HOW will Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State address the parlous result of the State’s primary schools audit? The solutions would be more challenging than the report.
Anyone who is aware of the neglect of primary school education would have expected the report which reflects a nationwide decay.
Many States give no thought to the morass in primary school education. Their officials could be among those expressing surprise about Edo State schools.
Summaries of the findings are -
Only 1,304 or 9 per cent of the State’s 14,484 teachers have accurate records
91 per cent 0r 13, 180 teachers have various forms of discrepancies in their records
1,379 teachers were employed without primary school certificates
Some teachers got primary school certificates only about two years ago
In some cases, they obtained the certificates while teaching in the same schools
789 teachers had primary school certificates before the age of 8 or 9
Years of consigning primary school education to the “unimportant matters list” has resulted in what Edo State discovered. It is not a recent phenomenon. Governments in Ekiti, Kaduna, Kwara and Ogun had the same results when they put a searchlight on their primary schools.
In one State, primary school teachers could not pass the same tests they administered on their pupils. Others had cases of certificate forgery as is evident in Edo State. More commonly, the pay rolls were inflated, and had names of teachers who died years back.
A lethargic nation momentarily mulled these deficiencies in its future and turned to more interesting matters like oil revenue allocation and quotas to fill juicy federal appointments.
We missed the point then, as we are about to do it again in Edo State, the issue is national. Education – you can wonder what is – is not important to the Nigerian state. The distracted attention it gets is the evidence.
Our individual solution to the problem has been to patronise private schools which, for many reasons, cannot provide the answers to the mass education of our peoples.
Education is under the control of the same syndicates that control many aspects of government operations. Organised criminal groups have taken over education; governments’ actions fail to tackle this dimension.
Who are issuing the fake certificates? Who are falsifying employment documents? How do unqualified teachers get into the system? Why are governments paying for more teachers than they employed?
Urgent measures are required to manage the issues. The current concerns about higher education, without a care about primary and secondary education, are duplicitous. We have invested minimally in education, we cannot reap differently.
When punishments for frauds are effected, education would be a big beneficiary.