Dear Malam Adamu Adamu,
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION: COULD IT BE THE FINAL STAGE OF DESTROYING QUALITY HIGHER EDUCATION IN NIGERIA?
Honourable minister of education, sir, permit me to start with a word of greeting, as tradition and even religion demands in the Nigerian cultural space, so, Allah raya Mallam, Ya aiki malam? ya, aiki ma alumma,? ya ibada,da kuma iyali. May Allah in his infinite mercy see your heart and the stewardship you gave to this ministry as the honourable minister superintending over the education sector of the over 200 million Nigerians Africa’s most populous black nation.
I don’t wish to drag you into many issues because I know personally that your schedules are tight hence without too many innuendos I will try to go straight to my point which in, any case is a question. Let me quickly tell you a story because you are a smart man with high intelligence and Witt I know deconstruction will not be a problem.
I attended public schools in all the stages of the Nigerian schooling system of 6-3-3-4. In my primary school, my agricultural teacher insisted and we all had potions to maintain for a whole year, there we learned the basic principles and hands-on of agriculture not as a theory but as practice, again, we are always encouraged to make crafts and arts, so we create cars and mould things we like, this makes us (our generation) creative and self-reliable I now appreciate that “orientation”
But, Hon minister I strongly wish to ask you about our idea of higher education as a nation, but let me use a quotation to guide me in principle and theory, Gyatri- Spivak once wrote
“The task of creating an “organic intellectuals” of the people is something very different…it is indeed a striving for knowledge, for excellence but unrestricted by the hegemony of the existing ideas which typically emanate from advanced countries. These ideas must of course be engaged with but higher education in developing societies cannot remain a mere clone of what exists in the advanced countries. Developing societies must go beyond the mere imitation of research agendas set by the established centres of learning in the advanced centres of learning in advanced countries to take account of the people’s need…”
By now, I can say what is going in your mind Honorable Minister, yes I understand and appreciate the fact that you were once here too, a journalist, and writing like I am doing now about education and ASUU and the struggle, sir, what happened when you become the Ministers? Never mind this is an aside.
Let me continue the main issue of building an organic intellectual class that takes the country’s needs first, maybe it is good, I remind you of your recent activity empirically, particularly the “new curriculum for Nigerian universities” Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards (CCMAS) 70 % developed by the NUC and mandatory for all Nigerian Universities.
Honourable minister sir, this gets me thinking! Is this the end of the road for quality higher education in Nigerian Universities? For review and to make my letter short I will refer you to this great piece from the great teacher, Prof Omotoye Olorode before you adamantly bow to pressure: https://saharareporters.com/2023/02/11/new-university-curricula-and-neoliberal-siege-against-nigeria-omotoye-olorode
Mallam, the issues raised in the link for me is more too much information but permit me to tell you that it is not as if even the universities are ready with the 30% because there is no institutional support for peer review or even a conference to develop it same as it happened in the 70% where individual consultants that might not be there to teach in the future designed and forced it into the system. All over the world knowledge is local, and many countries don’t even use English as the language of instruction but they are top-rated universities, so how come individual consultants are now “masters of all trade”? I appreciate the fact that some lecturers have gone out of their way to teach without a proper guide or instrument of measurement but the quality assurance of the senate of each university can handle that.
While I find this action disastrous to the system in the future. The honourable minister just like you, in the old good days, I choose to speak. Maybe you could change your mind, don’t worry about the resources.
Is a street Reporter with Viewpoint Nigeria.
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