Without loosing much thought, almost every young adult can analyse the state of education in Nigeria. Without a lot of pondering, errors are easily identified and some solutions proffered. The truth is what we know. That education in Nigeria is below expected standard and we have a part to play in solving the problem.
This post can do no real justice to the intensity of what should be done but, I’ll like us to see possibilities. Private-sector education caters for a large percent of students in Nigeria today. These numbers are significant in growing a ‘well-educated’ population. School educators could apply some strategies in playing out their professional roles to help the situation. If we choose to persistently wait on the government to solve all our problems, we may be losing sight of the power of ‘drops of water’…..drops of water that could potentially fill cups of water over time. As is often said…”ask not what the state can do for you…but what you can do for the state”. Even though permanent solutions will come from the government.
But, what can educators do?
Educators ‘must’ (..and I use the ‘must’ word carefully to raise a sense of urgency)… do the following:
1. BUILD TEACHER/STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS
School owners should begin to build a lasting relationship between teachers and students. Relationships that make students connect with their teachers as though they were surrogate parents. How? Spend time training your teachers weekly on treating students the way they would like to be treated. Truth is, students want to be treated with respect.
Talking down to students or lecturing them about their inadequacies will only irritate or frustrate them. Offering positive reinforcement, being consistent, smiling, and listening to their concerns all help to gain students’ trust and friendship which more often than not inspires students to give their best. So, do these:
Get to know your students
Develop good will among them
Protect student’s self esteem
Always…always….always…..listen to Students.
2. INVEST IN HIRING GOOD TEACHERS
It is often quite tempting for school owners to hire what one can term ‘the cheapest hand’. The obvious reason would be to maximize profits. It is my opinion that education is not a business. Education in the private sector should be practiced as a social enterprise – an organization that seeks to use profits made for the general good of the society and in context for the good of its students.
Regardless of what we all know is status quo in our country – how the target is to maximize profits for any business, our country will continue to suffer from its current weakened state of education if school owners do not invest in hiring the very best of teachers. Schools must also have at least two teachers in every class. I’m guessing your next thoughts are: “Where will these teachers come from? How many people are likely to teach considering teacher low-pay status?”….etc
Truth is, school owners who genuinely want to support the development of education can quantify the impact of hiring quality teachers. They are dynamic, innovative, engaging, empathetic, caring and mostly very resourceful individuals….who possess these innate skills and spontaneously use them.
The biggest part of Finland’s success story is in its quality of teachers (who are made up of the highest paid professionals in their country; employed based on the highest level of qualifications…see HERE).
3. VERY EARLY SUPPORT FOR STRUGGLING STUDENTS
I believe that 90 percent of students can succeed in regular classrooms if they receive emotional, academic, health and medical help they need. If we place a lot of emphasis on detection of any difficulties and problems that students in our schools may have; innovate with early intervention programmes from a problem solving point of view, almost all of our students are set for success and future productivity.
What other strategies do you think schools can practice to help transform education in Nigeria? Please share.