At a just concluded Education Summit tagged “The Future of Education Summit” which held in Oyo State 20- 21 September and where I was a Speaker, school owners and representatives in attendance brought to participants’ attention a most distressing trend in our nation’s education curriculum and schools accreditation practice.
It was reported that regarding the teaching of the subject of Business Studies for the fulfilment of the current NECO requirement, the decision of accreditation of schools by the Ministry of Education is premised on whether schools own a pool of typewriters for students use and practice rather than on whether there is an equipped functional ICT Lab in the school.
Several schools at this summit alleged that they have been continuously denied accreditation to teach Business Studies because they do not maintain typewriters for students use and it is irrelevant to the said accreditation exercise that these schools offer modern ICT facilities and resources for their students use. The world over, business in the 21st century is entirely driven by modern Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as well as the Internet of Things (IoT).
In its 2016 Global Education Monitoring Report, UNESCO mandates that “Education must keep up with the changing face of work and aim to produce more high skilled workers.” In the transition towards sustainable economies, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, the report emphasizes that the role of education in innovation primarily concerns the dissemination of new technologies for higher education systems and countries must do more to promote high value skills within secondary education.
Dear Hon. Minister, it is therefore essential for today’s learners to be empowered with a 21st century relevant education that ensures actual future readiness. Typewriters no longer drive the world of business and ceased to do so a long time ago. Schools should be required to be equipped with current operative tools in business and work systems.
Accreditation standards by your ministry must therefore be adapted to the changing face of work. An insistence on typewriters as a precondition for business subject accreditation cannot yield future readiness amongst the current generation of school children and indeed amounts to a social injustice. I hereby call for the immediate overhaul of the use of typewriters as an accreditation standard for schools in the subject of ‘Business Studies’.
Edem Dorothy Ossai, Executive Director, MAYEIN