Why every government must prioritize its education

Posted by FN Editor | 5 years ago | 1,600 times

By  Emenike Onyembi

The need to use education as a means of forging national unity becomes clearer when it is realised that Nigeria has over 400 ethnic languages. Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba, Igbo, Ijaw, Kanuri, Urhobo, Ibibio, Tiv, Edo, Efik, are some of the most widely spoken languages. 

In a situation like this education should provide a means of communication between the various ethnic groups. Lack or absence of this communication made it difficult to establish a degree of order, trust and control in the past which are vital for economic and political development. 

And this has got to change.

Various governments in Nigeria since the State take over of schools, Federal or State, military or civilian have attempted with varying degrees of success to use education for the advancement of national development (all the social, economic and other institutional apparatuses) employed by society to achieve positive change for itself and its members. 

Judging from the background established above, education remains the primary instrument for nation building, an organ for the socialisation of the younger generation into the new civic culture and instilling in them an allegiance to the new nation. 

It is through our culture that we can derive a satisfying philosophy of life and save ourselves from the destructive effect of foreign cultural influences and our colonial past.

This is very crucial..

We can all testify that the take over of schools by the various governments from the voluntary agencies especially the missions since the 1970s is not only a welcome change in the Nigerian education, but is seen as a survival strategy for the Nigerian nations.

To somewhat, it has freed the students and pupils who pass through our schools from receiving their education in a background of dogmatic indoctrination which contributed in the past to the situation in which Nigerians think first as belonging to this or that religious group before considering themselves as Nigerians. 
To buttress these points, we can take a look at what Ali Mazrui (1978:193) said: "Africa is confronted with ethnic pluralism and cultural diversity. The interaction between different tribes could generate considerable stress and tension. 

The quest is for a system which would permit these groups not only to tolerate each other which is the first pre-condition but also to work with each other in pursuit of shared goals".

And that system can only be education. 

It should be noted that national survival through national integration which our schools are currently gearing towards is both unending and a learning process; there is therefore need for regular appraisal of the school system and school reforms to ensure consistency with national goals. 

Through education, an attempt is being made to exchange individual and group loyalties with an over-riding national identity. 

Our education should be seen as a process of building, improving, integrating, synthesising, evolving and expressing a culture truly Nigerian. Because it is only through our culture that we can derive a satisfying philosophy of life and save ourselves from the destructive effect of foreign cultural influences and our colonial past. And let me quickly add that government take over of schools was a welcome development. 

It was to ensure that no child was denied education on account of race, ethnicity, sex, social status, physical disability, state and most importantly, to be able to control standards. 

We must give attention to the education of our citizens. It should be a priority no matter what it may cost. Education remains the key to social order and of course political stability.

Twitter handle > @Onyembivinc 

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