By Eniola Daniel
Vice-Chancellor of Augustine University Ilara-Epe, Lagos State, Prof. Steve Afolami, has said that education, which is the bedrock of the development of any nation, needs the best attention and positive contribution of everyone.
He stated this at the third matriculation ceremony of the university, which held at the institution's auditorium recently.
According to him, enablement for some level of income into every home will improve the peace and stability of homes so that children can grow up in an atmosphere devoid of tension and rancor traceable to poverty and lack of steady means of livelihood.
The teachers at the primary and secondary school level should be qualified and in sufficient numbers for each subject in classrooms that are tidy and decongested; thus enabling the teacher easy mobility around and inspection of notebooks and workbooks while at the same time, teaching; and in good ratio of 1:35 students/pupils as opposed to the current ratio of 1:80 or 100 in many urban and peri-urban public schools.
"Remuneration of teachers should be attractive and regular with retraining schemes built into their service by means of seminars and refresher programmes. This should be done before each promotion to the next rung of the ladder.
Inspectorate Departments of the Ministries of Education should be adequately funded to perform their duties and teachers should not be deprived of their authority to enforce discipline at any level.
"The Education sector, like the agricultural sector has very high potential to absorb labour in that more teachers are employed to decongest the classrooms into which too many students are crammed; as against the current trend in which teachers are not employed in sufficient numbers by the three tiers of government.
At the University level, parents should be made to contribute more than they are doing now to the education of their children so that the Universities can provide the basic comfort and services required for a good learning environment like it used to be in the Sixties up to the early eighties in Nigeria.
"Competitive scholarship programmes and bursary support for brilliant but indigent students should be provided, while loan schemes can be reintroduced for others who may need it.
Sports and competition across states of the Federation have to be re-introduced as the other aspect of school life for good health and detection of talents which can be properly channeled early in life to other aspects than strictly academic pursuit which cannot be a career for all.
The technical and vocational needs of the nation should be factored into any declaration of emergency because needs are begging for fulfilment in that regard and unemployment is rife precisely because those areas of our educational system are too theoretical to be useful.
They are mere unsuccessful mimicry of the University system and they don't have to be so."
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