I have just returned from the 2019 edition of the education convention put together by Meadow Hall Foundation. The theme of this year’s convention was “Accelerating National Development Through Education.” It was awesome! In addition to learning so much, I enjoyed interacting with giant educators at the event – the likes of Prof. Josiah Ajiboye – Registrar/Chief Executive of TRCN, Prof. Yetunde Ajibade of Obafemi Awolowo University, Funmi Ilori, founder of iRead Mobile Library, Dr. Modupe Adefeso (a.k.a. Dr. Moo) of the Education Partnership Centre (TEP) and Mrs. Kenny Nwani, our host and founder of Meadow Hall Foundation, to mention just a few. These educational giants all made remarkable contributions at the convention. One can only hope that their insightful suggestions will by no means end up as mere intellectual opinions.
Interestingly, I sat on the same stage, as a panellist, with these heroes of education to answer amazing questions intended to tackle the challenges of national development, as small as I am. As much as I thank God for this immense privilege, my heart bleeds for Nigeria and those poor Nigerian children who are unable to receive any befitting education, at this time, by their economic status. Dr. Moo shared with us, how some 13.2 million Nigerian children are unable to read material meant for children in Primary 2, a claim which, unfortunately, is substantiated by Justin Van Fleet of Africa Barometer. According to Van Fleet, a whopping 58.3% of the children in Nigeria are unable to master reading or writing after primary school. Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) equally confirms Dr. Moo’s observation.
Nigeria has the highest proportion of children in Africa, not meeting basic levels of learning at the end of primary school. About 10 million children do not go school while another 12.6 million are unable to read or write by the end of primary school. This data portends grave consequences for the future of our beloved country. Arguably, the high level of insecurity we see in our Nigeria today is mainly as a result of yesterday’s poor education or none education at all, for that matter. Let me paint this picture to you more vividly, using the quote below:
Go ahead, build more roads and houses, erect better bridges, fix power too, but remember, that the child you failed to train today will sell the houses you built, pull down your better bridges, and bring power generation to nothing via vandalism.
This is a wake-up call to all well-meaning Nigerians. If we fail to provide good education to today’s poor Nigerian children, they will undoubtedly become our greatest nightmare tomorrow. Together, we must all rise to salvage this anathema in our own little but unique ways. I, therefore, call on our government, the private sector, educational leaders, teachers, etc. to do something to preserve Nigeria’s future.
We can do it; we must do it!
By Olufemi Folaponmile (teacher4life)
Email address: [email protected]