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Imo State education industry needs total overhaul, re-designing, rebuilding

By Dr. Onyema G. Nkwocha

WHAT IMO STATE EDUCATION INDUSTRY NEEDS: TOTAL OVERHAUL, RE-DESIGNING, & REBUILDING, THAT’S THE WAY FORWARD

Her Excellency, Imo State Commissioner of Education, Prof. Viola Onwuliri,

The sacrosanct role of Education is to meet and serve the needs of a people, an individual, or group thereof.

First things first:

My appreciation goes to His Excellency, Governor Emeka Ihedioha for having made one of the most IMPORTANT decisions early in his Administration by appointing, and later on swearing in, Her Excellency, Professor Viola Onwuliri the IMO STATE EDUCATION MINISTER.

Second, my heartfelt Congratulations goes to none other than Her Excellency, Prof. Viola Onwuliri in her appointment and recently sworn into office, the Imo State Education Commission, the Education Czar, if you will! Your Excellency, Commissioner, Congratulations!

Quite frankly Madam Commissioner, there is WORK to be done in Imo State’s Education Industry!

But do not worry, at all because you are extremely equal to the yoke and TASK S ahead.

INTRODUCTION –

From the outset, IMO STATE EDUCATION INDUSTRY LACKS THE QUALITY METTLE NECESSARY FOR OUR TODAY’S GRADUATING STUDENTS TO EFFECTIVELY COMPETE ON AN EQUAL KEEL WITH THEIR CONTEMPORARIES ON TODAY’S ECONOMIC WORLD LABOR MARKETS.

Imo State and her citizens, and especially placed in this predicament on the world labor market forum because, Imo State education sector or industry is totally BANKRUPT and must be jettisoned, thus making way for a brand-new Education system in the state in order for the State to grow and compete internationally.

Therefore, Total SYSTEM OVERHAUL: Redesigning, Rebuilding, Restructuring, Renovation, and Wholesale CURRICULA Program Re-Designing to ANSWER the varied and collective NEEDS of Imo State citizens and the State at large, is the most effective, PRAGMATIC, and feasible way FORWARD and out of the current quagmire. Anything short of this will be cutting corners!

The quality of education prevalent in a country is the prim facia determinant of the quality of workforce (the HUMAN RESOURCES/the LABOR FORCE)– the bottom-line derivative, if you will in that country! The quality of labor force in turn determines the quality of a slew or various other things that make life worthwhile in that country.

These include, but not limited to the level of socialization, enculturation, acculturation, quality of life, level of awareness, quality of health, food/nutrition, water resources, air quality, Environmental situations, industrial development, the level of job and employment creation, the quality and state of national development, quality of national growth, level of citizens development, awareness and independence, etc., and etc.

The quality of a nation’s capital or wealth and those of her citizens depends on, and can be essentially traced to the quality of that nation’s Human Resources (HR), and its Human Resources Development (HRD) all of which becomes derivatives of or from the QUALITY OF EDUCATION IN PLACE! And which is generational, per se.

The Problems Associated with Imo State Education & What Needs to be done:

This article is not about the historical antecedent of Imo State Education quality and status. For the above reason I will endeavor to stir clear of dwelling on historical facts concerning the quality of Imo State Education and its products in the days gone by in comparison to the current surreptitious dispensation.

Rather, I will make an attempt at summarily skimming through the root causes of the problems while devoting majority of my discourse on some of the pragmatic, and potential programmatic things the Imo State Education Commissioner, Her Excellency, Prof. Viola Onwuliri, may review, evaluate, and consider putting in place, first to stop the bleeding and flood of water currently going under the bridge, then Designing substantive and unique respective Program CURRICULA to answer the identified problems in Imo State Education System.

POSSIBLE ROOT CAUSE OF TODAYS LOW QUALITY OF ACADEMIC STANDARDS IN IMO STATE.

1. Nigeria, as a Geographical national entity, has NO LEADERSHIP. Therefore, Nigeria is in DARKNESS, period. When the nation and its center are in the dark and together, do not care about the quality of life and the education of the citizens or the workers, from the Center, imperceptibly, this National frame of mind will, steady and slow, but surely find its way into the composite branches of the central government which, here, are the States among which, Imo State is one. And that is the current problem Imo State is experiencing – because as the leader at the center leads, so follows the people at the various nuclear states and the parastatals!

2. Government- (Central and State) Does Not and Has Never CARED About the Welfare of TEACHERS!

Come to think of it, TEACHERS are human beings as well. It used to be that teachers had no other “side” jobs and businesses besides teaching and therefore had no other side-fallbacks besides their usual meager and UNDERPAID monthly salaries. Teachers, like any other set of professionals, have lives to live and celebrate! They too, are human beings as well! Teachers raise children, they buy from the same market, they send their children to schools and pay the same school fees in order for their children be able to go to school and get their education.

Have we ever stopped and asked: What happens to a teacher- father or mother of an average of five children who must house them, feed them, clothe them, pay for their school fees, pay other incidental bills, must leave them each day, Monday through Friday, 7/24, 22-26 days in a month and at the end of the month, the SAME TEACHER is not paid the hard earned SALARY? Has anyone stopped and introspectively or otherwise asked this soul-searching question? Are teacher humans? Do they have feelings similar to those of non-teacher counterparts and contemporaries in the country of State? Imo State teachers are no different.

