When one takes stock of the nationalists and great statesmen produced from the South East who are products of good education one would naturally expect that with the passage of time more giants would have emerged from the educational system of the moment. This is natural given that there have been great innovations in education infrastructure, technology and the quality of education.
The Igbo land has produced countless big shots who took advantage of education to add values to their lives and humanity in general. We can only but mention just a few like Nnamdi Azikiwe, Francis Akanu Ibiam, Odumegwu Ojukwu, Amanze Njoku, Chinua Achebe, Michael Okpara, C. C. Onoh, etc.
Rather than make progress in an era and in an area people are making great leaps and taking advantage of the situation to advance living we find ourselves making a downward slide in the same system even with the abundance of the opportunities that abound. What this implies is that we are experiencing failures in our educational systems. There are numerous evidences to support the fact that we have not been doing well in growing our education.
According to the United Nations stipulations supporting educational advancements it recommended that each country’s budget should at least allocate 26% of its provisioning to education. In reality Nigeria’s budget is never anywhere near this target. Last year alone out of the 10trn naira budget only 48bn capital expenditure was given to education. This is quite insignificant compared to the needs of education in Nigeria.
Education plays critical role in development. It is stated that the level of development of any nation is a function of the level of the quality and attention given to education. It is clear that the difference between the so called developed nations and the third world nations is the difference in the quality and amount of focus on education.
Many people have identified that part of the reasons we are not moving forward in education stems from the attitude of our leaders. Some hold the view that we have leaders who are barely educated and so do not see the enormous value we can derive in sustaining a strong educational system. It is also argued that the reason our leaders pay little attention to education is because they train their children abroad and with stolen funds from public treasury.
The educational system outside is properly planned and value driven with tremendous benefits for those who access it. The leaders travel out to these areas and see what works but are not concerned with replicating those ideals here. Most often the budgets are poorly executed. The budgeted values are hardly completely released. Sometimes releases are made execution is very poor and often fraudulently appropriated into people’s pocket.
Little wonder today we are confronted with dilapidated structures, no laboratories, no chairs, no toilet facilities, no classrooms, insufficient teachers, out of date learning tools, and numerous other challenges. The available teachers are not motivated because of poor funding and poor delivery is the result. It is not surprising that the federal government has continually experienced endless confrontations from the Association of Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as a result of poor attention to a critical area of governance.
News Echo wishes to point out that the greatest damage we can do to any child is lack of or provision of poor education. There is no gain stressing the importance of sound education in a sophisticated and technology driven world as we have at present. We extol the virtues of western education but we also enjoin administrators of education to focus on discovering those aspects of our endowments which we can offer to the world.
Our educational offerings should be redirected from internalizing information to critical thinking that asks questions.
We call on the governments especially those of the South East extraction to re-evaluate and rejig the system with intention to capturing the abundant talents that abound in Igbo land. The constant dominance of pupils from the South East in competitive examinations like WAEC, JAMB, etc is a constant reminder that more should be invested in education because it is assured that so much value is being derived and taken advantage of.
The only way we can secure our future and leave a strong legacy for the future generations is providing an enduring educational system. This is one of the best things we can bequeath to our children. Neglect of government schools have created opportunities for private education at all levels to thrive. Most indigent parents cannot afford the cost of private tuition. This is the reason government should step in strongly to improve their offerings.
Government should revert to the status quo when the legendary leaders mentioned above were produced. If we can do it then we can do it better now. There is no better time to do so than now.