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PRIMARY EDUCATION IN NIGERIA NEEDS ATTENTION


Can you recall your primary school days? How serious were you in primary school? How often did you study whilst in primary school? Are you among those that once they come back from school, flies the school bag and uniforms into a heap of clothes and immediately rushes off to the football field. How often were you taught in your primary school? Were your teachers serious and dedicated? Did you go to a private primary school where the teachers are adequate and dedicated or to the public schools where the teachers are few and not dedicated?

I was privileged to have attended a private primary school but even then I was keeping tabs with those in public schools and how well they fared. Today with what I am seeing in our public schools I am of the opinion that our public primary schools are in need of help.

Education has been recognized as a basic human right since the 1948 adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

But how many states in Nigeria can boast of a strong school system in place. How many can boast of a strong female education system in place especially in the Northern Nigeria.

Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, the commission that is in charge of primary and junior secondary education in Nigeria has stated that Basic Education in Nigeria is “free”, “compulsory” and a right of every child.

My take is on this education that has been made free how good is it. Is it worth giving to someone as a free gift. I am of the opinion that it is not worth a free gift. Give to someone what he will appreciate and which will be beneficial to him now and in the future. The free education that is offered in our public primary schools is a hoax, not worth giving.

My reasons for refusing to accept such a free gift are many and I would enumerate it for you. And then my dear friend I want you to prove me right or wrong by going to our public primary schools and finding out the truth for yourself.

Do you know that most of our primary schools do not have good classrooms and some even do not have classrooms at all they study under the tree. What a shame. Free education that is offered under an unconducive environment is that one really worth giving. Children learning under a dilapitated building, when it rains they get drenched and they stop learning till the rain stops. When the sun is at its peak they feel the heat of the sun. What if but God forbid that the dilapitated building one day caves in and falls on them. Lovely and joyfully children coming to school with all seriousness to learn but they are not given the right learning environment. The irony of it all is that the government is capable of turning things around but they are not sensitive enough to do so. Their children are in private schools so it does not in any way affect them.

Please my dear leaders of Nigeria, The President, the senators, the reps, the Governors save our public primary schools. Save our poor parents, save our children. Give them better future, invest in their future. Take them as your children. Please rich philanthropists from all over the world come to the rescue of our public primary schools. God will bless you as you do so. UN, UNICEF, BILL AND MELINDA GATES and all good and well meaning organisations come and help our children in public primary schools.

The primary school that my elder sisters went to is in shambles today. I have a strong belief that the money that was budgeted to transform it have been embezzled. Why do I say so? It is because out of the three classroom blocks only one was renovated and the two other left in their pitiable state. A new classroom block was supposed to be added but it never went beyond the foundation stage. The pupils only study in one classroom block as I am speaking to you now. I want to ask who awarded those contracts can’t he be sensitive enough to find out if those contracts were well executed.

The teachers in public primary schools are few and not enough. The ones that are there are not motivated enough because of lack of incentives and issues of non payment of salaries. Even when the government employs teachers most of them do not go to teach in places of assignment. And at the end they will still collect their salaries. Supervisors and Headmasters that are supposed to monitor the teachers to make sure they are performing their duties are unfortunately aiding in the destruction of the school system. They collect bribes from the teachers in exchange for not reporting them. Who suffers at the end? It’s the pupil and the poor parents.

Another thing I have noticed is that those in public schools seems to be a bit behind in terms of learning the syllabus. I don’t know what textbooks and materials they use in learning. Those in private schools are far brighter and far ahead in the syllabus and the textbooks they use are very good. Maybe we need to look into what these children are learning. Are there teachers in need of training, which I know they need. Some of them are still teaching the children with the old knowledge and old syllabus which is no longer in use today. Thats why you see a primary one pupil in private school being more knowledgable than his counterpart in public school.

Today is Democracy day in Nigeria. A day we celebrate our return to Democratic rule after many years of military dictatorship. I wish the leaders will also include the little children among those who are to benefit from the dividends of democracy. Because I believe they have been neglected. Those who send their children to public schools are the poor ones, since no right thinking parent who has the means to train his kids will do so.

A UNICEF report I read about primary education in Nigeria states that Nigerian government is far behind in terms of providing good and quality education compared to other sub saharan regions. This is UNICEF report not mine. They are working on ground and should be able to see better than we do.

I want to appeal to all people of goodwill to please put pressure on the leaders so that they will transform our Primary Education into what it is supposed to be. And to all persons who have the means please help out, we need your assistance.

Thank you and God bless you.
HAPPY DEMOCRACY DAY NIGERIA

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