If you haven’t heard of the “Finnish Magic” here is your chance. It is about the educational revolution that saw Finland move from a country with only 10% basic education in the 1960s to a country with 100% literacy rate at the turn of the century, and it is rated as one of the countries with the best education index in the world.
The FG appointed an accountant as the minister of education. Yes, an accountant. I read his profile. Because there was hardly anything to say, they said he was a seasoned accountant. I guess that’s better than just an accountant. He has a swank diploma in journalism from a foreign school. He used to write a column in Daily Trust. And he was a PA to a former governor. Now, here is your education minister
It is a country where children start basic school (what we call class 1) at the age of 7; where teaching is more prestigious than medicine and law, even though teachers aren’t paid above-average wage. Only the best students from high schools get admitted to the universities of education. Admission is so tight and competitive that only about 10% get admitted, after writing a test and undergoing psychomotor evaluation to determine their temperance, passion and suitability. To be a primary school teacher, the minimum qualification is a master’s degree in education. Pupils do not write exams. Homework is minimal, and highly discouraged. No tuition. Education is completely free. Free school feeding that ensures the child gets 33.3% of his daily nutritional needs. When a woman gives birth she is given 3 books. Two for the parents, one for the baby as part of her maternity kit. Bored already? Let’s talk about more interesting stuff.
Let’s talk about Nigeria where only those who fail JAMB and have a credit in agric science and religious studies are considered fit for the teaching profession. Where universal basic education is neither universal, nor basic, nor educating; where a primary 6 pupil can’t read; where children sit on the cold concrete or on a dusty surface to receive instruction from a bitterly demotivated teacher; where literacy rate is 59.6% (this means only 6 out of 10 Nigerians above the age of 15 can read and write. Compare with Zimbabwe’s 87%). Children (especially city children) enrol in school from one year, are taught by educationally handicapped and economically challenged teachers whose boredom with the job is visible to the blind. Some have an NCE. Some an OND. Some have just a secondary school certificate. And you say we are serious about developing?
The FG appointed an accountant as the minister of education. Yes, an accountant. I read his profile. Because there was hardly anything to say, they said he was a seasoned accountant. I guess that’s better than just an accountant. He has a swank diploma in journalism from a foreign school. He used to write a column in Daily Trust. And he was a PA to a former governor. Now, here is your education minister. I know, you want to say that his qualifications don’t matter right? Well, they matter in my books. If we are serious about education, we need an insider-eye in that sector. By the way, oga minister is assisted by a professor of animal science, Prof. Anthony Onwuka. Double wahala for dead body and the owner of dead body. But magic happens in Nigeria. Even dead bodies can resurrect, or attempt to resurrect.
I guess it’s all politics in here. At this rate we will never be a developed country. However hard you chisel a square peg it can never fit snugly into a round hole.