So I just got off the phone with my dear grandpa and he told me about his recent trip to Accra, Ghana for the annual West African Examination Council (WAEC) meeting. He was there to present the Annual Oyediran Award to the school with the Best West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) result.
He shared a very interesting and joyful news and an equally sad one that got me out of my blogging hibernation. (Happy New Year dear readers, trust it has been a great year so far). So I hope I have stirred your interest with that intro (smiling). I know you might be wondering how any news that I plan to share is linked to the topic of this post. Please stay with me a bit, I will get to it shortly.
My grandpa told me that the best three students for WASSCE 2015 were three girls from the same school in Ghana! Yes you heard that right. I was excited by that news considering that this month of March (as a YALI ambassador) the focus has been #Africa4her and I pledged to tutor local girls in a school, well I have a motivating story to share with those girls and I am elated. Can you beat that they were all girls and they were all from the same school? I am sure the school would have gotten special publicity and more students by that information. (Congratulations to those lovely sweethearts, I am proud of them!)
So now you may wonder how such good news can equally make me sad. Well I am sad because for three years running, Ghana has produced the best three candidates in WAEC. Where is my beloved country in the scheme of things? I am happy for my Ghanaian sisters but I am sad that Nigeria has lost her place in that first three spot. Once upon a time in a not so distant decade ago, Nigeria produced the best three students and yours truly was the best candidate in Nigeria and West Africa then.
That WASSCE result was the result that God used to totally and radically change my life for good. It opened up doors I wasn’t expecting neither did I imagine, it answered prayers I never uttered out of my lips and it impacted and encouraged so many I am yet to meet in this side of heaven. So I am deeply hurt that the education sector in Nigeria has so deteriorated that the next generation has lost the opportunity that was offered to me. From my earlier post on education, I have already discussed the education epidemic and will not focus on that tonight.
My focus is on reviving the education sector in Nigeria. I asked a couple of friends what can we do from a small scale and what should the government be doing about this situation. I would be sharing their ideas and mine on this salient topic.
My idea on reviving this dear sector is not one focused on just good grades but setting up an education sector that trains the mind, strengthens character and develops the potential in each child and youth.
Beyond policies, we need a good and effective implementation plan. The importance of training opportunities for the teachers and administrators of the schools and universities; improved facilities and rewarding excellence at every level of education (primary, secondary and tertiary) cannot be overemphasized. All hands have to be on deck to help the next generation see the importance of being the best they can be, stirring up interests and passion in the students (which is not possible if we do not have passionate and creative educators).
Finally, as my friend, Omotola Akinsola (Jumpstart Academy founder) puts it:
“For me the education sector can be revived when we move from not just seeing education as the formal form of just going to school to learn to read and write or be a doctor, lawyer, engineer or banker, to revive the sector will mean to be open to other ideas about what education really is. Can we say education or transformative or transformational education should be something that can be used in the context people are in and have opportunities to learning things that makes sense for the context they are in. So to revive the sector in my own opinion, the first thing that needs to change is the definition of what we consider as education and also helping people get over the mindset of if you did not go to university, you don’t have an education or have a good one as the case may be.”
In conclusion, if we resurrect the education sector, we stand not only the chance to reclaim our lost glory of producing the best WAEC candidates, we also unleash potential and create innovation that would revamp our economy and the continent at large.