" /> There are lots of inadequacies in our educational system –Associate Prof. Irondi | Hallmarknews
Published On: Tue, Aug 1st, 2017

There are lots of inadequacies in our educational system –Associate Prof. Irondi

Associate Professor Emezuo  Ogbonna  Irondi is an Educational Policy Analyst. He teaches Comparative and International Education at the Abia State University, Uturu.  His view on Comparative education intensive research mechanism), is that it is vital in the making and implementation of any policy guidelines. In this interview with PETER OKORE in Umuahia, the University don identified a lot of inadequacies and hiccups in the country’s policies and their implementations, and blamed the scrapping of Teachers Training colleges without producing   the needed number of NCE teachers as a major set-back in the quest for quality education in the country.  The don proffered solutions on how to stop the prevailing ethnic agitations for separate existence in Nigeria. EXCERPTS:

 

What is the concern of Comparative Education in policy formulation?

 Comparative Education is a study of how nations formulate and Implement their policies; what problems they encounter in making and implementing policies; their successes and what makes them succeed, where they fail and what causes their failures.

 Relate these to Nigeria’s educational policies

 Nigeria is good in making policies. But at the implementation stage, there are usually hiccups that make it almost impossible for the objectives to be achieved. Take the case of the Universal Primary Education, UPE, which was retired General Yakubu Gowon’s pet-project. That policy started with thenomenclature, U.P.E.  The blue-print for implementation of that policy was produced after they had made attempts to implement it. By right, the blue-print should have come before the implementation. It was later found out that the government, at the time, did not have enough teachers, infrastructures and lacked the wherewithal to make education free. As a result, the ‘FREE’ programme started with was withdrawn. Then it became Universal Primary Education, UPE, thereafter.

Indeed, the making and implementing a policy need a lot of research. You research to find out the antecedents of the problem you want to solve by that policy. You go through a lot of cost benefit analysis and then arrive at the most feasible and profitable approach to solving that problem. Otherwise, there are problems because some things must have been omitted or ignored.

What really do Comparative Education scholars look- out for in a policy?

Comparative Education scholars look at policies made by various nations of the world.  Take for example “Child Education”.  We look at what problems countries like France, Japan, Britain, America, etc. have had in making such policies. What made them succeed or fail?  With varying areas of specializations, how have they improved teaching for example in the Languages, Mathematics, Science, etc. There has to be a procedure of teaching such subjects, using what is available within.

Education in Nigeria is yet to realize that most advanced countries of the world base their practices on what is obtainable within their societies (i.e. ethnologically- derived philosophies, policies  and practices). The time we realize this and change, our educational system will change.

Again, another case of a failed policy is the case of the Internally Displaced People (IDP’s). Many countries of the world have had this experience. Comparative education in this case involves how Nigeria approaches

IDP: What arrangements have been made to solve the problems of the IDP’s. Nigeria is  making efforts. But there is still much to do to improve what they (Nigeria) are doing. They should go further than what they are presently doing on the IDP’s.

 In advanced countries, they have special analysts who draw-up a thorough analysis and later come-up with policies on how to handle it (like the plight of the IDP’s).  Nigeria is inclined to solving problems with fiat which is very bad. It is not enough to give the IDP’s provisions, blankets, food, water, etc. There should be a systematic approach with response to, not only basic needs of life, but more than that.

   How?

 For instance, the IDP’s were all lumped in camps. Before long we started hearing that females were being molested, children not going to school, outbreak of epidemics, fraudsters infiltrating into IDP’s in Camps, corruption amongst Government officials in-charge, etc.  Adequate arrangements should have been made, in advance to make sure that such anti-social behaviours do not happen.

 Again, people who had been detached from their homes should be given what is close to what they used to have in their homes. This is where the Western world stand to beat us (Nigeria), in many ways. They will first carry out analysis and identify those problems.  Before you know it, teachers, nurses, doctors, etc, would be drafted to the IDP camps to work. But here (in Nigeria) we first start doing something mid-way, before we begin to find problems which often are approached by fire-brigade. We often start something without the personnel to handle them being on-ground.

