May 25, 2024

Southeast Nigeria: Adopting inclusive education to promote creativity

.As SEEC holds meeting

By Adesina Wahab

Though the country is battling with the menace of Out-of-School children, which is put at over 18.3 million, the Southeastern part of the country has the least number of OSC.

According to StatiSense, Kano has the highest number of OSC with 1.8 million, Katsina with 1.4m and Bauchi with 1.37m, the state in the Southeast with the highest number of OSC is Ebonyi with 190,000, Enugu 70,000 and Anambra having the lowest figure of 30,000. That shows that school of children age in the region are mostly in school.

Also, without mincing words, the region is also endowed with creative minds in different spheres of life. And there is this saying that “education without creativity is equal to illiteracy and backwardness”.

Thus, at a defining time of social and cultural transformation in Nigeria, the possibility of developing creative education based on local cultural knowledge and problem solving capabilities cannot be ignored.

Therefore, to harness the creative potential of the people of the region and promote inclusive education, the Convener, Southeast Educators Conference, Doris Chinedu-Okoro, gathered eggheads together in Enugu on why Southeast needs to pay better attention to education.

According to Chinedu-Okoro, there is urgent need for inclusive educational approach to harness the creative minds in the Southeast Nigeria. She said that education in the region must have the ability of harnessing the creative minds of the students towards solving societal problem.

She warned that anything short of this might end up producing “educated illiterates” who might neither become successful entrepreneurs nor be prepared for the future of work.

In her remarks, she opined that in a world that is rapidly evolving, facing challenges from technological changes to societal shifts, the role of the educator has never been more pivotal.
Addressing the assembly of educators, advocates, and innovators with a common commitment to fostering educational excellence, Chinedu-Okoro, a legal luminary, said that SEEC was set up against the backdrop of a vibrant community which represents a unique opportunity to exchange ideas, share strategies, and reinforce “our collective commitment to shaping the future through education”.
She said that the conference theme, “Future Focused Learning: Igniting the Competitive Edge,” highlights the dual focus of equipping educators with the tools and insights necessary to excel, and crafting learning environments where the students can thrive.
“In a world that is rapidly evolving, facing challenges from technological changes to societal shifts, the role of the educator has never been more pivotal.
“As we navigate these changes, it is your resilience, creativity, and dedication that will mould the next generation of leaders and innovators, ” she noted.
Delivering a keynote address titled “Let Us Build and Export Education: A Vision for Southeast Nigeria”, Mr Osita Chidoka, the chancellor, the Athena Centre for Policy and Leadership, called on Nigerian educational institutions, particularly Southeast educators, to reverse the growing ugly trend of importing education that is fast gaining acceptance amongst Nigerians of all classes.
The former minister wondered why, with the level of creative minds and world class academia in Nigeria, the citizens would still be flocking abroad for studies.
He recalled that in the recent past, a couple of decades ago, Nigeria was the toast of many African countries and even people outside the continent for higher education.
Chidoka urged educators to reverse the trend where Nigerians predominantly seek education abroad.
With over 71,753 Nigerians studying overseas, of which about 11,000 are in African schools and only few international students opting for Nigeria, he noted that the situation has become deplorable.
He emphasised that Southeast Nigeria, with its high literacy rates and robust basic education performance, is ideally positioned to become a leading educational hub in Nigeria and Africa.
Chidoka’s address resonated with the audience comprising school administrators, government officials, education technology professionals, and private school owners.
He outlined several practical policy initiatives aimed at enhancing the global competitiveness of Southeast schools and positioning them as leaders in exporting education.
“Southeast Nigeria could reverse the current trend of educational emigration and instead become a prime destination for global learners if the leaders adopt the measures outlined here amongst other conference proposals”, he argued.
The keynote speaker urged state governments to bolster education quality through robust inspection and adequate supervision.
On tax reform for educational institutions, Chidoka recommended a simplifying compliance by consolidating taxes into a single system for private schools, thus enhancing ease of business and inviting more investment. He added that education system must be benchmarked to globally acceptable standards.
On his part, Prof. Ndubueze Mbah, the Commissioner for Education, Enugu State, said that in line with the conference’s theme, experiential learning is a meaningful intervention for the state’s education system.
Mbah, an associate professor of history at the University at Buffalo, said that Governor Peter Ndubuisi Mbah’s administration is adopting learning models in Experiential Learning Network to reform the state’s elementary and secondary schools.
He expressed the belief that experiential learning is a durable African solution to underdevelopment and youth empowerment, and is aligned with the UN SDGs.