BY DAYO ADESULU
The new Senior Secondary Education Curriculum (SSEC), which was personally presented to the public last week in Abuja by the Minister of Education, Professor Ruquayyatu Rufa’i (00N) is said to be geared towards preparing students for higher education as well as laying a solid foundation for sustainable poverty eradication, job creation, wealth generation and value re-orientation which are the four focal points of National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy(NEEDS).
Essentially, the SSEC was developed by the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council towards actualizing the ideals of the NEEDS and the educational reform agenda of the Federal Government.
According to the Executive Secretary of NERDC, Professor Godswill Obioma, the curriculum is therefore structured to enable it attain the four focal areas of NEEDS, support knowledge economy as well as create an enabling environment for youth empowerment and acquisition of functional skills and entrepreneurship.
He explained further that the new SSEC represents not only global best practice per excellence but also a major paradigm shift from the extant one with obsolete content standards and knowledge matter. The new SSEC is structured as follows: There are five compulsory subjects of English Language, General Mathematics, one trade/entrepreneurship subject which is to be selected from the list of 35 trade entrepreneurship subjects, Computer Studies/ICT and Civic Education which all students must offer.Then there are four distinct fields of studies/ specialization from which students are to offer three or four subjects. Under Science and Mathematics are Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Further Mathematics, Agriculture, Physical Education And Health Education. For the field of Business Studies are Accounting ,Store Management, Office Practice, Insurance and Commerce. Subjects listed under Humanities include Nigerian Languages, Literature In English, Geography Government, Christian Religious Studies, Islamic Studies, History, Visual Art, Music, French, Arabic and Economics while the field of Technology has Technical Drawing, General Metal Work, Basic Electricity, Electronics,Auto Mechanics, Building Construction, Wood -Work, Home Management, Foods & Nutrition And Clothing And Textiles.
One elective subject may be offered by students within or outside their field of specialization provided the total number of subjects is not more than nine and not less than eight.
The 35 Trade subjects include; auto body repair and spray painting; auto electrical work; auto mechanical work; auto parts merchandising; air conditioning/ refrigerator; welding and fabrication/ engineering craft practice; electrical installation and maintenance work; radio, TV and electrical work; block laying, brick laying and concrete work; painting and decoration; plumbing and pipe fitting; machine wood working; carpentry and joinery; furniture making; upholstery and catering craft practice.
Others are garment making ; textile trade; book keeping; tourism; GSM maintenance; mining; photography; animal husbandry; fisheries; marketing; salesmanship; keyboarding; data procession; shorthand; cosmetology; printing and practice; dyeing and bleaching and leather goods manufacturing and repair.
Although every secondary school must offer students opportunity to acquire some trade/entrepreneurship skills, the type of trade being made available for learning in schools will depend on equipment and resources available, the need of the community where the school is located as well as the vision of the school.
Prof. Obioma explains that the new SSEC represents a paradigm shift from the old one. His words: ”The 35 trade/entrepreneurship subjects are new additions and enrichment to the SSEC. In the new structure, every learner is expected to be engaged with trade skills that will engender his/her global competitiveness. English is for strategic communication whereas Mathematics is to strengthen his or her functional numeracy and general mathematical skills. The human capital that grows out of the focused area of potential specialization is the strength of the new SSEC structure. Thus by June 2014, graduates from the new SSEC are expected to possess relevant ICT skills and enterprise culture and become well prepared for their world of work or for higher education as may be applicable.
He continues: “A critical success factor in the actualization of Nigeria’s Vision 20:2020 is the mass production of people with requisite vocational and technical skills and competencies, and commence to operate, maintain and sustain the nation’s economic activities for rapid socio-economic development.
The new SSEC has the potentials of driving this. The streamlining of the fields of studies enable students become more focused in their areas of potential and future specializations unlike in the extant practice where students migrate across sometimes unrelated subject matter.
“The development of trade/entrepreneurship subjects from where students are to choose at least one trade for compulsory study has enabled the vocationalization of the curriculum as well as creating the enabling environment that will support higher education.