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Sunday, 30 October 2011

The Future of the Nigerian Child

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When I wrote my first blog post on my other blog on the 29th of May this year, the same day President Jonathan was sworn into office, it was borne out of my passion for education. On that day, I was keen to hear what his plans were for education but the whole speech said little to give me any real hope and it left me feeling frustrated. But I wanted to channel that frustration into something constructive and that was where my writer's instinct kicked in. I followed my instincts and decided to express my disappointment at the same time proffer some solutions.

That was how I started my first blog, Education that works for Nigeria. Some of my followers here may have visited it but if you haven't, could I enjoin you to please visit, read my views, follow if you can and as always I welcome your thoughts on what I believe is the way forward. My focus this week is about the Nigerian child and what future awaits her. Judging by what I perceive as a lack of vision in how the sector is being managed, I fear the life chances of the Nigerian child is once again put at a disadvantage. As I wrote last week on my other blog, I want to share with you here my views on the proposed 'new' system of education in Nigeria.

I read with utter amazement that the Federal Government has apparently announced plans to ditch the new 9-3-4 system of education and revert to the old system of 6-3-3-4. However, from what I understand it will come in a slightly modified version called 1-6-3-3-4. In simple terms, the 'new' system will just have an Early years element to it. It's amazing that it's taken our politicians and technocrats over 50 years to suddenly realise that early years education should become policy. However, we never fall short of coming up with bucket loads of policies but what has always being lacking is the political will, lack of funding or should I say its misapplication.

As an educationist and teacher myself, education is a very expensive business and changes in policy even cost more in terms of planning for it to have any impact in the classroom. However, judging by our dreadful record in policy implementation, I fear this may yet become another wild-goose chase which sadly has turned our educational system into the shambles it has become over the years. There's no doubt, systems can always be improved but I do not think our current system of education is really the issue. The real issues are to do with poor infrastructure in schools, poorly trained and inadequate teachers which have grave implications for teaching and learning. And to make matters worse, they need a 30-man committee to implement this 'new' system. Educational policies are implemented by teachers via civil servants through local educational authorities and not by politicians and technocrats.

Sometimes I wonder why we choose to do things differently in Nigeria and ignoring what seems to be the obvious. Who stands to gain from this new policy? Is it the politicians or the average Nigerian child? I'm definitely sure it's not the latter but I'll leave you to make your minds up. What I do know is that sadly the Nigerian child will continue to pay the price for the incompetence, corruption, mismanagement or whatever name you choose to call it that goes on at the very top.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Miss B and the desperation for Marriage

I was saddened but not surprised by the news I heard this weekend about somebody known to both me and my wife. To protect the person's identity I will just use the pseudo name Miss B. Earlier this year, Miss B rang us to say she's getting married, which is always a positive thing to hear. However, we were taken aback by the fact she said she has never visited the suitor in question who she claimed lived in Lagos as they got to see each other whenever he came down to the east where she lives. Her description about what he did for a living was at best very vague. I found it hard to believe but it was true from what we heard by other people close to her. Things moved quickly and within two months we were informed about the traditional wedding. All along I had mixed feelings; on one hand I was happy for her but on the other hand, I knew the road to this marriage was fraught with danger. It's not as if to say you have to know someone for an awful long time to get married to them but to know very little would really worry me.

Shortly after the marriage, Miss B discovered that her husband had no job and the wedding was organised and paid for by his family. Apparently, he's the first son in the family and they've been desperately trying to get him a wife and in what did seem like Miss B's desperation to get married, she failed to ask the right questions or perhaps asked but didn't get the right answers. News reaching us just recently confirmed that the marriage has broken down and the girl's family has now repaid the dowry. All this has happened within the last 6 months, would you believe it.

The reason I wanted to share this story is to highlight what I perceive as the unfairness in our culture that continually turns our young women into this desperate frenzy to get married. Don't get me wrong, I am pro-marriage and firm believer in the institution of marriage but when the only way women can gain acceptance and respect is to get married regardless of whom they do so to then we have real problems. It always strikes me that in Nigeria, whatever you achieve as a woman, be it in business, education, politics, you name it, there's always a question mark over you as long as you don't have the prefix, Mrs before your name. In my view, this is at the heart of why desperation by some Nigerian women to get married has reached fever pitch, which makes it almost inevitable for many to settle for anyone wearing a trouser and supposedly a manhood down below.

