that should be used to better society, it is not surprising that they find solace in the falsehood of lifestyles propagated in the lyrics of music they listen to, and the celebrities they model their lives after; so same group tell you that education is a scam. So it really is about no education or at best minimal education, after all who ‘education epp’ (whoever benefited from education)?

How do we deliberately and intentional nip in the bud this growing generation by re-education, is there a template which directs us at improving the quality and effectiveness of education, training, and continuous professional development for teachers and other members of the education workforce which includes parents (who have in recent years failed in balancing parenting and provision for family)

The outsized impact of teachers on student learning makes it clear that successfully improving learning outcomes at scale will require reckoning with how to scale teacher professional development (TPD) in an effective, efficient, and equitable way in a country where teaching is a leeway or gateway profession. Unemployment has made every graduate a possible teacher till the real job comes.

Every corner has a type of school with teachers who at best can write their names but cannot spell the same names. We are under a Ministry of Education that battles to build a synergy between the costs of education, the type of education, the quality of education, while identifying and training of high-quality trainers, facilitators, and coaches, and bringing parents along the stride.

For a nation with dynamic contextualization and in need of addressing variation across contexts; further challenge lies in balancing the need to adapt the training content and approach to the local context for our children, for those who teach them, for those they look up to, for parents, while still maintaining essential elements amongst citizenry so badly divided and fragmented across socio-political and ethno-religious leanings without equity and fair play, rule of law and justice, is there hope—Only time will tell.
*** Written by Prince Charles Dickson PhD.