It is sad to notice : Firstly that the National Policy on Education (NPE) 1998 section 6 item 45 on tertiary Education goals is not commensurable with the demands and need for the Nigeria Society. Secondly the renewal and adaptation of curricular are a matter of common concern for all the challenges of our social needs: defence of our economic national self-reliance (NPE 1998 section 6 item 4d).
It was in the Guardian Newspaper of Wednesday September 22, 1999 in which we read, the Minister of State of foreign Affairs, responding on the urgent review operation of the Technical Aid Corps (TAC) to meet up standards of recipient countries. This in view of the reported rejection of our graduates of Tertiary Education: On the ground of increasing incapability of rendering qualitative services in their disciplines. The Minister was of the opinion and did suggested “the re-training of Technical Aid Corps at Enugu” because the government of Nigeria doesn’t want to be embarrassed with spate of rejection of our Corps” (i.e. Our Nigerian graduate.
“The decline in literacy is a fiction; if not a hoax….
Do those who control our economic and educational system really want a totally literate workforce?
Richard Ohuman, the Chronicle of Higher Education 1976”
Most school are drear, boring places. Perhaps it is time to encourage educators to take risk, to try out new ideas.
George Leonard, the great school reform Hoax (1984)
INTRODUCTIONThe general development of Nigeria education policies (i.e. from colonial protractorate to regional and the 1969 recommendation of national curriculum conference to the birth of the Nigeria National Policy on Education (NPE) 1973) with subsequent reviews into the 3rd edition of 1998: is that attempts for the educational sector of our economy to produce functional education (processes in terms of societal need). Also, the policy to serve to educators as guide in terms of societal principle; in addition accepting the challenges of competence training at all level (NPE 1998 section 1 item 4d).
The questions that bounce in and out of me as l interact with colleague, superiors at leisure and on official duty are: how much the country education sector have attend the need of the national policy (at the tertiary level)? Why graduates of our tertiary institutions deemed are good enough to be employed in Nigeria without retraining, when they do not pass qualification test of supposedly more backward Africa and Caribbean Countries (UNESCO 1998) to which they are sometimes deployed on exchange programmes? Thus, something must be going wrong in the policy or its application. Since, the Minister of state is of the opinion for retraining of the Nigerian graduates from tertiary institutions. If there is nothing wrong must we limit the quality reforcement training of our tertiary institution product to only those we are exporting?
TYPICAL CASE IN ISSUEIn the New Nigerian Newspaper of Saturday 2nd August 2003, the present Minister of work called the attention of Nigerian “engineers’” quacks. This in view of observed attitude of some local who call themselves engineers; they are the products (or graduates) of our tertiary education: they exhibit their in- experiences professionally and unbecoming; and the government of Nigeria look else where for more “Competent” engineers to execute jobs, said the Minister.
To buttress the case in issue is of a true story from friends. In 1998 a senior register of teaching Hospital in Lagos was offered a two year sabbatical in a lower grade in a British college of medicine. When in the college, the teaching syllabus and institutional facilities was handed to her. On going through the course content, the contents look strange to her. This was due to the computerised and types of teaching equipment which she has never been familiar with, „of course‟ it tasks her to the point of embarrassment. Note, all her potential students sadly, have been taking her for granted, since their first year in the college.
To save herself from further embarrassment, the assistance professor (she) had to feign illness, took some few month off. This action gave her the chance for intensive training in computerised medical application familiar herself with appropriate equipment and stuff to teach her new caliber of student.
The pragmatic paradoxes are that those British students who put our professor to task and the product of her former students here in Nigeria are collectively called doctors when they graduate by society.
Therefore, the mentioned typical issues above draws one‟s attention ,also, one is tempted to re-look inside the National policy, on Education (1998) and asked, why don’t we revise and improve the standard of tertiary education system in terms of physical infrastructure, course content, Instructional personnel, syllabi and system of administration? since it is observed, some professor(s) are only interested in crushing dreams, stealing ideas and validating their own ego.
PHILOSOPHACAL STANDIt has been observed that our crude scientific approach to development is that, we think in terms of qualitative additions rather than of simultaneous multiplication. In our stride determination in public administration, 1960-1980 (Adamolekun 1985) we make arithmetical increases in which two plus two equal four instead of geometrical increases where, as we grow inside we are also rising our past limitations; given equal initial investment in both methods of arithmetic and geometry. The matrix of additional method yields quantitative result as contras with latter (multiplications) (e.g. 2+2=4: 2×2=4: 4+4=8; where as 4×4= 16 and so on and fourth) that gives quantitative and qualitative results. One (the addition) is recycling process; the other (multiplications) productive.
The result of quantitative growth have yield today in Nigeria the creation of more ministries, more state presidential and gubernatorial advisers, with more Universities being over stretched having one of the highest Student/ Lecturer ratio in the world (Amadio 2000), lacking in rudimentary basic facilities. Yet, creating sundry open Universities which indeed are uncharitable label them as degree awarding institution rather than tertiary education. To put the educational policy, in a worsen today situation, Chief Audu Ogbeh, the chairman of the People Democratic Party (PDP) reported in London that, „by the year 2015 Nigeria will have 100 Universities (Vanguard Newspaper Wednesday August, 6. 2003).
