By Dayo Adesulu
NOT many critics of the education sector who believe that some things are definitely wrong with the sector can proffer solutions to the decadence bedeviling the sector. Dr. Adebayo Oyeyemi who lectured Mathematics in the tertiary institution for years and also an administrator of Good Shepherd Group of Schools, Lagos, is not one of them.
He has pointed out some confusions and solution in the implementation of the new curriculum, lamenting that the university requirements through UTME is missing in the new curriculum. ”Nigeria is one of the countries that has the best educational policies but the problem is consistency and implementation as well as aligning what is happening at the grass-root.
“The new national curriculum is very good because it aligns with global practices as it focuses on specialisation right from the onset. For example, if a child is going to become a medical doctor, right from the primary school, he should be having the tendencies that is directed in that way, then narrow it down when he gets to JSS and eventually to SS1, where he can focus on sciences.”
According to him, the curriculum does not align with university requirements in Nigeria. “There are some schools that follow this new curriculum like our school and at the end of the day, cannot gain admission to the university.” He noted that the university requirements through UTME are different from what we have in the new curriculum. For instance, if a child is going to study engineering, the new curriculum tells us he does not need Biology and Chemistry.
In the new curriculum, he said, we have five basic subjects that are compulsoryn then a student has to pick three subjects from his area of specializations making it eight. Thus, we have English, Maths, Trade, Civic and Computer. In the old curriculum, Computer was compulsory, in the new curriculum , Computer has been removed.
“Due to your area of specialisation, you need three subjects or four and then take one elective across the four divisions. Others are Humanities, Business, Science, Mathematics and technology.”
He maintained that both Business and Technology are having problems. In the new curriculum, it is not compulsory for them to do Biology, Chemistry, and Physics adding that there are other subjects that are related like Basic Electricity, Basic Electronics, Food and Nutrition , Technical Drawing and so on.
He argued that if a child should follow that into-to, he will not get admission to the university because the universities still base their requirements on the old curriculum which says if a child wants to study Engineering, he should have Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics, now that is the problem.
His words: “It is a serious problem as Physics and Chemistry are no more a Technology requirement. They are under Science and Mathematics for those studying Medical Sciences and General Science. So, if we should follow the new curriculum, it is perfect. That is why I said, by policy, they are excellent, but by implementation, no communication. There is a gap.
“Till date, many schools do not know what to do as far as implementation is concerned. Though, we nearly fell victim when they gave us the curriculum and told us that we should simply follow the curriculum. However, the government needs to sit down and bring professionals together.
“It is not just copying what happens in America, what happens abroad, but is also to customise our curriculum and when we customise it, we should communicate how to implement it to educators. “The Ministry of Education should go to the field and get feedback on what is happening on the field. What is happening on the field is different. In fact, it is like we are gambling with the lives of these children.
“On the part of WAEC, they came up with Civic education, thereby mixing both the new and the old curriculum together.
“For Lagos state government, it said Biology is compulsory. Everybody is now bringing ideas. You do not run a curriculum like that. You sit down and figure out what your goal is? What do you want to achieve with these children? Then, you set what will take them there. All ideas should be gathered together in a single document of the curriculum.
“If the Federal Government says that technology students do not need Physics and Chemistry from the curriculum, why should somebody now rise up, and say they still need Chemistry, Biology? There should be a unique document.
“Now we have to see how to manoeuvre ourselves, so that we will not fall victim, because some children did not gain admission. They removed Economics from Commercial, they put it under Humanities. Universities still require economics for Commercial students.
“In some schools, it was when the UTME requirements came that they started doing Economics, and those students failed woefully. However, the new curriculum is perfect, to me, It is what I have been soliciting for. In fact, because of the old curriculum, there were some vocational things we put in our school, like IT.
“I embrace the new curriculum because you do not need to bother students with what they do not need. Bring in general subject that will give them general knowledge then let them specialize. Civic education, English, Mathematics and Trade are general. Then let every child specialize in the areas where he has his own gift and his own inclination.”