Experts Advocate Skills-based Education System

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Ikenna Ekwerike

Discussants at the Accenture Nigeria Alumni Network event recently held in Lagos with the theme ‘Re-imagine Education for the Fourth Industrial Revolution’, have advocated a purposeful basic education system in Nigeria that equips children with skills by taking advantage of the opportunities provided by modern technology. This was part of the company’s corporate social responsibility programme tagged ‘Skills to Succeed’.

The panel discussion underscored some of the challenges bedevilling education in Nigeria which include: high rate of out of school children, poor teacher quality, curriculum quality and unfavourable legislations.

One of the discussants, the Director of Education, Corona Schools, Amelia Dafeta, said there is need to evolve a school curriculum that takes care of the particular needs of Nigeria. She suggested a kind of curriculum that would place agriculture in the front burner; expressing regret that children don’t seem interested in taking up careers in the sector.

Dafeta expressed hope that technology could be effectively deployed to increase the interest of street children in learning.

The Proprietor of Global International College, Mrs. Bolaji Esime, said lowering the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) score for admission into colleges of education was equal to bringing down the quality of teachers, adding that the curriculum should be designed separately to meet the need of each region.

According to Ms. Utibe Henshaw of the Education Partnership Centre, there is need to standardise the quality of people that get into teaching. She called for advocacy and lobbying of government into paying more attention to the adoption of technology in the basic education system. “The solutions to all of Nigeria’s problems are all here; it means listening to all.”

Similarly, Odion Omonfoman of United for Change Foundation said it is important to attract the right hands into teaching and motivating existing teachers with low-cost housing plans, car loans, quality health insurance and prompt payment of salaries.

In a chat with journalists, the Managing Director, Accenture Nigeria, Niyi Yusuf, said his company is interested in helping individuals and small companies build skills that will allow them succeed in the environment.

“Education has been a major issue in Nigeria in terms of teaching, access to education, number of children out of school and so on, so we thought it wise to bring Accenture and all its alumni community together to look at this and say how can we help in terms of teaching quality, how can we help in terms of mentoring teachers and also how can we help in terms of technology that can be used to transform the way we learn and teach.”

He said the company engaged in volunteer teaching services in public schools basically to serve as role models to the students, adding that many children would want to go into music, acting, sports but not medicine, accountancy, law, engineering and other professions.