‘Government should tackle imbalance in educational policies’
Mrs. Chinemerem Laura Raymond is the Director of Lora Praise Nursery and Primary School, Lagos. In this interview with UJUNWA ATUEYI, she said for the country to witness great advancement, the Federal Government must ensure equity in all spheres of schools’ management across the six geo-political zones. She also stressed that private schools should be given access to soft loans from financial institutions.
As an educationist, what do your consider most important in grooming contemporary youths?
For us at Lora Praise Nursery and Primary School, character moulding is highly imperative. The future of any society rests on the quality of the skills and character of its youths. It is easier to form the character of the youths in our educational institutions than waiting for them to mature into adults before we start encouraging them to be of good behaviour.
To educate a person in the mind but not in the morals is to educate a menace to the society. With the determination and support from all stakeholders, the parents, teachers, government and the community, a lot can be achieved to build our productive youths to take up the mantle of leadership.
Secondly, vocational skills are important in grooming the contemporary youths. Our youths should be encouraged to take up vocational education or training on trade, craft or as a technician. This can take place at the post-secondary, further education and higher education levels and can interact with the apprenticeship systems.
In addition, sport is a great area to explore. Our youths should be encouraged in various sporting activities so as to develop their physical abilities; more so, nowadays some sport events serve as revenue generation for countries in the world. Engagement in sporting activities could as well eventually at the later part of the participant’s life be a source of income and career-building.
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is advancing, the face of learning is changing, how is your school adapting to the trend?
In today’s world, there is basically nothing one can do without ICT.Information and communication technologies, which refer to technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications, but focuses more on communication technologies like Internet, cell-phones, wireless network and other communication mediums.We consistently expose our pupils to the use of these technologies as this can lead to an improved student learning and better teaching methods. They are also exposed to the use of computer operation.
How would you assess the country’s educational system?
Reasonable progress has been recorded by the government of Nigeria in her bid to provide education for all through the introduction of Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme.UBE is an expression of Nigerian government’s strong desire to provide free and compulsory education to her citizens from basic to junior and senior secondary school.
Though the desired quality of education at these levels is yet to be achieved in Nigeria and may be far-fetched except with improved funding. The budgetary provision for education is grossly insufficient when compared to the 26 per cent minimum budgetary provision for education as recommended by UNESCO.
Education policies in Nigeria are not balanced due to political and ethnic factors. Quality learning, curriculum and funding differences can be observed across the regions in the country. Schools in the northern part of the country are not as developed as those in the southern part and the quality of learning is not at the same level. Every child deserves access to quality learning. This is noticed in the areas of attendance, facilities and general attitude of the northerners towards education. The imbalance in educational policies is instrumental to all these. A lot needs to be done by the government to bridge the gap, sensitise the general citizenry on the implications and effects of education on individuals and the society at large.Presently, Nigeria is burdened with the highest population of out-of-school children (13.2m according to UBEC) in the world with most of these children residing in the North. All these are issues that should be addressed.
What is your advice to education managers across the country on how to advance the sector?
My earnest advice for education managers is to improve on their supervisory roles. There is need for provision of guidance and counselling services in schools to tackle pupils/students’ problems; provision of adequate infrastructural facilities in all schools like computers and projectors; and also the need to see private schools as partners in progress and hence encourage them.
When was Lora Praise School established and what are the set-out goals?
Lora Praise Nursery and Primary School was established on the 19th of September 2016. Our goal is to provide quality education that can enhance future success. A good quality education is one that provides all learners with capabilities they require to become economically productive, develop sustainable livelihoods, contribute to peaceful and democratic society and enhance individuals’ well being.
Also, we want to impart Godly upbringing in the children. When you ‘catch them young’ by instilling the fear of God in pupils, this goes a long way to reducing crime in our society. We are also determined to prepare and equip pupils with the right tools to face life challenges. Challenges are a part of every day life. They make us stronger and without them, life becomes somewhat meaningless.
How can you describe government’s attitude towards private schools?
The government is doing its best but it has been observed that concentration has always been on tax or revenue collection and not how best the private schools can be assisted or supported in the area of funding via subsidy since private schools are partners in progress as regards provision of educational knowledge to the pupils. Support could be in terms of supply of materials, in essence, encouraging them to see private owners as positive force towards realising nation’s educational goals.
Besides that, what is the most challenging issue confronting the school?
The most challenging issue confronting the school is inadequate fund, as parents/guardians do not pay their wards’ school fees as at when due or even pay at all due to the harsh economic situation in the country thereby hindering the lofty programmes of the school. Inability of the management to have access to soft loans from financial institutions is another big challenge.
How do you improve teachers’ competency in your school?
A competent teacher seizes every opportunity to encourage learning believing that all students can learn. Teachers’ competency can be improved by training and retraining, conducting meaningful evaluation, adopting a democratic mode of operation that tilts towards respecting teachers’ views, opinions, of course very objective ones; through proper planning that will reposition their state of minds towards general objective of the school.
What are your achievements so far?
In terms of academic performance, we are doing our best to ensure that our pupils get quality teaching and good moral upbringing, as one of the aims of the institution is to develop the state of minds of our pupils towards admiring what is morally right, and the reflection of this is seen in the display of appreciation from the esteemed parents of Lora Praise.Also, we are aligning and conforming in the area of quality disposition as regards academic knowledge given to the pupils with qualified teachers at our disposal. We have also provided scholarships to some of our pupils.Also, through provision of necessary teaching materials that will aid teachings and learning process; organising teachers’ forum/seminars where ideas could be diagnosed; as well as consideration on a regular basis on review of their welfare.
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