CLOSURE OF TERTIARY INSTITUTION
Most laurels of education endeavour especially in our case Nigeria, Professor Wole Soyinka and others suggested the closure of our tertiary institution for restructuring of which is seems acceptable to me. This is because of the fallacy of the educational policy being made un-relevant by some educational actors called institutional administrator.
Therefore, our present position in the world of education processes warrant a one year closure (at least) might yield a positive result namely:-
1. A fresher course for lectures to enable them catch up with their foreign counter part in the use of instructional facilities and teaching machines (NPE, section 6 item 47).
2. Each of the tertiary institution to enter in to exchange programme with top rate institution outside Nigeria as a model for re-development (NPE section 6 item 45a)
3. Invitation of intellectual in different field in to Nigeria for syllabus update and comparison with brain storming session considering the Nigeria factor of governing by displacement of good hands (lectures).
For this purpose it is being suggested the first generation University – especially Nsukka – and Polytechnics – especially Yaba/ Kaduna – could be approved and properly founded to execute the mentioned project while the remaining tertiary institutions be advice for affiliation with any of the mentioned University and Polytechnics for convenient.
While in the process of comparison and brain storming on requisite facilities and institutional aids: the resultant higher standards in all institution can be structured, harmonized and maintained. At the same time, one of the likely benefits will be the total computerisation of all our institutions and interconnected within the one year restructuring (NPE 1998 section 6 item 45)
STUDENTS DEVELOPMENT DURING CLOSURE AND RESUMPTION
During the lecturer‟s refreshers course it is being suggested, the government should make computer grant to every student in the affected higher institutions. Henceforth a diploma certificate in computer competence shall be come compulsory admission requirement for fresh students. Projects assign to the continuing students during the closure should be on practical project. This is so because of the palpable lack of empirical learning observe in our higher institution today with the result that even core science and technology courses are taught without the aid of life experiments and practices. The product of such inadequate education are observed to end up learning by rote and memorizing, rather than by assimilation which the National Policy on Education advocates for (Degree 16 of 1985)
FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF CITIZENS OF NIGERIAThe above objective being achieved the government should turn attention for retraining of the civil service to meet the present challenges for accelerated national development. This can be achieved if the civil service is divided in to group and the groups and be trained by the rejuvenated University and polytechnic lasting three months.
PRESENTMENTFor more pro-active, creative and functional productivity the above investing in quality education and re-education will be healthy for economy. Civil servant, tertiary lecturers and students will develop confidence in what they can do by themselves with the quality training mentioned above if we can at least close the tertiary education system, for one year. The effect of this training is observed to made graduates less prone to seeking to be employed rather than being self-employed.
This will reduces the miserable starvation wage structure of which the graduate obtained in public services.
More so, the competitive environment in which companies operate, which prevent them from compromising in the recruitment of high quality skilled human resources will be reduced. In effects once the quality of our tertiary education system improve following the above exercise the improve products will naturally ends up in the private sector costing them far less to integrate into their system than it does presently (even being rejected by a lower underdeveloped countries). The effect of all this is more foreign exchange retained and improvement in other sector outside education. In the present dispensations of the global economic effect, knowledge is not just power, it is also wealth. This knowledge is much more lasting wealth than the oil and gas reserve put together by our economic juries.
There is no question, that expectation from curriculum and standards has dropped over the past years and evidence of decline in tertiary educational achievement in recent decade is beyond question-some professor(s) are only interested in crushing dreams, stealing ideas and validating their own ego. Though, there are college graduate, many of them cannot read accurately or write without travail or doubt, cannot utter their thoughts with fluency or force.
Let the tertiary academic preparation as suggested in the text be balanced with vocational or professional programme using computers and teaching machines. Let re-structure tertiary system. Let one student take strength from one another. And for the future of tertiary education, let us end the divisive, snobbish, destructive, distinction in learning (from vocational education) that do no service to the cause of knowledge for efficiency and do no honour to the name of Nigeria enterprise in the global economy.
Familiarity with digital keyboard and electronic operations; understanding how to follow programme commands; recognizing when a system is following or deviating from a programme; knowledge of a basic computer language and the special vocabulary referring to hardware, software etc. should be encourage in our tertiary system. This will be the whole gain for closing and restructuring our tertiary education.
REFERENCESAdamolekun, L. (1985)” Nigeria Public Administration” Perspectives and
Prospect” IBADAN: African Press. Ltd.
Amadio M. (2000) Edith “World Data on Education” GENEVA UNESCO
Education National Minimum – Standard and Establishment of Institution
Decree No. 16 1985.
Michael W. A. (1986) Edit. “Culture Wars-School and Society in the
Conservative Restoration 1969-1984” London: T.J.Press. Ltd.
National Policy on Education 1998.
Guardian Newspaper of Wednesday September 22, 1999
Vanguard Newspaper Wednesday August, 6. 2003
New Nigerian Newspaper of Saturday 2nd August 2003