”A situation where only children of the poor or only those who know little about education, are in the schools, any slight change in the parameter of measuring education may automatically attract a negative reaction. There is still a lot to be done, removing automatic promotion is number one, there are still a lot of things to be corrected, like you don’t pay the Teachers and you want them to perform, where lies the factors of motivation ? There is no way that they can be motivated.”
The Oyo state Government recently announced the cancellation of automatic promotion in secondary schools in the state. In the interview with Federationews2day, the Founder and spiritual head of Shafaudeen Worldwide, Wakajaiye, Ibadan, Nigeria, Professor Sabitu Olagoke, says it is a welcome development, although a lot still has to be done to salvage education in the state. Excerpts :
What is your reaction to the new policy of Oyo state Government on promotion in secondary schools in the state ?
In the first place, automatic promotion for students in our schools is suicidal, because the spirit behind assessment and evaluation has defeated. And the consequence of this, has been mass failure all along. In a situation, where Oyo state is meant to be a pace setter in everything, is now found to be at the 30th or 32nd position of the 36 states, is not only embarrassing, but very, very, threatening to the future of our children, because education is an empowerment tool, through which the future leaders are been processed, and once everything is disorganized, it means in the nearest future, products of Oyo state schools will be incompetent and they won’t be able to compete with their counterparts, not only from Nigeria, but from other nations. It ought to have been done ever since, but the reason behind even allowing the automatic promotion was more of a kind of economic deceit, whereby successive governments have always been shying away from injecting the necessary funds into having more buildings in schools and engaging in facility update, that is why they have continued to say that, students, whether they pass or not should be promoted. But now that the reality is now at the doorstep of everybody, we need to thank the Oyo state Government for realizing the folly. But we need to give them some strokes of the cane for delaying it for so long, because when a policy is to change, it is through proactive measure, whereby you give a notice, a year or two, and you follow it to the letter. But a situation whereby is is been rolled out through emergency or fire brigade approach, then the counter reaction is what we are witnessing from the students as well as from some parents, who don’t even support what the students have done. Personally and generally it is very, very unwholesome for any student to damage property of schools, whether private of government. But it is easy for these crop of students to do so, mainly because most of them are from homes that are educationally disadvantaged, their parents neither know anything about education nor what it takes to send children to school, so, with that poor background of the parent, what do you expect ?
Unfortunately, the elites in the society and people in government, do not have their children in these schools, which government has failed to fund. And the reason been that all these schools are been underfunded and they lack the necessary tolls and facilities to encourage knowledge update. A situation where only children of the poor or only those who know little about education, are in the schools, any slight change in the parameter of measuring education may automatically attract a negative reaction. There is still a lot to be done, removing automatic promotion is number one, there are still a lot of things to be corrected, like you don’t pay the Teachers and you want them to perform, where lies the factors of motivation ? There is no way that they can be motivated.
Those days when we were in Primary school, because those Teachers were motivated, they took us as their children and that is why we were able to receive the best from them. Government is having the best of Teachers, because the minimum standard is NCE. So, if well motivated, they are ready to change things for the better. Government must look into that area. And the government, generally, must look into the area of living wageN18,000 can buy nothing as minimum wage, the living wage must be visited, so that Teachers themselves will be able to carry out their daily activities. And the best way to do it is to follow the Kenyan and Ethiopian approach, where they cut the salaries of the top echelon. If it is cut, the present economic recession could be addressed. So, government must be realistic, the way they approach issues. The masses in this country need palliatives, through civil servants, who will now go to the market to buy foodstuff for the money to go round.