As we continue to strive to identify individuals who have made a mark and impact in the educational sector, EDUCARE NEWS beamed it searchlight to find that personality, who have over the years contributed to the advancement and development in Nigeria’s education system.
However, we did not have to search too far before our ‘golden microphone’ caught up with a man of impeccable character, an educational enthusiast, an orator, a purist, a leader, an achiever, and a man who encapsulate the tenets of good value, objectivity, and transparency.
Dr. Wasiu Olaitan Adumadeyin is the 9th President of National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, an educational enthusiast, an orator, an achiever, and a man who have contributed immensely to the development of education in Nigeria
Dr. Adumadeyin, during his tenure as the NAPPS achieved a milestone when he built a N40million Secretariat for the Association, the first since it was founded.
EDUCARE NEWS crew had an eye opening, revealing, intriguing, educative and exclusive interview session with the former NAPPS boss, who spoke passionately on range of issues burdening the educational system in Nigeria.
In recent times, there have been influx of private schools in the Nigeria education system to salvage the dwindling fortunes of education in Nigeria, Dr. Adumadeyin is of the opinion that education in Nigeria has dropped significantly.
PRIVATE EDUCATION AND STANDARD IN NIGERIA
“Unfortunately the standard has dropped from what we have in the past, the yardstick in which we can use to measure or determine this, is basically if you look at the then standard 5 or primary 6, their ability and quality of the holder, primary 6 certificate then compared with the holder of the same certificate now, if you put them side by side you will know that what we have now is a lower standard of education from what it used to be.”
The challenges surrounding the Nigerian Education system are multifaceted, Dr. Adumadeyin, who can be describe as an educational juggernaut, highlights some of these challenges.
CHALLENGES OVER THE YEARS
“They are numerous, we can start from the government itself, they are not giving the attention and the required financial backing that can upgrade education.
The budgetary allocation to education has been in the region of less than10 per cent, while the united nation, UNESCO recommended 26 per cent, you can see the wide gap, in terms of finance, and we can say that the government have not invested heavily on education.
Also, society value has change, in the past, society value quality education, ability of the children in those days, when a child speaks good English, you are very proud as a parent but today, the value has dropped,
People are now more interested in money than education and quality of education, In another perspective, people are more interested in the certificate than the education and the ability of the reason with the certificate that is why today you see students, aided by the their parents and teachers, use all sorts of means to get the certificate, and this is where we are talking about exam malpractices, these are some of the factors contributing in the lowering of education in Nigeria.”
In every challenge, there should be a solution, the educational tycoon proffers solution to some of these challenges.
“Charity’’ like they say begins at home, and the home is where education should start, we should have a re-orientation on the parents, on attaching value to quality education, on our own part we are doing that as proprietors of private schools, we are doing re-orientation, letting the parents know that it is not all about having the certificate, it is about the knowledge being acquired, it is about what you can use the knowledge to do after acquiring the certificate.
Second, ‘it takes two to tangle’ the government too who has the responsibility of educating the masses also have to change her attitude to education.
The government should make education a top priority vis-à-vis other sector. They should motivate teachers to bring in their best, build more schools, and encourage those of us in the private sector that are trying to support the sector.
The government does not seem to have the capacity to provide enough schools to children under the schooling age to attend, and that is where the private education needs to come in, we are complementing the government effort.
In this regard, the government should encourage private participation to complement the government in order to achieve massive education. Also, the youth, in fact, religious organisation has a lot to do, for instance, the churches should not only preach prosperity and salvation but they should also focus on preaching good virtue education, and good virtue in life.
The mosque through the imam also should do the same, lets re-orientate ourselves, and bring back the good days where quality education hold sway.
Those days, Nigerian University certificate is highly regarded abroad, when you take Nigeria certificate to work abroad, you don’t have to take only external examination. If you graduate from the university of Ibadan for instance, your certificate will be recognized and highly regarded and you will get placement in good establishment, but the reverse is the case today, because a Nigerian graduate would still have to take exam abroad because out there, they don’t trust our certificate and that is to tell us that our standard is dropping.”