  Now, let’s look at the present educational system in Nigeria. What’s your take on it?

That the country scrapped the former Teachers (Training) Colleges, PTC, etc and HETC is good. It shows advancement in Nigeria’s quest for education. But the problem here is that we had not produced enough teachers with the National Certificate of Education, NCE, before abolishing the Teachers Colleges.  We should have first, had enough NCE teachers on-ground. I see it as ‘mere stupidity’ to have abolished the lower cadre of teachers. Even, the introduction of the Kaduna-based National Teachers Institute (NTI), is not helping matters to produce quality teachers. The programme  lacks the basic skills and knowledge the Teachers Colleges ought to have given in educational foundations, principles, methodology and discipline. That programme is purely for certificate acquisition. The orientation/intention is not there.

 In fact, there are lots of inadequacies in our educational system; there is insufficiency in teaching personnel, infrastructure, teaching materials and the pay is abysmally inadequate to name a few.

 In Nigeria, there are primary schools where teaching and learning are still going on under trees. This is a travesty in education.  It ought not to happen at all.  The same thing is noticeable in secondary schools and all levels of tertiary educational institutions. Inadequate teaching personnel reduce the quality and quantity of knowledge accessible by the learners.

 From the quality of education our citizens get, you can easily find out that it is traceable, to a large extent, to the quality and quantity of our teachers; right from primary schools to the university-levels.

 Do you have regrets for the quality and quantity of education our children are getting nowadays?

I will not address it as regrets.  For, we still find a lot of rooms for improvements.  If you look at educational system in Nigeria, we have young scientists, inventors, technologists, etc, out there, who are designing technological machines, implements, and all. They attend trade exhibitions/fairs   beyond the shores of Nigeria and come back with laurels. These are indications that the education system in Nigeria is not a failure.

 But on the same ground, you see some university graduates who are still illiterates and you ask yourself: Why do such people pass through schools without learning anything?  I see, in most cases, they pass through illiterate teachers. Of course, the fault is not from them. These illiterate teachers are there from primary schools to the universities.

 On the whole, one would not say that the present system is low or has fallen, beyond repair. Most private schools are doing fine; whereas in public schools you see many not doing well.  In summary, I say Nigeria is not tackling the problems of the educational system adequately.

 What should be the right approach towards solving the problems of education in Nigeria?

Nigeria should get Comparative Education specialists to analyse the problems and come-up with solutions.  The outcome of such research will answer the question of why we are getting these problems. To begin with, infrastructures are not maintained.  How can you feed your child on a dustbin, and believe that that child is not going to behave like the rats, cockroaches and animals that feed on dustbins?

 Our schools are very dirty, unlike what they used to be in those days. In those days, pupils came back from school having the big pride of having been in a neat school. This translates into the way they behaved. Children sag their dresses or fly their shirts because they do not see anything good to copy from.

In those days, we dug our ridges, measured them, planted our own crops, took care of them, harvested and stored them. We also kept our individual farm diaries. We left school with the mind that agriculture was very important. Now primary and secondary school products are not interested in agriculture. On Mondays, teachers inspected our school uniforms, nails and teeth to see how clean they were.  All these things we did have been thrown over- board. Children are no longer interested in agriculture or even looking neat and clean.

    As a specialist in education, which you also teach, what do you advise government to do in education?

Nigeria should look into emphasising agriculture at primary, secondary and university levels. We will be doing ourselves a disservice trying to recruit people from the streets to go and do agriculture, till the ground and implement mechanized agriculture. Rather, I suggest that interest in agriculture should start from the primary school to the tertiary levels. Government should ensure that

Agriculture is taught at the primary, secondary and tertiary institutions to know what agriculture means. It is here that we get those who would study the subject at the university level.

   We hear you worked briefly in the Voice of Biafra (VOB) during the Nigeria/Biafra war. How do you see broadcasting since after that war?

