‘Education remains the bedrock of development, guarantees child rights’
Mrs Rita Adigwe is the Proprietor of Reegan Canadian International School, which runs triple curriculums for their pupils with a view to making them compete favourably with their world counterparts. Adigwe, an educationist with law background, speaks to LAOLU ADEYEMI on the current state of the Nigerian education. She harps on the need for proper funding of the sector by government while also highlighting the place of parents in face-lifting the standard of education in Nigeria.
How would rate the nation’s educational sector?
I wish government would try and fund the educational sector. It is sad that issue of the nation’s education are not part of what is being discussed at the National Assembly or by any other arm of government. Nigerian government needs to work towards making education possible for all regardless of whatever the individual choses to do with his or her life. Government really needs to fund the nation’s public school and make it compete with the privately owned schools. Many state governments need to be told to go back and make public schools serve the same purpose it served in those old days. I attended public schools and I know what it used to be and what it is now. More structures are necessary; teachers’ salaries need to be scaled upward to make the profession more competitive and attractive to others.
The line between the public school and private school teachers should be closed. The idea of government owing salaries up to 10 months is not doing any good to the nation’s educational sector. Poor funding is one of the major problems bedevilling the nation’s educational sector. It is very appalling that the National assembly don’t even see the ugly trend should be reversed. Overhauling Nigerian public schools should be given more priorities and attention as soon as possible. Nigeria is not a poor country; poor governance is only running us down.
What is your take on the issue of malpractices in the education sector these days?
It is worrisome that modern day teachers and parents get their hands soiled with bribery in the process of ensuring that a child passes his or her exams. We preach against corruption in politics but we often overlook the practical one in the education sector, which is the bane of development. Parents should stop aiding their children to pass an exam through bribery. Bribing to make a child pass exams only spells doom on the child’s future.
I learnt some teachers also get involved. In Nigeria, I can easily relate with the challenges faced by teachers due to poor salary but they still need to uphold the principles of the noble profession. Teachers are the builders of tomorrow’s leaders. If we really want to move this nation forward, parents, students, teachers, government and every other stakeholders must desist from bribery. All hands must be on deck.
Nigeria is backward today in terms of development due to bad leadership, how can parents help in building the tomorrow leaders?
A child learns a whole lots from parents because they spend much of their time at home. Parents should avoid doing wrong things in their front. Many Nigerian parents believe that showing them the way of religion is the way to go in terms of child upbringing, but we need to move beyond that and teach them core values of life. We have to teach our children how to be good ambassadors of the family and the nation.
Some parents raise their children with iron hands, which creates a strong communication barrier. I am of the view that parents should make friends with their children and make them feel free to discuss any issue before things go out of order. For instance, when a child confides in you about his wrong doings, don’t chastise him immediately. But you can address the issue headlong, much later to win over their confidence. Parents should teach their children how to ask questions on whatever that is not clear to them. Learning at home is as important as learning at school.
What do you have to say about parents’ influence on a child’s choice of career?
It is a very wrong path that many parents have toed and some are still toeing it, even in the 21st century. It is better to encourage the children to do it themselves. This was what gave birth to Montessori in the U.S. where children are encouraged to do things by themselves.
Allowing them to have an interface with different fields of work with little guidance helps a lot in making best choices in life. Nigerian parents should eschew the idea of forcing their will on children when it comes to career because many have been pushed to pursue a wrong course that had no relevance in their lives. The likes of FELA Anikulapo Kuti, FALS; the son of the popular lawyer Femi Falana and others who pursued what their parents wanted before embracing their own love dreams are good examples. In my own case, I fell in love with law when I visited one of my relatives in school and I pursued the dream.
Parents should be passionate about their children education and do everything humanly possible to give that legacy. When you give your child quality education, you are indirectly shaping his or her destiny and consequently helping government to reduce the social ills in our society. Education guarantees your own child right and you mustn’t allow anybody to infringe on it. As a matter of fact, parents should take education as matter of life and death.
The introduction of technology into study comes with its own challenges. How can parent balance the equilibrium?
Technology seems to be gaining more acceptability among our youths because it helps a lot in the information dissemination. But I think it should be censored because many parents are unaware of the disadvantages of technology on the children who are yet to be matured. No doubt, embracing modern day technology is key to development but parents need to censor it. Parents shouldn’t allow a child to have too much screen time so as not to affect his or her future. This is why I encourage boarding schools.
Why should people parents prefer your school to others?
Reegan Canadian International School was established with a vision to improve the standard of education and groom future leaders.
We are doing a whole lot and we are running a triple curriculums – Nigerian, Canadian and British. Schools that combined such curriculums together are very rare in Nigeria. We have well qualified teachers, massive building, wonderful playground, well spaced classrooms and well equipped ICT classes. Our school have genuine affiliations with schools in United Kingdom (UK), Canadian, Cyprus and it is very affordable. Gaining admission into tertiary institution across the world is not a tea party but our affiliation makes things easy. The officials of the aforementioned school have been here for an approval and we are on the same page. Many parents dream to have their children school abroad but Reegan is here to make that dream come to reality through our programmes.
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