The government has a key role to play, as their action or in action could make or mar or even militate against education development in Nigeria. The passionate educationist noted some of these government actions or in actions over the years militating against the growth of education in the country.
GOVERNMENT ACTION OR IN-ACTION MILITATING AGAINST THE GROWTH OF EDUCATION IN NIGERIA.
“There is not enough financial support to the development of education, Also, there is no support in terms of equipping the schools we have, there is no enough schools that can go round.
The government itself should embark on a project of building more schools, and the government should understand that the private sector also need assistance, because some of the argument the government do put forward when we propose to them that the private sector need assistance is that we are collecting money for the service, this might not be far from the truth. But, some of us are in the private sector because of the young ones in education.
As a result of this, we have so many scholarships. I can say confidentially, that my private school (Was-lat schools), 40 per cent of pupils are in one scholarship or the other because they don’t have money to pay and we want to encourage them.
So government should come out and support private schools and when I say support, it does not have to be money. They can give us books, it’s the children that are going to read it, equip our libraries, they can help us improve the laboratories and give us more equipment. All these things will aid the development of quality education.”
The erudite Adumadeyin, was at the helm of affairs as the President of National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) for two years, the erstwhile NAPPS boss narrated some of his administration’s plans, programmes and actions carried out to support teachers and improve their welfare.
AS PRESIDENT OF NAPPS, MY ADMINISTRATION’s EFFORT IN SUPPORTING TEACHERS AND IMPROVING EDUCATION IN NIGERIA.
“The National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), which happens to be the umbrella body for private schools in Nigeria, which I headed the Lagos branch recently for about 2yrs as the president has been doing a lot over the years to support the growth of qualitative education in Nigeria. I will be specific on what my executive did during my tenure to show our support and effort towards improving qualitative education in Nigeria.
We were able to encourage teachers, because there will be no quality education without quality teachers; we realized that the teachers are demoralised; they felt they are not properly paid, and we were not getting their best.
During my tenure, what we did was to do two programs, when we celebrate our teachers, we call it NAPPS Teachers Day, we gave the very best teacher in private schools a car gift, this has not been preceded in Lagos state or even Nigeria. There is no time in history that teachers have been rewarded so much.
Apart from other consolation prizes, we also gave them fridge, freezer, generator set and things like that. We make sure that all the teachers that participated in our programme go home with one item or the other. With these teachers welfare are improved and more teachers are riding on beautiful cars.
Furthermore, we tried to improve their knowledge, we organize a seminar called “training the trainers”, whereby we try to train the teachers, because some of them have left school for so many years, and the knowledge they acquire then may not be very relevant to what we have now. We organize seminars, workshop to equip them with the new technology in their various fields. They take this back to the classroom and use it to improve the education of the children.”
We did not end there; we also organize retreat for proprietors of private school owners. When we also teach our members the best practice in the system, private school proprietors have to do it well. how do we manage the students for maximum output, how do we manage the teachers, of course we have stand in the forefront of war against examination malpractice, because we believe examination malpractice is one of the reason for low standard of education in Nigeria. That is why today you see graduates that cannot even speak good English.
How did they get the certificate? That is the work of examination malpractice. We have done lots of seminars in that field too; we have done a lot of mobilization to tell our members and teachers, particularly parents.
Parents and exam malpractice, let them know the implication, it’s not enough for the child to pass the exam and get the certificate, what happens when the child has to defend the certificate? As an employer of labour, we have received a lot of application for employment, but sadly some of them can’t even write or speak good English. Some can’t write simple essay. They are some of the negative effect of exam malpractices, as much as possible. we popularize these to let them know.
We have done retreat, we have been to Ibeju, Lekki, where we train teachers together, bring professors, academician who came to talk to them in different field of education, to improve what they are doing?
We give scholarship, we encourage our members, its not everyone that wants to attend your school that can afford to do so. They are some category of students, especially the brilliant ones that would have pass your exam with good grade and their parent may not be able to afford the school fees, so we give them scholarship, even those ones that cannot pay school fees might be the ones to salvage this country.
