It was Lilian Kartz who once said, “Curriculum should help children make deeper and fuller understanding of their own experience.”
The state of education in the country is a cause for concern, especially the outdated curriculum, and low teacher quality, among others.
Experts have had causes to speak on the issue of the country’s curriculum not meeting the educational needs of Nigerians, in the areas of graduates not fitting into the 21st century workplace skills demand.
They argue that the current curriculum is not the best quality that the country deserves. Because according to them, it has not been empowering graduates to explore the peculiarities of contemporary daily realities.
Boye Ogundele, an educational administrator at Chrisland Schools, glared at the fact that the country is still using the curriculum given to it by the British colonial masters.
“It is unfortunate we are still using the curriculum given to us since the colonial period. The scope of the curriculum still revolves around cognitive domain, affective, and psycho-motor. It is still all about cramming and pouring, nothing practical,” he said.
Ogundele explained that the worst undoing of the curriculum is that it does not give room for learners to explore and discover their talents.
According to Chika Ezeanya Esiobu, the author of the book, ‘Indigenous Knowledge and Education in Africa’, “The Western intervention in Africa denied the validity of Africa’s originality, belittled our authentic experiences and way of life, and by extension, our educational structure and curriculum which all together were considered backward.”
In addition the educationist said; “Following this misconception was concerted efforts aimed at a superimposition of the European psyche over that of the African, often strategically orchestrated through colonially established, or post-colonially controlled education systems.
Indigenous knowledge systems, which are a product of the environment and should ideally form the foundation upon which the formal education system of any society is constructed, have been consistently and intentionally relegated to an inferior position”.
Research shows that countries with leading education performance spend time teaching children ages zero to five about their environment and mother tongue.
Hence, Esiobu argues that students should be given the opportunity in the curriculum to know about the realities in their own society and not about what exists in another country.
Experts argue that the children in schools should be taught about their realities and what they can do to advance their society when they are older.
They cited Japan, for example, where the subjects and their contents that are taught today are the same as half a century ago; the modes of delivery are still the same.
This belief is because Japanese are a people that consistently makes decisions from deep and meaningful research, the curriculum communicates to the learners on a daily basis why these decisions in their society are being made and where such thoughts stem from.
Remi Alatise, a senior lecturer at Fountain University, Osogbo in Osun State maintained the way forward is for Nigeria to embrace a system of education where the curriculum is tailored to meet the contemporary needs of the society.
“The essence of education itself is to solve personal and societal problems. Any educational system that cannot guarantee these is dysfunctional.
Unfortunately, we do more theories here than practical, not necessarily because of incapacitation but essentially because of lack of finance to fund research activities in Nigeria,” he explained.
Folashade Adefisayo, former commissioner for education in Lagos State seems to align her views with Alatise when she said that Africa, and Nigeria by extension have a history to pass to the world, hence, must be deliberate in doing this.
“We need to build a sustainable curriculum of African inheritance that helps our children understand our culture, history, etc,” she said.
Chizoba Imoka-Ubochioma, director of Unveiling Africa Foundation, and the convener of the ‘Re- Rooting in African History’ (RIAH) seminar, recently pointed out that there is need to shift Africa’s education system from its current Eurocentric positioning to a different place where Africans knowledge system, ways of seeing the world, and history is centred in how they teach their children.
“We are not talking of just history as a subject that children learn but we are saying history is something everybody should know and it has implications for all subjects.
Every subject has a root somewhere, and fortunately, Africa is the cradle of humanity in everything including knowledge systems, but all of this knowledge about who we are, our contribution to the world, and how we do things has been expunged from our education system.”
It is without doubt that Nigeria inherited an education system that is not designed for its people and that it is one of the legacies of the colonial masters.
Unfortunately, no matter how Nigerians try to master the imposed culture of the Europeans, they can never be better at it than those that own, and this is simply the reason for the inferiority complex.
Izu Nwachukwu, a senior lecturer, at the University of Calgary, Canada frowned at Nigeria’s current system of education, saying that the country needs a competency-based system of education.
“The 21st-century education is competence-based, where students learn to master their chosen careers through learning by practice system,” he said.
Aliko Dangote, chief executive officer of Dangote Group once called on the policymakers to lay the foundations to bridge the skills gap in the country.
According to Dangote, a majority of Nigerian students entering the workforce lack the required skills to meet the changing needs of the global economy.
To do this, experts in the country’s educational sector say learning curricula must be tailored to meet industrial needs and requirements to drive the fourth industrial revolution.
Language is such an important piece of education, a lot of research has shown the power, impact and effect of having one’s own local language as a mode of instruction in teaching in schools.
Children’s learning outcome is much better when the language of instruction is rooted in the local language they are familiar with.
Nigeria needs an education system that responds to the needs and desires of Nigerians, no doubt.
The country can begin to shape the values of its young ones by inculcating African values in them through the education system
It is evident that young Nigerians in diaspora are doing the most to learn new ideas and bag more degrees but somehow, they still get looked down at, even when they have more qualifications than their contemporaries in the West.
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According to Yosola Nwangwu in the article ‘Garri and Sand’, “It is solely because we live in their own realities that are not original to us but to them.
It is true that education around the world in the last century has been modernised to fit the present dispensation, but what is common about countries with leading academic excellence around the world is the individuality of their curriculum.”
The amount of knowledge outside the four walls of the classroom that exists in Nigeria cannot be exhausted, whether it is our languages, agriculture, science or mathematics.
It is not good enough to make us and the West equal and it definitely is not good for us because it is fake, it is not original for us and will not address the issues we have in our society.
From purposeful research, we need to carefully curate a curriculum that suits us and will advance our society till we become the envy of other nations through innovations that are made for us by us.
This is why we are largely consuming innovation and advancement that fit the context of the West and we lack innovation that is created by us for us.
This is our society in its purest form and so it is therefore very important that we start putting these contents in our curriculum for learning and for objective criticism.
The trouble with Nigeria curriculum is the people thinking that the curriculum is teaching them to obtain mastery in their society, but in reality, it is second-hand education.