EDUCATION AND THE CERTAINTY OF KNOWLEDGE

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For years now, feelers have been that education is on a downward spiral in Nigeria. Those who follow the trend and news in Nigeria`s education sector argue that this fact is known to the world and his wife. It is easy to see.

It is an aging generation that takes to corners and nurse nostalgia about what Nigerian schools have become. Yet, out of that generation, the same generation which operates the levers of power in Nigeria, have come some of the most ruthless saboteurs of Nigeria`s education sector.

There is the egregious dilapidation many public schools wear like a straggling sackcloth. It then falls the lot of hapless school kids , some as young as three, to sit in windowless and chairless classrooms on their first day in school where poorly renumerated teachers grumpily welcome them.

At the secondary school level, dilapidation meets indiscipline to concoct a witch`s brew that is every teacher`s worst nightmare. Kids from unstable families who find little joy in education see in public schools the perfect theatre for getting acquainted with the skills and tools needed for future notoriety. With glee they wear the patience of long-suffering teachers thinner.

At the university level, academic calendars have become a chilling chronology of ceaseless strikes. Undergraduates, many of whom do not hold out much hope for the future see their academic sessions summarily interrupted by endless ASUU strikes. When these strikes come out of nowhere some of the students go home never to return. Some return only to listlessly drag themselves over the finish line.

There has been government`s inertial body language. Government after government pays lavish lip service to education and the welfare of Nigerian students. However, when push comes to shove, those in charge choose the feathering of their private nests over the funding of the education of millions of Nigerian students.

There is no escaping the fact that quality education is panacea for the grave sickness Nigeria suffers from. Education is the brightest light and the most effective of elixirs. Education arms people with the resources to sift the wheat of truth from the chaff of lies. The value of education cannot properly be articulated.

It is why quality education is Boko Haram`s worst nightmare. Education has the unrivalled power to deprive them of the raw materials they mould into terror and terrorists. It explains why all over the world, cowardly terror groups reserve their most toxic enmity for education. It is why they do everything to tear down classrooms and disperse students. It is why they do everything to burn books and behead teachers. They recognize in education their invisible but most invincible enemy.

So, every day, because government pays only lip service to the preeminent endeavor that education is, Nigerian students have to bear the crushing burden of a failing system. One of the greatest insults to the sensibilities of Nigerians is that some of the public officers responsible for the scandalous state of Nigerian schools take the funds marked for education in Nigeria and with it, they send their loved ones to better run schools in other countries. They soon return to commandeer the few opportunities available in the country.

In the convoluted labyrinth of socioeconomics, education is the preeminent equalizer. With the cracks of inequity and inequality appearing everywhere across the foundations of the country, quality education for every child irrespective of the circumstances of birth must come to the rescue.

Kene Obiezu,

keneobiezu@gmail.com