I believe there had been advancement in broadcasting, especially now that it has gone digital.  But I still believe that a good number of those there have a lot to correct in broadcasting, particularly at Radio stations. The quality of broadcasting is nothing to write home about. It was quality broadcasting and content that made VOB unique during the war. 

For instance, often when I listen to radio, I hear people making noise at the background. Nothing should interrupt the voice of the person on the microphone; not even anything emanating from his own person that makes a noise should disrupt the broadcast.

Often, I also hear some giggling at the background of the broadcast. At times, presenters fail to rehearse their scripts well before going on air.  For instance, no-one at the microphone should be above asking for information from those who know better; how to pronounce place and people’s names correctly. Presenters should find out how to pronounce strange names and places before going on air. 

 What was the extent of your involvement in the Nigeria/Biafra war, which lasted from 1967 to 1970?

Indeed, we were involved in the execution of the cessation. I was once a guerrilla training officer. I helped to establish the Biafra Organization of Freedom Fighters (BOFF) training Camp at Nenu, in company of three French military officers. As a French student, I interpreted into French and English for Frenchmen and the Commander-In-Chief of the Biafran Armed Forces and Head of State, Late General Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu.  We met at Ojukwu Bunker every Wednesday to review the situations in all war fronts. But somewhere along the line, I transferred to the Voice of Biafra (VOB), where I worked till the end of that war.

What, in your opinion, has given rise to the present agitation for Biafra, 47 years after the war ended?

What happened to former Biafra nation since the end of the war is the reason for the agitation. At the end of the war. General Yakubu Gowon, then Nigeria’s Head of State said:” No victor! No vanquished!” He also came-up with a programme of Reconciliation, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation (3R’s). If that statement made by him and the 3R’s he initiated, had been followed and Biafrans received back into the mainstream of the Nigerian nationhood, I believe this agitation could never have arisen.

How and why, sir?

Because most of the agitators are children who were not there when the war was fought!  I believe that they are expressing a feeling that they have been rejected. This is because they have read history from books, seen pictures of marginalised groups, seen killings and the rest of them, about the Nigeria/Biafra war.

 So, they are convinced that it will be better for them to stay in a separate entity, rather than staying in Nigeria. They believe that those of us, who still believe strongly in Nigeria, are deceiving them.

 Therefore, I will be reluctant to blame them.  If Nigeria can go back to “No victor. No vanquished” and regard everybody as a citizen of this country, Nigeria, I don’t believe that the push for Biafra will succeed.

This is my feeling. I don’t play politics!  We merely saw ourselves fighting the war because we saw ourselves in an enclave called, ‘Biafra’, which was beleaguered.  I am a strong believer in Nigeria.

Reactions from Facebook

comments and opinions

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Recent posts

  • IPOB: Igbo elders keep mum over crisis

    Obinna Ezugwu   Mayhem! There is no better word to describe the events playing out in the South East zone, and Abia State, the home state of rabble rousing leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) in particular at the moment. It has to do with the intense military onslaught and the result has […]

  • Nigeria returns to African Trade Insurance Agency

    Federal Executive Council on Wednesday gave a approval for Nigeria to rejoin the African Trade Insurance Agency. Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun stated this Wednesday while addressing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari. Adeosun said the council approved a memo she presented which harped on the necessity […]

  • Fidelity Bank to give out over N110 Million to Customers in ‘Get Alert In Millions Promo Reloaded’

      Top Nigerian lender, Fidelity Bank Plc is set to delight the banking public with the introduction of a fresh Savings promo that promises to provide new and existing customers with the unique opportunity to win fantastic cash prizes within a specific period. The promo dubbed ‘Get Alert In Millions Promo Reloaded’ is in line […]

  • Royal Exchange defies the odds   

    EMEKA EJERE Royal Exchange Insurance Plc has continued to resist the volatile and tough operating environment of Nigeria, recording a double digit growth in half year profit. Despite the hostile operating environment experienced by the insurance sub-sector and the financial services industry, the underwriter last week announced profit after tax (PAT) of N203.3 million in […]

  • STANBIC IBTC constructs recovery after a storm

    Stanbic IBTC Holdings came to being as a result of a merger between Stanbic Bank Nigeria Limited and IBTC Chartered Bank Plc. On 24 September 2007, IBTC Chartered Bank Plc merged with Stanbic Bank Nigeria Limited. Stanbic Africa Holdings Limited on behalf of Standard Bank tendered an offer for the acquisition of additional IBTC shares […]

  • How PZ makes investors beg for more but….