And this scenario repeats the next month, and the next month and the next and the month after, on and on into one year, teaching without pay, right? Now tell me, what do you thing happens to the quality of the teacher’s production – graduating student?

So, tell me, which teacher in his or her right frame of mind would not first ABANDON TEACHING and find an alternative means of SELF-PRESERVATION first, of feeding his or her children, taking care of other personal financial responsibilities before having the enthusiasm, energy and zeal to go teach “other” peoples’ children at school? This is not possible!

By the time the teacher is out of the school, looking for alternative means to keep body and soul together for his or her family or their family as the case may be, what time would the teacher have left, to enable him/her go back to school to teach?

Society cannot eat its cake and expect to have it back. So, in essence, teachers, when they are compelled to do this and act this way, are staying, the teachers’ self-preservation-first mode kicks in and they ask you thus: “So, you want us to stay in class and teach, right? Then PAY US as at and when due! And not just Paying us, pay us comparably like any other professional since we buy from the same market! This complaint is a legitimate concern because teachers have Cogent and Valid point here. I am hoping that this legitimate issue would have to be addressed in the months ahead.

3. What is the effect of the teacher not in the Classroom, teaching the students?

The result is today bankruptcy in the quality of Education in Imo state. Besides this poor program tools sets in. Anything now goes in the school systems. Students are no longer supervised, monitored, and disciplined for infractions and noncompliance of State Education Regulations and institutional rules and policies. When students begin to get away with merited disciplinary actions, they now take as the new school norm and anyone challenging them on these thereafter, becomes an enemy to them. Students are no long challenged to study. To pass exams, students now rely on “EXPO”- fake question paper trafficking -seeing and buying the question papers before ever stepping into the Exam hall without adequate and complementing rigorous study designed to yield quality outcome in the exams.

4. The teacher now, to make up what the previous Administration did not pay them in the 8-years in office, resort to selling both hand-outs (mimeographs) and “real” QUESTIONS PAPERS to the Highest student bidder! If the student happened to be a girl, and cannot pay for the high prices of question papers or the hand-outs, goes the alternative route of sleeping with the teacher – All of these, an anathema practice and culture during this author’s time in Imo State’s education system!

5. Cultism, Peer Pressure, and similar negative sub-cultural practices by today’s students. Cultism – the act of adopting and practicing unorthodox, unconventional, and devilish authoritarian or charismatic ritualistic worships, and nocturnal ways of life that sometimes involve human and blood sacrifices now reign supreme on the high alters of academic institutions with no school authority able to tame the nefarious practices of its student members.

On many occasions, news about members of the cult in one institution or the other terrorizing both faculty and fellow students who do not practices cultism. The negative after effect is part of today’s bankruptcy in our Imo stare education system and industry. It is hoped that the new Educational Czar, Leadership, Administration, and Management will do something tangible to quell the havoc wrecked on u reduction system by the false practice of cultism.

6 Sugar Daddy/Sugar Mommy Syndrome: In place of extra-mural classes, the un merited need to come to school with brand new cars now has led to the culture of Sugar Daddy/Sugar Mommy Syndrome. Sugar Daddy/Sugar Mommy Syndrome is the act whereby female student will for days on end meet reach Chiefs, Alhaji’s Obas, etc., and other millionaire male friends, sleep with the days on end at the expense of their health and education as well as running the risk of rituals for body-parts and at the end of the day, return to school with a car, brand new or not. The male counterparts do likewise with their sugar mommies and return to school with cars that have swagger quality on their hoods! When a student come to school with a car while the teacher comes with bicycle or many at time, on ten-toes, who now listens to whom in the classroom?

7. Many students coming to class on Empty Stomach., without Food and Some Ill, with undiagnosed Debilitating Disability that hinder effective concentration, studies and comparable performance at the end of the term or semester. These and many more form the bedrock problems at the root cause of current day poor academic quality in Imo State Education System.

Thanks to GOD, the Governor of Imo State, the Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, among several other Commissioners, on 8/7/2019, sworn into office, the Education Czar in person, Her Excellency, Commissioner Professor Viola Onwuliri, the Imo State Education Commissioner! NOW IS THE TIME TO RE-WRITE HISTORY: GIVE IMO STATE EDUCATION SYSTEM A CURRICULUM THAT MEETS & ADDRESSES THE NEEDS OF THE LOCAL PEOPLE AND HAS THE QUALITY TO PREPARE OUR CHILDREN TO EFFECTIVELY COMPETE IN THE GLOBAL MARKET ECONOMY ANY WHERE!

Yes, and yet, prepare our students for Global Competition in the present day Global labor MARKETS of science, technology, computer, cloud technology, medicine, health, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, artificial intelligence, leadership skills, in all aspects and endeavors of life – investment and Entrepreneurship, economic and industrial independence, you name it.

THE HOW: begin with what is currently available- meet the people – our students where they currently are today! Then reign in change little by little and at the same time, phase out the Dead Old British System! In a space of 4 years, and hopefully moving into the second term, we would have noticed SUBSTANTIVE Development and change in Imo State Education system and quality of our graduates.
OG. Nkwocha

Your Excellency, Commissioner Viola Onwuliri, I think you have the best golden opportunity to once again, place Imo State on the road to greatness, Development and Economic and wealth depending on how you proceed to define and re-map Imo State Education system. Hence, in reiteration of my belief, the sacrosanct role of Education is to meet and serve the needs of a people, an individual, or group thereof!

Dr. Onyema Nkwocha, EJD, ED.D.
California, USA

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