That’s why we have to give them all opportunities. We also engage the government in dialogue, as regard issues on education and in fairness to the Lagos state government over the years they have been giving us listening ears, even though we ask for more, one of the challenges we have is that they have not been able to fully settle the issue of multiple taxation. We are trying to convince the government that they should see education for what it is, which social service, and not business, and in such a way they won’t ask us to pay too much to all the different government revenue agencies asking for too much money.
And if we pass the burden to parents, it will be too much for them, it will discourage them, people who are struggling to have a brighter future for their children. If the children start staying at home due to the inability of their parents to offer their school fees, it would become a problem to our future. That child that did not go to school will become a hindrance to those that go to school tomorrow.”
WE BUILT A BEFITTING SECRETARIAT FOR NAPPS
“As part of my campaign promises, I told our members that within my tenure, for just two years, I will provide a secretariat for the association, the impression of the public is that politicians don’t keep to their promises, but by the grace of God within a short period we were able to build a N40 million Naira Secretariat for the association.
We also bought two cars, one for the best teacher, an official car for the office of the president of NAPPS, a Utility bus for the running of the association’s duties.”
The current security challenges in the country are overwhelming, and it is fast posing a threat to education, as reports of school children abductions and killings by Boko haram and bandits have forced most schools to be closed especially in the north.
Dr. Adumadeyin, says it’s an unfortunate situation this is happening. “These hoodlums and bandits believe the way they can be heard or make money is to abduct these innocent school children, even during wars, women and children are exempted from being harmed if these category of people that are fragile and should be taken care of are now targeted by this evil minded people then it’s unfortunate.
That’s the reality today, we just have to face it and find a lasting solution, the government has a lot to do on this, and it is the responsibility of the government to provide adequate security for all citizens. Since the evil ones are now targeting children then the security apparatus of government should be directed towards those areas. These people carrying out these heinous act are not ghost, the government should not treat them with ‘kid gloves’, the government should more than willing to curb this dangerous growing trend.
At this juncture, security should be the business of everybody, we should be more security conscious, CCT camera should be a thing of importance now and the government should support by providing arms security guards to schools, and this would give some sense of security to parents, teachers and school owners.”
The just concluded Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) conducted by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) experienced some lapses and technical hitches during candidates registration for the examination. According to the results released by the examination body so far, candidates recorded one of the worst results in recent years.
As a result of these, most candidates will not be able to gain admission to tertiary institution for the academic session, education enthusiast, Dr. Adumadeyin gave his thought on JAMB.
“JAMB should perfect their act; they are serving as check and balance between WAEC and University admission. They don’t have enough infrastructure for the exams, is like the facilities are not enough to accommodate candidates taking part in the exams.
The government should invest on education; they should provide enough centres, facilities and expatriate to manage. I don’t really see the need for the Post UTME, because you qualify by having the minimum requirement which is 5 credits including mathematics and English. The UTME exams organised by JAMB is like a screening, and if you are able to pass the exam, I don’t see any need for the Post UTME, it’s just a way for tertiary institutions to make more money and this should be discouraged.”
Dr. Adumadeyin, an education icon, believed that despite all the challenges surrounding education in Nigeria, there is still a brighter future for Nigeria education system. “I want to see Nigeria education in the level of Great Britain, the USA, and all the developed countries, we have talented people in this country, we have brilliant children, our orientation and values have to be re-directed and we would get there.
I strongly believe in Nigerians and improvement of Nigeria education if the government provide the enabling environment for learning and encourage the students to learn. There should be entrepreneur education, lets diversify our educational system and make it productive in such a way that before you graduate from the university you must have acquired skills in vocational training or business so there can be varieties of option to make a living.”
Dr Wasiu Olaitan Adumadeyin is a professional teacher, administrator, motivational speaker, philanthropist and proprietor of Was-lat schools.
The European American University applauds his outstanding efforts, commitment and contribution to the upliftment of the society, improvement of lives and his immense contribution to Nigeria’s educational system and humanity in general.