The New Secondary Education Commission
THE Federal Government recently inaugurated a 15-man committee for the take-off of the National Commission for Secondary Education. It was inaugurated to address the challenges confronting secondary education across the country and draw out a blue- print which will return it to its original plan.
THE Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr Sonny Echono, while setting up the committee in Abuja charged them to work with modalities for the smooth take-off of the commission. Secondary school education which before now was referred to as an orphan due to many years of neglect by previous administrations have left many parents with no choice but to embrace private secondary schools. Owners of such private schools have capitalised on the poor state of public secondary education in the country to exploit parents who pay exorbitant school fees through their nose.
ECHONO who charged the committee to come up with strategies for the smooth take-off of the commission assured that when the expected report is implemented, secondary school education in the nation will be able to compete favourably with their peers outside the country.
IT would be recalled that the law establishing the commission was passed in 1999 but the commission was not effective as sucessive administration failed to implement the law. Due to years of neglect, no doubt, Secondary school education across the nation had been bedevilled with myriad of challenges ranging from inadequate fund, decayed infrastructural facilities, inadequate and low quality teachers, lack of commitment on the part of students among others. These had negatively affected the enthusiasm and the quality of learning of most secondary school students and of course, a contributory factor to the massive failures of students, both in internal and external examinations often witnessed yearly.
TEACHERS in the nation’s secondary schools are not motivated to embark on improvisation of learning materials to appreciable level coupled with acute decline in government supply of such graphic materials, appropriate textbooks and other learning aids to the schools in many states. With the inauguration of the commission by this administration, it is expected that identified gaps will be filled just as done with TETFund seeing through tertiary education and UBEC for basic education.
THE importance of secondary school education cannot be over-emphasised. Aside preparing students for the tertiary institution challenge, it gives students a wider scope and perspective and career choice to make in the future. Secondary education in most countries is responsible for the development of the young during their adolescence, the most rapid phase of their physical, mental and emotional growth. It is this very education level, particularly in its first cycle, where values and attitudes formed at primary schools are more firmly ingrained along side the acquisition of knowledge and skills.
THE quality of education in any country is one of the keys to national development. Education is important for the personal, social and economic development of a country. It empowers minds that will be able to conceive good thoughts and ideas. It makes the national development process fast. The standard of living of citizens is largely dependent on the level of education the citizens are able to acquire.
FINDINGS have proved that only education can help the society progress further so, it is right to say that there is no amount budget for education that is a waste. The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisations (UNESCO) recommend that 26 per cent of the nation’s budget should be allocated to educational sector for it to have appreciable impact on national development.
THE committee must come up with brilliant ideas as dedicated professionals have lasting impact on students because they are classroom managers who reinforce appropriate behaviour, measure student learning and create inclusive learning environments.
SINCE no education can rise above the quality of teachers, The Hope appeals to the Federal Government to motivate them by organising training workshops to keep them abreast of modern teaching methods, reviewing and improving teachers salaries and promoting them as and when due. We want a regular payments of teachers’ salaries to attract qualified and dedicated teachers to public schools. This will also change the attitude of young people towards the teaching profession.
SINCE the primary function of the commission is to set standards and ensure that secondary school education meet the yearnings of our country as well as global competitiveness, The Hope appeals to the Federal Government to seize the current opportunity to replace retired teachers in all subjects and also employ more teachers in core subjects like English Language, Mathematics and Sciences as findings revealed that some public secondary schools in the nation do not have required number of teachers to handle these important subjects.
THE HOPE commends President Muhammadu Buhari for fulfilling one of his campaign promises to improve education standard in the country and urges the President to increase the money budgeted for education and ensure that the money is not diverted. Since the right investment need to be done for a desired results, We also urge the Federal Government not only to fund secondary school education adequately with good management but to also expand and upgrade the facilities in order to accommodate more students.
WHILE appealing to the members of the commission inaugurated to expedite action on the assignment given and see it as an opportunity to contribute their quota to the educational development of the country, we urge them to give priority to secondary schools in the rural areas. We also appeal that the commission be guided by objectivity to achieve the needed results that will proffer lasting solutions to problemssecondary school education in the country.