Nigerian women also need to take some responsibility and begin to redefine what it means to be a successful woman. As much as it would be nice to have a good education and be successful in whatever career path you choose, the brutal reality is that not every woman will get married. Don't ask me why because it has always been that way and will continue to remain so. The same way I believe not every Nigerian man deserves to get married to a woman or should in fact. Being a man shouldn't just give anyone the free passage to a woman who has probably being successful in her own right but needs to crown her 'success' by getting married to man who hasn't bothered to get a life.

I hope Miss B can now rebuild her life and try to be successful with whatever she chooses and if the right man turns up whom she at least knows something about then marriage may be worth a second chance.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Good to be back...

Let me first apologise to all those who visit and read my blog. It's about a month since my last post and it wasn't intentional. Enormous work demands, a recent home move and family commitments have meant that something had to give. Sadly it was impossible to keep up with blogging but I was planning to post next weekend until I saw an email from stelzz earlier this week asking after me and nominating me for the 'One Lovely Blog Award'. Suddenly it made me realise that being a blogger makes you part of a community of people united with a common purpose of writing about issues close to their hearts which meant I had to bring this post forward by a week. I am very grateful to stelzz for the the nomination. I love blogging and any nomination or award that comes along the way I'll regard as an icing on the cake.

Let me state the rules of the 'One Lovely Blog Award'

Versatile rules:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.. (I have already done this)
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs and let them know about it.

Lovely blog rules:
I. Answer the questions below
II. Tell seven random things about yourself
III. Pass the award to 15 other bloggers

1. Favourite Colour? Blue. Perhaps because it's seen as a masculine colour which I'm not sure about but I've always liked it ever since I was a child.

2. Favourite song? I'm not too sure but what I would say is that I like songs with deep philosophical meanings. Lately, I've been listening to music by Osita Osadebe and Mike Ejeagha.

3. Favourite Dessert? I wasn't brought up eating desserts so not something I indulge in but my sister makes some very delightful rice pudding which I get to eat when I go over to visit her.

4. What puts you off? I don't like dealing with people who are unreliable or who I can't hold to their words. Trust is what I treasure most in people but sadly it's become more of a rarity these days.

5. Your favourite pet? I don't have any pet and I don't want one either. Not my thing, sorry.

6. Black or white? Black. I quite like black shirts and t-shirts. My wife thinks I look cool wearing them.

7. Your biggest fear? Believe it or not I haven't got any but I hate failure so I guess fear of failure could be my biggest fear.

8. Everyday Attitude? Staying positive and always looking at the big picture.

9. Your best feature? hmmm...I really don't know. As someone created in the image of God, I would like to think I have God-like features.

10. What is perfection? The world we live in is a product of imperfection. I would need to be in heaven to answer this one because in my view that is the only place where perfection exists.

11. Guilty pleasure? I'm happily married so I don't want to be guilty of any pleasure :)

Seven random things about me

1. I believe in humility in whatever you do or achieve. I also believe whatever gifts or talents we have come from God and we should be able to share without fuss to other people.

2. I'm a big sports fan and I particularly follow football, tennis and athletics. I support Arsenal football club even though they are currently not doing well in the English premiership.

3. I take great pleasure in using whatever skills or God given talent I have to help other people to succeed. Perhaps it's no surprise I ended becoming a teacher and mentor.

4. I believe what you are is what you eat. I stay away from junk food and only eat it occasionally as a treat. I've applied the same principle in bringing up my children and so far it's working.

5. The best gifts I've ever received are my two children. After a hard day's work and when you're losing the will to live, coming home to see them smiling like they always do, is the best feeling in the world.

6. I don't watch too many movies but my most memorable movie is 'Sleeping with the Enemy' by Julia Roberts. It kept me hooked from start to finish.

7. I don't have any regret in life because I believe everything happens for a reason. There's no need worrying about things that you can't change or control but rather focus on the positives in life.


I am going to tag the following blogs as part of the rules of the nomination process and I think it's only fair I nominate all blogs that follow me in no particular order. Some of which are newly discovered and others I would describe as versatile:

Luciano (Luciano's world)

Kitkat Tales

Perfectless Girl (I'm not Perfect)



Straight from the Revolutionist's pen

Naija Mum in London


Imo State Blog


Myne Whitman


Muse Origins

It's nice to be back again blogging, hopefully normal blogging service will resume on this blog next week. See you then.


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