MAY-JUNE 2020 NEWSLETTER
WE DEDICATE THIS EDITION OF OUR NEWSLETTER TO NON OTHER THAN QUEEN GRACE IKENCHUKWU OF AGBOR KINGDOM , DELTA STATE , NIGERIA WHO WOULD HAVE BEEN 68 YEARS OLD TODAY.
02 June 1952 – 02 November 1977.
HAPPY POSTHUMOUS BIRTHDAY OUR MOTHER AND QUEEN.
“Mother, you are my sight (you are my sight), Mother teach me how to see because am still a child…” (Song by Sonny Okosuns).
OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS…WHICH WAY NIGERIA? (Part 2)
“Which way Nigeria, which way to go. I love my fatherland, I want to know which way Nigeria is heading…” (Song by Sonny Okosuns).
When the above song was composed, some of us were not even born, others were just babies, yet others were children in (public) primary schools, whilst others were in (public) secondary schools. There were a few private schools in that era. Most of our parents who knew and heard the legendary Sonny Okosuns perform that song were products of these (public) schools. No doubt the purpose of the song was to avert our mind to the pressing issues and shortcomings we face(d) in Nigeria as a Nation. The question however is has the song achieved its purpose decades afterward and indeed many years after the demise of Sonny Okosuns?
What are these pressing issues? First on the list should be our public educational sector. The need to pay attention to this part of the system cannot be overemphasized and to better appreciate the discourse, a quick rundown memory lane is required.
Before the Europeans arrived, education was an integral part of the Nigerian culture albeit taught informally. It was organized and efficient. We were taught basic survival skills and on culture.
This was the foundation upon which the western education was established. In the 1840s, the European education was introduced into the Nigerian system beginning with Lagos and Calabar (so also some coastal cities). During this era, the Europeans did not fund but instead gave grants to schools. Most of these schools were owned and operated by the Christian Missionaries.
CULTURE AND SURVIVAL SKILLS
METHODIST MISSIONARY SCHOOL
Northern states however, did not appear open to the idea of western education as they believed it would interfere with their religion Islam since the schools were largely owned by Christians. Instead they built Islamic schools which focused primarily on Islamic education.
Before Nigeria gained her independence, she had two (2) post-secondary colleges which are Yaba higher college founded in 1934 now called Yaba College of technology and the University of Ibadan founded in 1948. After Nigeria gained independence on the 1st of October, 1960, more universities were built. Examples of such Universities are Obafemi Awolowo University of 1961(formerly known as University of Ife), Ahmadu Bello University of 1962(formerly known as University of Northern Nigeria) etc. The Nigerian Educational system continued to grow and by the 1980s, the estimated enrolled in primary schools were over 11 million, secondary and technical college 1.2 million, teachers’ college 25,000 and universities 75,000.
UNIVERSITY OF IFE
UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN
Looking at the gradual but consistent growth in the Nigerian educational system, to expect the system to have attained its peak today would neither be unreasonable nor out of place. However, over the years the system has deteriorated. The origin of this deterioration can be traced to the late 1980s onwards. Public Schools are run by the Government and it is no surprise that their ineptitude has played a major role in the degradation currently associated with the system. The issues range from the following:
- Inadequate funding of public schools by the federal and state government;
- No teacher welfare and low salaries for teachers;
- Limited number of public schools which do not meet the education demands of Nigeria’s growing population;
- Lack of political and moral will towards improving the quality of education;
- Debilitated school infrastructures, to;
- Lack of basic amenities for conducive learning e.g. toilets, tables and chairs, well equipped computer and science laboratories, updated libraries, textbooks, etc.
These and many more have forced Nigerians to resort to private education. Unfortunately, with their high fees, the masses are left at the mercy of the government. The right to education is guaranteed to every individual on paper, i.e. by the Constitution. In reality however, this promise cannot be farther from the truth. It is a fundamental objective of the Government. It is upon this premise that we, as a people must come together to demand accountability of every public office(r) as it is paramount. The budget for education should be
increased and a revamp of the public schools in Nigeria should be the utmost focus of our leaders. An effective policy on education and teacher welfare should also be implemented. Consequently, when more schools are built and made free, there would be less need to construct more prisons as they would have access to white-collar jobs rather than tilting towards criminal activities in order to live a good life.
PRIVATE SCHOOLS IN NIGERIA
PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN NIGERIA
“Which way Nigeria, which way to go. I love my fatherland, I want to know which way Nigeria is heading… many years after the independence, we still find it hard to start…” (Song by Sonny Okosuns).
The above lyrics echo through time, exposing the failings of our fathers and begging for ears that would listen. Perhaps our parents merely danced to its melody and tossed its message like egg shells but today, our public schools suffer because of these failings, because indeed the warnings of Sonny Okosuns fell on deaf ears. This piece seeks to place the lens on the public school system in Nigeria. Though, the system is not entirely hopeless, it requires strong will, hard work and genuine concern for the nation in order to effect a change. Therefore, in achieving this goal of making a change, we all as Nigerians, must come together and not only answer but effect a positive solution to the question WHICH WAY NIGERIA?
This is what we hope to achieve at QUEEN GRACE FOUNDATION (QGF). This is why we do what we do. This is why we have adopted two public schools in rural communities and starting with our CO-GIVE20 project, we invite you to support us by donating towards the refurbishment of our schools, their libraries, toilets, boreholes, etc. With your support and taking one step at a time, we are confident that we will achieve our dream of building a New Nigeria Public School System where our children will learn and grow to become proud and successful citizens of this great nation of ours. At the end of the day, we hope to be in a position to answer one of the questions posed by the legendary Sunny Okosun in the above song which goes thus:
“…how long shall we be patient before we reach the promised land…”?
LET’S SAVE NIGERIA, SO NIGERIA WON’T DIE.
To support our QGF2020 Project on the development of our adopted public schools, known as “COVID19 or CO-GIVE20?”, please donate into any of our accounts below with reference as your name and “Co-Give20”:
Access Bank: 0739444546
Barclays Bank: 20.92.63 (SC); 73005984 (AN)
Zenith Bank: 1017200010
You can also visit our website or donate through our go fund me account by clicking on the link below:
N.B: Sceptre Legal Services is the preferred law firm that represents Queen Grace Foundation and The Obi Ikenchukwu Foundation on all legal related matters.
We also render probono services on humanitarian matters such as Child Rights Law, Domestic Violence etc.
Queen Grace Foundation
Suite D12, Dolphin Plaza, Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria.
The Business Resource Network
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