(Photograph from The Vanguard News)
There is a cancer in the sector and we need to face it. Anne Lemott an American writer once said “Hope begins in the dark. The stubborn hope that if you just show up, and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work. You don’t give up.”
The darkness is alarming and it is the cancer that is about to devour the whole country if we do not take hold of it now. I cannot believe that we have let things go this far! Look at the stats of the recently released results of WASSCE, West African Senior School Certificate Examination, and you will understand what I am talking about.
The results for the 2017 private candidates (first series) showed that only 56.38 per cent obtained 3 or more credits in the examination! That means that the students we are churning out from this system are at best half-baked. Surely we must realise that there is something really and desperately wrong with the sector, and if we know this what are we going to do!
Then there is the fact that only 17.13 per cent obtained a pass in English Language and Mathematics! Really! And English Language is the official language of Nigeria! Please we need to wake up.
My heart is bleeding and my eyes well up with tears because I know that if only we cared to do the right thing we would have a rich human resource of capable citizens who would be able to ace these examinations and produce impacting solutions for the country so that we can compete favourably in the global economy and give back to our world.
But the right thing is not what our leaders are thinking about, just as they are unable to keep our girls or citizens safe from the many vices that have taken over and clouded our security forces, neither is the wave of drug addiction plaguing the young in our care really a concern, they also cannot or will not deal with the root of why our children cannot communicate correctly in the official language or even their mother tongue! What a big shame.
How is it possible that we have produced a mass of citizens that cannot excel in communication or number operations, yet this same country has produced a Nobel Laureate Prize Winner in Professor Wole Soyinka and numerous globally recognized scientist, such as the late Samuel Okoye (the first black African to obtain a doctorate in Radio Astronomy) and Professor Francisca Okeke, (a nigerian scientist and Professor of Physics, who is interested in Geomagnetism, atmospheric Physics and climate variability.)
It is obvious that there are two sides to the coin, maybe the results of the other candidates, non private, may be better. Which only means that the starting points, the foundations, are different! Must we waste away lives out of selfishness? Why can’t we give our children a fair chance to succeed in life by providing the right foundation.
People think I have Montessori disease, great if they want to think that way, but I know for a fact that the one thing that our sector needs is to go back to child-centered education and pull out the Montessori Practical Life, Sensorial Education, Language Development, Mathematics and Cultural Subject folders of rich lessons and activities for the 3 to 6 year old’s and let it rip in our classrooms. Try this in our state government schools and private institutions and let’s get rid of this perpetual failure in the system.
The resounding gong on this issue is always about how expensive Montessori Education can be. Well my answer to this is this, the 17.38 per cent result we are getting presently is much more expensive for the nation!
Let’s rethink this whole sector now! It needs revamping now. Our children cannot keep on failing because we refused to keep hope alive in the sector. The hope of the Nigerian Education Sector, is implementing what works. Montessori works, teaching children the way they love to learn works, letting the child make choices and guiding their learning works, and it does not need to be run in an expensive manner to see great results.
If you cannot run full Montessori then find out what you can do so that we can help our children understand what they need to know beyond the classroom walls. Let’s give them the keys to their environment and universe and see them succeed. Let’s keep hope for our education sector alive. We need that stubborn hope as Anne Lemott has said, we must show up and work and never, ever give up on the Education Sector of our Nation Nigeria, nor the world for that matter.
Stats culled from The Vanguard News