By Adesina Wahab
Some stakeholders in the education sector have expressed the need for parents to allow their children to be emotionally and otherwise mature before rushing them to start primary education or even proceeding to university or other tertiary institutions.
In chats with Vanguard at different fora, the stakeholders included the Lagos State Government, the Nigeria Union of Teachers and an educator who is also a school owner.
Speaking during the Lagos State Day at the Total School Support Seminar/Exhibition, TOSSE, organised by Edumark, the Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folashade Adefisayo, said skipping classes and rushing pupils through their education is unnecessary.
In Lagos State, a child less than 10 years is not admitted into public secondary school and that makes it that by the time the child would want to go to university, he or she would be 16.
“Primary Six is slowly eroding. People are making their children skip Primary Six and go to secondary school. It is a serious private school concern.
It is not good for private school owners to accept children who are as young as eight or nine years into secondary school.
” People should stop admitting underaged children into secondary school. These innocent children are not emotionally mature and we don’t need to rush them through life. Whatever they would be in the future, they would be, not that we should rush them through life,” she said.
The National Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, Dr Mike Ene, said the bill being considered by the Senate to peg the age at which candidates would sit for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME, at 16 was in the right direction.
“Some people are talking about gifted children, how many of such do you find in a class? Being brilliant is different from being intelligent and emotionally mature. Those who brought Western education to us and pegged starting primary school at six years knew what they were doing.
“Now you see a child of one year being dragged into school. Why can’t parents allow nature to take its course? You can prepare your child with what we called Home Lessons in those days before formally starting school,” he said.
Mrs Abiodun Adebusuyi, a teacher and school owner for about three decades, noted that not being emotionally mature has led to some students being abused, lured into joining bad gangs among others in tertiary institutions.
“At T-Square Private School, we counsel and educate our parents and guardians on the need to allow nature to take its course in the lives of their children. Some people may argue that there are some exceptionally brilliant students, but being brilliant does not mean the person is intelligent or emotionally mature.
“Some young boys and girls who are not emotionally mature and are gullible have been abused by their colleagues and lecturers or even tricked into joining secret cult groups without them knowing what they are being led to.
“Places like Finland, Sweden Norway and other Nordic countries reputed for quality education, you don’t go to university at below 16 and they engage the students in acquiring other vocational skills. Life is not a competition of I finished my university education at age 10 and you finished yours at age 11,” she said.