Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The founder of Showers Christian High School, Port Harcourt, Mrs. Ekama Akpan has called on government at all levels to declare a state of emergency in education to stem the rot in the system and position the country for development.
She also warned Nigerian parents against being in a hurry to send their young children and wards to foreign universities.
Addressing journalists in Port Harcourt, Akpan noted that the future of the country depends on the quality of the output from its educational institutions, adding that there is need for government to take conscious decisions to improve the quality of teachers and regulation of the sector.
She also appealed to parents and the media not to leave the development of the sector to government alone as the result could be disastrous.
â€œThe future of this great country depends on the quality of our education and the children we train. We must make the children know that their parents will not be there forever. Also, parents must start talking because most of our youths are now drug addicts, who engage in all forms of criminality.
“We need to see how we can encourage parents to look into the education sector. If you leave the sector for government and politicians, they will reduce the quality of education in the country. The more private schools we have, the better for us.
“To have quality education, we must pay teachers, buy books and pay more attention to ICT. The policies of both federal and state governments in the sector must be transparent.â€
On the cries of some private school owners against government regulation, Akpan insisted that government has a right and should ensure regulation of the sector to ensure that all schools meet minimum standards.
She however said the regulation should be transparent and carried out by officials who have passion for education. â€œGovernment has the responsibility to regulate the education sector. If it regulates well, things will change for the better.â€
The proprietor also called on government to emplace the standards of the best private schools in the public institutions to also ensure that public schools maintain high standards.
She also discouraged parents from sending their children and wards overseas at a tender age, insisting that the children have better opportunities in the country.
â€œParents should not be in a hurry to send their children to universities overseas; the cult boys are waiting for them there. Parents should know that it is not just bringing out money to train these children; there are other things involved.
â€œChildren should be allowed to have at least their first degrees in Nigeria before travelling overseas for further studies. If you send them overseas early, they won’t know their left from their right and they may not know how to cope with racial discrimination which most of them suffer overseas.
“We should know that three-quarter of children sent abroad from Nigeria at a tender age never realise their goals. Some end up joining cult groups while others find themselves in various jails.â€
She also advised parents to allow their children do A-Level courses in the country to prepare them adequately for the challenges of university education.
Highlighting the benefits of A-Level, she said: â€œAbout 1.7 million candidates write JAMB annually, while only about 700,000 gain admission to tertiary institutions. What happens to the remaining 1 million? I believe that if a child did not make it in JAMB examination, he should go and do A-Level to further prepare him/her. So, A-Level is necessary not just because the students are young, but also because it is necessary to prepare students to compete favourably with their counterparts both within and outside the country.
Akpan attributed the success of Showers Group of Schools to qualified and dedicated teachers, exposure to ICT and encouragement of students to study courses that are relevant to their environment.