    Full year results for PZ-Cussons ended on a happy note in May as the company’s profit after tax soared by a hefty 73 per cent rising from N2.1 billion in 2016 to N3.7billion in 2017. The company’s fairy tale result has had several investors emptying their piggy banks as the company’s share price jumps on […]

  • Mama Taraba: A vote of no confidence on President Buhari

    Obinna Ezugwu At Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council meeting, Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan, alias Mama Taraba was the cynosure of eyes. It was only a week prior that she rattled not only President Muhammadu Buhari, but the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) when she spoke these words: “Your excellency, […]

  • Military don’t have power to control social media —Tony Momoh

    Prince Tony Momoh is the former Minister of Information between 1986 and 1990 under the military administration of Gen. Ibrahim Babaginda and was instrumental to the establishment of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) by Decree 55 of 1988. In this interview with UCHE AKOLISA, Momoh traces the history of the body that regulates […]

  • Maritime experts petition President Buhari over arms import

    By Funso Olojo A maritime expert, Lucky Amiwero, has decried the destination inspection regime of cargo inspection as the cause of the proliferation of arms imports into the country. It would be recalled that the Nigeria Customs Service made a huge arm seizure at the Tin Can Island port last week Monday with the discovery […]

  • Stakeholders pressure for interest rate reduction as MPC meets

    FELIX OLOYEDE Manufacturers, haunted by falling operating margins, have made strident calls for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to immediately reduce local interest rates. The plaintive appeal is coming on the sidelines of the CBN’s monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting for the month of September 2017. According to results of a 2017 Manufacturing Sector […]

  • Cloud over Oando AGM; Auditors query accounts

    By Okey Onyenweaku   Controversy has continued to trail Oando Nigeria’s 40th Annual General Meeting which was held last week at the Ibom Hall in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. While the company’s resolutions which re-elected its directors were seemingly successful, shareholders were divided over the continued leadership of the management. Shareholders have expressed mixed feelings over […]

  • Planned rehabilitation of refineries challenges past experience of state control

              The state of the country’s refineries is so decrepit that any attempt to delay in selling them would amount to a desire to sell scraps. Though the senate agreed that it should be repaired, and the group managing director has already set up seven committees for total turn around at optimum capacity by 2019, […]

  • Anambra 2017: The godfathers confront power of incumbency

    Obinna Ezugwu   Last week at a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) stakeholders meeting in Awka, the Anambra State capital, the immediate past governor of the state, Mr. Peter Obi vowed to aggressively prosecute the November 18 governorship election in the state. “I will be at the forefront of the Anambra governorship election, and we will […]

  • Nigerian pastors: The call of God or mammon?

    ADEBAYO OBAJEMU Obafemi Ayoade, a dealer in building materials has no kind words for Nigerian pastors. He justifies his uncomplimentary view of ‘’these men’’ of God by sharing his experiences with BusinessHallmark.  Ayoade had been married for 10 years without a child, a Muslim he went from one Alfa (Muslim preacher) to another in search […]

  • How Nigeria is shared: Buhari vs Jonathan

    OBINNA EZUGWU   Few days ago, Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari appointed 15 individuals into managerial positions in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), ten of them from the North- mostly Hausa/Fulani from the North West and North East; five from the South – three from the South West, two from the South South and none […]

  • Rising NPL: Banks cut loans, opt for fixed income in H1 2017

    FELIX OLOYEDE Nigerian economy which has struggled to exit recession may be sitting on a keg of gun power as banks cut down credits to the private sector in the bid to push down soaring non-performing loans (NPLs). Review of the 2017 half year financial results of commercial lenders in the country showed that the […]


Visit us on Google+