Education: Whose Responsibility?
I once attended a workshop two years ago on education advocacy and budget tracking and one of the things that fascinated me at this workshop was a scenario we had. Participants were asked, “the declining state of our education system, who is to blame? Is it the government or the teachers or the communities or the parents or the learners/students?” Each participant was asked to stand by the side of which stakeholder they felt had more of the blame. It was interesting to see that different participants stood by each of these stakeholders with a very strong argument for their choice and decision.
For example: those that stood by every other stakeholder, except by the government felt that there were situations where government provided and there were no commitments by the communities, teachers, parents and the learners thus, the lack of maintenance of some of the educational facilities as well as poor performances in-school by the learners. On the other hand, some of the participants blamed it on the teachers saying ’some teachers are not committed, they hardly teach in the classrooms, they only give the children notes to write’ etc. Another set of the participants blamed it on the students. They felt that these days, the students do not read anymore and that they are carried away by activities like the social media (e.g. ‘facebooking’) and other ‘contemporary distractions’.
For about four years now, I have read at different times, the declining and very poor performances of students in W.A.S.C (West African Senior Certificate) and NECO exams. This has got me pondering why this is so. I am aware of the problem of our education system however, I have wondered if the learners/students do have or take some form of responsibility for their performances? Looking back at that workshop I attended, I will definitely agree that the learners/students also have responsibilities towards their success.
While we advocate for better government policies and budgeting towards improving the education standards, improved community engagement and ownership, quality teachers and improved teaching using child-centred methodologies, I would be thinking the learners will also put in more efforts to achieve success. Discipline will be the watch word to ensure that what belongs to Caesar is given to Caesar that is, the time for studies should remain for studies.
Ultimately, the sustainability of our education system is a collective responsibility with every stakeholder having a role to play at different times and as the case maybe.
This article was originally posted on Chinwe Oguamanam’s blog Development Synergy.
A summary so far…
Since we started this blog last year, we have received submissions from young people around the world. Here is some highlights of what they have to say.
We want to hear your thoughts on how young people - especially those who are disadvantaged - can get the right skills for decent jobs and better lives. Let us know by submitting a blog post, drawing, photo or other content, or by commenting on some of the posts made by others.
Your views will be listened to and will influence our report on skills development for young people, which will be read by policy makers all over the world.
“What Nigeria needs right now, to curb the increasing rate of unemployment and underemployment, eradicate extreme poverty and sustain the private sector is to stay committed in developing, is entrepreneurial skills among young people - right from primary school age. We need more entrepreneurs like Aliko Dangote, Michael Adenuga and the likes in our generation and beyond.”
- Jennifer Ehidiamen: Teaching Entrepreneurship in our Classroms is a First Step
“The goal of employment – or more absurd today, full employment – is not only regarded as unfeasible but even as undesireable by certain interests and institutions […] Who wants to set up a firm and create wealth and jobs when three times as much can be made by speculating with thousands of available financial vehicles?”
- Andres Villena: Employment for societies that no longer wish to create jobs? Also available in Spanish.
“The job market is now generating new uncertainties and concerns, as it imposes new requirements that most indigenous peoples cannot meet, and it is difficult for them to adapt to the drastic changes. They are required to master Spanish and English and to have vocational training, work experience and technological and computer skills. Ethnic groups are at a disadvantage compared to non-indigenous people who have access to training and more resources of every kind.”
- Ermelinda Pérez: Different aspects of labour exploitation. Also available in Spanish.
“[In Nigeria,] private schools have taken the place of public schools while the public schools have been left in their deplorable state. The rich and those who are able to afford private schools, send their children there, while others send their children outside the shores of the country to study. However, how long will we have to put up with these poor standards of our education system?”
- Chinwe Oguamanam: Education: Access and Quality
“Our world is globalized, our schools are not.”
- Rahel: Teach Reality
“If African government leaders really want to develop the human resource in the region and reduce poverty and inequality, then they must take education very seriously and invest more in it!”
- Jennifer Ehidiamen: The State of the African Youth on Education
“Young people need career guidance on choices of the work. I have a number of friends who have gone back to school due to lack of jobs because of available jobs in the market without considering what they love to do. In Kenya unemployment rate is high because young people are lacking support in terms of engagement from different stakeholders, career advises in schools.”
- Ayshah: All About Ayshah
“My education background in political science, did not prepare me for work.”
- Amadou Moctar Diallo: Develop new skills by volunteering
“Nowadays, we have to develop our own way to learn and to be ready for the job market because University doesn’t teach “the-job-skills-required course””
Yasmyn Camier: Tips for informal education
“Young people who volunteer their services acquire better and excellent skills that in the long run will help them throughout their work life, and I must add that they usually don’t go searching for jobs, jobs comes to them.”
- Akachukwu Okafor: Volunteerism: A sure way of excellent skills acquisition