What next after the British curriculum?

/ AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS


Sir: Years ago, I went to submit an inquiry for admission into a school on behalf of someone planning to come settle in Port Harcourt – after being transferred to the state. He worked for Halliburton and needed a high-brow school according to him for his children. One of the schools I visited accepted fees in U.S. Dollars and rates for fees were not fixed because it depended on the exchange rate between the naira and the dollar. How smart of them. I wonder if a Nigerian school can dictate terms in London and the U.S.

The school works with the British Curriculum and does not bother about not having too many enrollments in its classes. In some classes, they had less than 10 pupils.It took forever and a day to convince the fellow from ‘Halli’ to bring his children to Tantua International Group of Schools, of whose management, I was proud to be Head Master (primary) at the time and he did. I wonder what is so high-brow about schools with high-brow curricula only for high-brow people? You see why some children are passive-aggressive. They have been wired to think life is a pedestrian walkway and act mechanically without emotions. Wait until the bubble of life burst. They build their own bubble and live in it.

There is nothing wrong in running a British or other curricula in schools. Come to think of it, foreign diplomats need to have their children trained in these schools. Again, children aspiring to travel out for further studies can also attend these schools not only to gain exposure but also to understand the educational system of other people.

What is sad these days, is that, instead of having a reserved set of schools to serve different purposes, we see the culture now where almost all Nigerian schools advertise and run the British Curriculum as a marketing strategy to attract parents. Where are the ministers of information and education, as well as the DG of the National Orientation Agency?

Is this what education is about? Why aren’t we developing and working with our local curriculum? At best, we could have a co-joined curricula. Private schools in most states especially in South West, South South and North Central are competing with British schools so their pupils and students can all become British and not Nigerians.

If I am inspired I may write about another block were Arabism has taken over instead of the local culture. The paradox is that the establishment refuses to accept that education is universal but yet settle for Arabism which isn’t the culture of the people. Like the rest of us, they suffer from a culture of identity.

After the British Curriculum, everything returns to the status quo. Children travel abroad to find that pounds and dollars cannot be picked on streets. They see pan handlers in the white man’s land and marvel. They go too far countries such as Australia, a tax driven country with efficient services but see many people who can’t afford the high cost of university tuition, about $40,000 yearly and hence are not in school. They venture to the US and see many people who are out of school because of lack of student loans and others working to pay these loans.

When they manage to get a job, they save every penny to pay for taxes. It dawns on them that monies earned are only for survival, no extras. Unlike in Nigeria where there is free money, there doesn’t appear to be free money elsewhere. But those in Australia soon discover that the country has a health system that works for poor people. The system works better for (non-wealthy) people if they have a pension card, have a dedicated GP (general practitioner)who bulk-bills and caring specialists and allied health personnel who also bulk-bill.

Even though a lot of these people refuse to bulk-bill, wanting the patient to pay huge fees and get back a few dollars from Medicare. Patients lucky enough to be referred to bulk-billing services, pay nothing.
Simon Abah wrote from Abuja.

They find that telephone services in Australia are first rate and wonder why NITEL and MTEL had to go under in Nigeria. In Australia, Land line phones are plugged into an electric power-point and plugged into underground telephone cables. Local calls are 10 cents each with no time limit. The hand sets of phones are cordless so they can move around while they talk. ‘10 cents each with no time limit?”

Even after being trained with the British Curriculum in Nigeria and earned degrees afterwards, most can’t find jobs.     
‬In frustration, they return home to Nigeria to pray at every service, morning and evening, and on days of fasting without rejoicing.

If the country had known at the time, but it isn’t late, it wouldn’t have imposed such a burden on children. What a debt Nigeria owes her citizens .Truly, because most people out there have been duped. While one could be a “depressive paranoid” another could be suspicious of everyone and everything including the Nigerian state.
Simon Abah wrote from Abuja.

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