A common saying says a student cannot be better than his teacher. Needless to say, there is need for an overhaul of the education system whether we like it or not.
The issue of incompetent teachers is not common to Kaduna State alone. A recent statement by the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria says that up to 300,000 of the 700,000 teachers in Nigerian schools are not qualified to teach.
The Educational Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN) has also spent years scrutinizing Nigeria’s Educational system and has proffered solutions. It said there was need to develop ‘effective planning, financing and delivery systems to improve the quality of schools, teaching and Learning in Enugu, Kano, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kwara and Lagos.
Imagine then, the quality of students that leave the primary school system each year. A common saying says a student cannot be better than his teacher. Needless to say, there is need for an overhaul of the education system whether we like it or not.
While it is true that many of our teachers are responsible for grooming young minds and preparing them for society, it is important to note that education goes beyond the classroom; parents have a massive role to play. According to a BBC report a good education is ‘…a culmination of school, home tutoring, books and Television programs you’re exposed to."
In essence, both the child who attends a public school and the one that attends a private school stand the chance of emerging into society with the same level of education as long as parents are supportive and ensure that they have an enabling environment.
A 2012 study published by, Brigham Young University North Carolina State University and the University of California-Irvine, made a similar statement. It said, ‘parental involvement is a more significant factor in a child’s academic performance than the qualities of the school itself.’ Researchers arrived at this conclusion after they evaluated data from over 10,000 US based students. They found that bonds between parents and children such as trust, open lines of communication as well as active engagement in a child’s academic life contributes largely to improving a child’s performance in school.
The first episode of Sesame Street, a popular Children’s Television programme, aired in the United States in November 1969. It was initially targeted at 2 to 4 year olds but let’s admit that many an 11 year old has found it to be both educational entertaining. In his book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell says, that Sesame Street ‘also encouraged lower-income families to play a part in educating their children.”
There is need to remember that all is not lost.
Do government schools offer lower quality education? In most cases
Is there need to overhaul the educational system? Yes, please.
Is the child who attends a government school doomed, then? No he or she is not.
With active involvement that involves you sitting with your child to do homework, watching educational TV programmes, playing games that improve their cognitive skills and social quotient he/she could be at par with his/her contemporaries at private schools. Tracey Enakeno throws more light on this, “We find more and more each day are parents dropping off their children sleeping and picking them up sleeping. I think teachers need to be appreciated more because they are a made to play both roles and in truth I think a true and passionate teacher actually doesn't mind one bit.’
As for the quality of teachers, Aisha Biliya, a counsellor with the FCT State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), agrees that there are quack teachers within the educational system. Her recommendation for turning things around are simple:
'Regular training for teachers, increased salaries, motivation and to cut down on the number of students in the classroom'
Written by Amina Maikori.
Amina Maikori is a Content Creator and a Freelance Journalist. Her research was made possible with support from Code for Nigeria via the Naija Data Ladies programme.