"Nigerian educational system is a very large articulated structure that should not be tampered with at the whims and caprices of any minister of education at federal or state level. Painfully, this is a common occurrence."
This was the submission of the Dean, School of Transport, Lagos State University (LASU), Prof Samuel Odewumi, who recently delivered the convocation lecture of Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED).
Odewumi, in a paper titled, "Teacher education in a knowledge economy and the quest for university status for colleges of education in Nigeria," described the country's teaching and learning sector as "house of commotion," where all manner of people come in and muddle up existing programmes and great initiatives, all in a bid to create an impression.
This, he added has resulted into wrong steps; contradictions, gaps and flip-flops in policies, which hitherto foot drags the sector's progress.
"The confusion in our education system is driving cross-border agitations in institutional status. The first point is that every new minister or commissioner wants to leave a footprint on the sands of our education system. All sorts of experiments and changes are foisted by individuals who have only 'beer parlour' ideas on how the delicate and articulated system works.
"Whether it is in the area of introduction of fanciful subjects or changing the status of traditional ones today as compulsory, tomorrow as optional and the day after compulsory like History, Civics and trade subjects. Secondly is the removal of some levels of our educational structure without thinking it through or consider an appropriate replacement. I will refer to our Teacher Grade II and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC)."
He explained that Teacher Grade II programmes are designed to be trained as class teacher at the primary level, as it makes the students teacher of all subjects at the level, parent in situ and general administrator.
"Therefore, when Teacher Grade II is replaced with NCE teachers that are subject specialists, there ought to be a corresponding modification of the content of the programme of the NCE teacher for his/her role as a class teacher. Also the removal of HSC from our educational structure has done a lot more harm than good. The level was deleted without thinking it through. At the 2006 national education summit, there was a recommendation that HSC should be brought back immediately.
"The third ill is the total neglect of our technical colleges. Fourth is the mode of implementation of our 6-3-3-4, followed by the mandate mix-ups of the various tiers of educational structure and the sixth issue is the last four in our formula 6-3-3-4. The last four is very perplexing and need to be harmonised," he stressed.
All these issues Odewumi stated, have landed the country's education into a confused state.
He therefore advised that there should be specific interval at which knowledgeable experts will be assembled to review the issues raised including the ones that will still arise due to the dynamic nature of knowledge.