" />
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 As a result, the ‘FREE’ programme started with was withdrawn.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.

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>

Most Shared

Recent posts

  • Coronation Merchant Bank CRO emerges RIMAN President

    The Chief Risk Officer of Coronation Merchant Bank; Mr. Magnus Nnoka has been elected as the president of the Risk Management Association of Nigeria (RIMAN). His election  took place  at the 18th Annual International Conference and Annual General meeting of the Association which took place recently at the Eko Hotels and Suites. Now in its […]

  • Wema Bank Introduces Agent Banking in Kano, Targets Retail Sector in North-West

    Wema Bank Plc has introduced agent banking in Kano as it seeks to deepen its retail footprint across informal economic sectors of the North-Western states and to drive financial inclusion within the entire northern region of the country. Agent Bank is a cost-effective medium employed by Banks to provide financial access to unbanked, underbanked, and […]

  • Airtel Restores Hope for Family of Five in 2nd Episode of ATL 4

    The second episode of Airtel Touching Lives (ATL) Season 4, which aired last Sunday, June 17, documented how Airtel literally touched the lives of the Olanrewaju Komolafe family; a family of five, battling with a streak of unending tragedies. The episode, which aired on Africa Magic Family, revealed how Olanrewaju Komolafe, a barber and commercial […]

  • Investors cautious as banking stocks remain weak

    By OKEY ONYENWEAKU As market volatility continues to be more pronounced, investors have become increasingly torn between putting their hard earned money in the money market, capital market and other sectors which might offer superior returns. Market analysts become jittery over the slow paced growth of the economy (1.95 percent), high non-performing bank loans (average […]

  • Renaissance Capital initiates coverage on top Nigerian staple food producers

    Renaissance Capital, a leading emerging and frontier markets investment bank, initiated coverage on the shares of Nigeria’s staple food producers: Flour Mills of Nigeria, Dangote Sugar Refinery, Dangote Flour Mills and NASCON Allied Industries. This coverage aims to provide investors with the in-depth analysis necessary to make informed investment decisions. The initiation report states that […]

  • Anxiety mounts over U.S. interest rate hike

    …expect capital flight, experts warn FELIX OLOYEDE There is growing concern over the effects of U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to raise its benchmark interest rate, would have on the Nigerian economy as experts expect investors to take a flight. Investors are usually looking out for areas of higher returns and greater political stability. The Federal […]

  • Democracy Day controversy:  How Orji Uzor Kalu masterminded my humiliation

    By Sir Don Ubani The World over, governments, especially democratic governments, place maximum emphasis on protocol. The observance and application of protocol in the affairs of a government determines, to a very reasonable extent, the definition of civility and, of course, respectability it attracts to itself. According to an Elizabethan playwright and dramatist; Jane Smith, […]

  • 2019: Ambode’s re-election bid in jeopardy

    By OBINNA EZUGWU The political future of Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode is said to hang in the balance as his political godfather, Ashiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is allegedly plotting his replacement in 2019 over certain unresolved issues. Business Hallmark learnt from sources that Tinubu is under increasing pressure from people around him, notably […]

  • Fidelity Bank aims for the top

    .           Okonkwo’s relentless drive yields dividends Barely 30 years after it was licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to operate as a commercial bank, Fidelity Bank has successfully risen to the leadership position amongst tier-2 banks in Nigeria. The bank’s 2017 financial year performance is a testament to the significantly improved optimisation of […]

  • Fuel subsidy Impasse: Dangote Refinery to the Rescue

    By AYOOLA OLAOLUWA Barely eight months to the February 16, 2019 election President Muhammadu Buhari and leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are facing a big dilemma. The administration, it was learnt, is torn between increasing the fuel price and subsidising it to maintain the N145 per litre price, despite the current crude oil […]

  • 2019: Abia APC boss vows to make votes count

    …the era of writing results outside polling booths is gone – Nwankpa  PETER OKORE, Umuahia The Abia state chapter chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief Donatus Nwankpa,  has vowed that Nigerians will resist any results of the 2019 general elections  written in a private residence and  brought to the premises of the Independent […]

  • Editorial: June 12: Beyond the honours

    President Muhammadu Buhari pleasantly shocked most Nigerians on June 1, when out of the blues, he announced the change in Democracy Day from May 29 to June 12, and awarded Chief M.K.O. Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 election, the highest national honour of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, GCFR. His […]

  • Experts fault AMCON’s ‘name and shame’ strategy

    FELIX OLOYEDE Asset Management Company of Nigeria’s (AMCON) plan to name and shame Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) is predicted to come to naught as financial analysts contend that that similar actions embarked upon by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and deposit money banks (DMB’s)in 2015 did not yield the expected results. AMCON earlier in […]

  • Atiku urges APC to concede defeat like Jonathan if it loses

    Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has called on the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State to accept defeat in good faith if it loses the July 14 governorship election. Atiku, who visited Gov. Ayo Fayose in Ado Ekiti on Monday said losing an election to a rival party should be seen in the light of the […]

  • Nigeria to shut borders over rice smuggling

    The Nigerian Government says it will shut the land border between it and a neigbouring country in a few days time to avoid smuggling of foreign rice into the country. Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, made the disclosure in Abuja on Monday while speaking with youths in a leadership clinic […]

  • N500m for lawyers over MTN’s fine

    The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the payment of N500 million legal fees to lawyers for the recovery of N330 billion fine from the Mobile Telecommunications Network (MTN). MTN was fined by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in 2017 for breaching directives on SIM registration. The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the […]