‘Improved welfare, staff, student ratio germane to quality learning’
For learning to be impactful and of internationally acceptable quality, scant attention must never be paid key issues in the system including improved welfare of key players, staff/student ratio, training and retraining of teachers as well as the provision of state-of-the art facilities.
Also, in view of the important role women play in society’s regeneration and advancement, the girl-child must be given equal educational opportunities with her male counterpart, as doing otherwise was tantamount to doing the society a disservice.
Giving her perspectives on how to surmount the mounting challenges facing the Nigerian educational system, Head, Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos, Dr. Abigail Ogwezzy- Ndisika said, “The major issue affecting the quality of education in the country is funding. With improved funding, educational institutions at all levels would be able to provide state-of-the-art facilities in the right proportion; train and re-train staff, fund researches and pay living wages capable of attracting the best brains to teaching.
According to Ogwezzy-Ndisika, a Chevening scholar, in attempting to revamp the system, “we should be pushing for specialised tertiary institutions; ensure the right staff/student ratio; improve on staff welfare so that they would be more committed to their duties. The provision of a conducive learning environment is also a sine qua non.
On how the fortunes of the girl-child can be improved educationally, she said, “It should start from the families. Families should give equal educational opportunities to both male and female children. Parents, religious and community leaders should counsel and mentor girls to have formal education; women/men should mentor women, and women should submit themselves for mentoring; women who are already in the education sector should work hard and live up to the billings of the positions they occupy.”
The university teacher, who pointed out that women’s education depends largely on encouragement from families and provision of school instructional materials,” added, “quality education should be made more affordable to all girls of school age, and there should be improved security because it appears that school girls are being targeted for kidnappers.
“Families, communities and governments at all levels should realise that investing in women’s education is a win-win situation as it unleashes ripple effects that would change the world unmistakably for the better because educated women can take informed decisions on nutrition, health, education investments, etc. In fact, women’s education leads to holistic development as such a form of social protection. Women’s education is a strategic investment.”
Ogwezzy-Ndisika continued, “Improving women’s education requires tackling the roots of imbalance – social barriers and entrenched discriminatory norms. Furthermore, government policies on Universal Basic Education (UBE) should be enforced. Also, alternative secondary education options should be provided for out-of-school adolescent girls.
She appealed to government at all levels, international organisations and education providers to tackle school-related gender based violence; even as she called for the recruitment, training and effective support for teachers to enable them effectively address gender inequality.