• Monday, December 04, 2023
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Education, critical tool for economic emancipation in South East


States in the south-east of the country have concluded plans to mount an education support to attempt to turn around the fortunes upon which the region’s greatness was built. The education summit, expected to hold at Owerri, the Imo State capital from May 9 and 10 2013, is to play host to top educationists and leaders who are aiming at assisting in reposition the region’s major asset.

In the 20th century, some colleges such as Dennis Memorial Grammar School introduced produced the core of south-east intelligentsia that became the bedrock of the region’s economy.

According to Chinua Achebe’s recent literary exposures and revelations, Government College Umuahia and Ibadan were the next generation of colleges that groomed the country for advancement as these colleges, together with the mission school, produced Nigeria’s fading intellectual generation.

Over the years, educational standards have continued to nose-dive as youth desired quick riches without working hard. The notion that education was solely for the purpose of securing a job built a generation of individuals that looked up to certificates as ticket to prosperity through direct employments. When jobs became scarce, the eastern region seemed to be the first to lose interest though the craze for more certificates grew.

As regions begin to ask the right questions about their economies, finding a link between it and education, the south-east resolved to carry out an inquest into the collapse of educational advancement in the region.

The aim at confronting the rot in education informed the south-east governors to convene a summit with international experts to brainstorm on the matter. To join in the discussion are education policy makers (state ministries of education), universities and other tertiary institutions, professional organisations, international organisations and foundations that have worked for the advancement of education in the region.

The region being known for entrepreneurship and private efforts, most of its successful endeavours often executed in a public private partnership (PPP) concept. This inform the need for the states to allow Praik-Allied Nigeria, a licensee of the famous Applied Scholastics International (ASI) of USA, known for huge works in study technologies to handle this arduous task.

The programmed director (PD) of Praik-Applied, Prince-Iroha Kalu, told BusinessDay that the focus of his international partners, ASI, is to build a functional society by putting learning to practice. He said scholars study to learn but learn to practice. If this is not so, then the basis of education is destroyed.

Kalu, who is also a study technology expert, explained that the concept came into Nigeria in 2006 through Praik-Applied International based in Lagos to train master trainers selected from Colleges of Education, Universities of Education, etc, at Akure and Ondo where the first batch of 99 were certified.

Further training in the USA saw the Ohaofia-born entrepreneur and investor rise to be the only licensed representative of ASI in Nigeria and sub-Sahara Africa.

Kalu explained that the South-East Education Summit is conceived to help the region tackle problems associated with education and enhance government’s functionality and restore the region’s leadership edge in education.

He hinted that online registration is going already and that the organizers would cut off the registration in March 2013 to accommodate the number for this first edition even as the governors are the hosts, as well as Koffi Anan, former United Nations Secretary General and other leading experts on education and development expected to attend.

When stakeholders converge in May for the education summit, challenges in the region’s education that threaten early child education, basic to vocational education, higher education, teacher education, training, science and technology as well as study tech/applied education would be on the front burner for deliberation.

The group would use its experience in the colleges of education in Nigeria, and other teacher-retraining programmes in Kano, Katsina, Zaria, Alvan Ikoku (Owerri), Rivers, etc. where lecturers ensure that the fundamentals are got right to reposition education in the east.

Another major task set to confront experts at the summit, according to Kalu, is to find a way to tackle the growing hunger for certificate rather knowledge in the region, a virus that seems to breed exam fraud.

The education summit is expected to develop a blueprint for undergraduate financing scheme so that indigent undergraduates can study and pay later or secure soft loans to pull through tertiary institutions. The blueprint is also to enable each state work in the same line so that in the next decade, the region would have same focus even if achievements varied.

Kalu said by his close interaction with each state government, he is convinced that state has a desire to turn around its education but the tasks were daunting. Each state has so far tried incentives such as free education and scholarship scheme but that a thorough study was needed to find out the particular needs of each state.

The study technology expert continued “Study Technology is a learning system that greatly improves practical results. It means method of application to obtain a specific result. This consists of tools and techniques teachers can use to improve the learning rates of their students. It can be used by students to improve their ability to understand and effectively use the materials they study.

“By using study technology, Applied Scholastics has transformed the teaching practices in several countries into a functional system that produces quality workforce capable of driving their country’s economies through the present challenges in health, environment, law etc”.

Kalu explained that the application of study technology in schools makes teaching and learning memorable and enjoyable activity.

“Such motivates the teachers and stimulates the learners. Study Technology spearheads a bright new world of understanding and achievement, and forms the basis of all Praik-Applied Educational Programs. This is the scientific reasoning that may be found in the education system in the south-east in the coming years when the policy-makers would find way to make learning functional so that education would not depend totally on acquisition of certificates,” he added.

The opening session would witness presentations from leading international experts, with governors taking turns to address the stakeholders and experts. There would be breakout sessions to examine the advice of experts and take expert submissions.

The programme director described the upcoming event as a huge opportunity that would help reposition education in the south-east and help restore confidence in what is learnt instead of the craze for paper qualification.