RISING ABOVE THE TIDES OF TIMES THROUGH QUALITY EDUCATION
By Michael Maikarfi
“Education makes people easy to lead but difficult to drive, easy to govern but difficult to enslave.” – Lord Henry Brougham. “Education is what has kept the heads of the Southern Kaduna people above the tide of times…Apart from the fact that we are so industrious, our early access to education and continuous commitment to it has consistently made us relevant both in the state, the nation and at the global arena. We must therefore, not neglect the ‘jaw bone’ with which we have fought and won our battles” – Mike Maikarfi.
Education is the bedrock of any society. Developing education therefore, would transcend to developing the potentials of a people for purposeful and productive living. Considering the wobbling educational performance of most African and developing countries, it has become imperative for government at all levels, communities and various stakeholders in such nations to take concrete and corrective measures towards revamping education in order to make it more responsive in preparing future leaders for productive enterprises and meaningful living.
The educational advancement in most developed nations like the US & UK are credited to the involvement of the various communities such as the District Authorities in the education enterprise. Another measure that has enhanced quality educational services in the West is the accountability measures that have been put in place by governments to ensure that the best education is delivered to citizens. Unfortunately, involving communities – district authorities and proper accountability measures have been relegated to the background in the educational practices of most developing nations.
A GLOBAL CHALLENGE
As a matter of policy, many governments around the world see education as “an essential social service that must be provided for all citizens free of charge”, but in practice, this is negated as tax payers are milked to sustain government, and yet they pay direly to obtain educational service which, in most cases, is substandard and of a very poor quality.
The global economic melt-down and corruption are prime factors why many developing nations cannot shoulder the educational responsibility of their citizens. The low quality of education obtainable in most part of our continent is so visible in various shades. A glaring indicator is “the un-employable graduates’ syndrome”. This is a pathetic situation where many graduates in the job market today are un-employable. In most cases, such “un-employable graduates” hardly fit into jobs they are trained for.
The undue emphasis on paper qualification seems to have overtaken the proper academic discipline required for proficiency and professionalism. Yet, the rat race in the struggle for a brighter future continues.
CEDA: THE BRIDGE
Research on community participation in remedying educational setbacks in some countries and communities around the world show that Community Educational Development Associations (C.E.D.A) are great bridges towards revamping education and re-positioning it for quality educational service delivery.
Objectives of Community Education Development Associations include:
1. Providing supportive educational services to schools in such communities on volunteer basis
2. Partnering with government through a fund for payment of some staff to fill up gaps where they exist or to provide special /specific educational services where necessary
3. Provision of infrastructure, furniture and equipment to schools in such communities
4. Provision of funds for scholarship support to students for studies at various levels
5. Annual lectures to awaken conscience on quality education
6. Community meetings to assess and review the impact and quality of educational services in the area with the view to making amends where necessary
7. Networking with relevant authorities and institutions toward securing admission for qualified graduates 8. Providing counseling services to students in need etc.
9. Constantly drawing the attention of government and relevant authorities to the challenges faced regarding education in such communities
10. Accessing donor agencies to for support towards improving education etc.
11. Identify all educational challenges in network with all relevant bodies towards addressing them.
This message is a wakeup call to the Southern Kaduna people, all communities in Africa and developing nations to set up their C.E.D.As in a bid to champion the course for a brighter future for our communities. Let’s remember that “No Nation Can Develop Beyond The Educational Level of its citizens”. Therefore, The foundation for the future must be laid now. Thank you.