From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
Some Education and Psychology experts in Nigeria have associated rushing a child through school with mental stress and low emotional intelligence that could lead to domestic violence, drug abuse and even suicide.
The professionals spoke Friday in Abuja at the 2022 Children’s Day Celebration of A Mother’s Love Initiative, a Non – Governmental Organisation, with the aim of celebrating the Nigerian Child.
They appealed to parents, guardians, teachers, school owners, and all stakeholders to celebrate each Nigerian child, their moments and stages of lives, and to allow children to grow at their pace.
They also called on government at all levels and education authorities to intensify efforts in monitoring schools and creating awareness to ensure that schools in the country adhere strictly to the curriculum as prescribed by law.
Speaking on the sidelines of the occasion, The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Founder of the A Mother’s Love Initiative, Hannatu Ewenmadu, said psychosocial maladjustments are inflicted on adolescents and youths as a result of hurrying them through their educational and developmental milestones which threaten their existence and wellbeing.
She said “Based on the research we did, we are saying when you hurry children through childhood it has an impact on their social, emotional development and which goes back to also affecting them as a person as they progress .
“Because we are hurrying our children, you see children around the age of eight in secondary schools after skipping a whole four years in primary school and it has a huge impact on a Nigerian child which also affects our country.
“Like we said earlier we need to sensitize our people, we need to educate, we need to re-educate them on the implications on the verge of hurrying the children.
“We also call on the society to concentrate on child focused interventions, since children are fast becoming endangered species in Nigeria with the spate of abductions in schools and all manner of vices children are exposed to in Nigeria.
Also speaking, Adeyemi Adebayo, Teacher Development Specialist and a Director at the Lagos State Ministry of Education, said hurrying children through school allows them skip critical stages of learning that should make them emotionally mature and capable of sustaining a home and withstanding the pressures of life.
According to Adebayo, “When you see parents hurry their children to go to school, they are considering their growth but not considering their development. Psychology tells us that every child has three domains of development. You have the cognitive domain, which has to do with mental ability, you have the affective domain, which has to do with feelings and social relationships, and you have the psychomotor which has to do with the Kinetics-the use of hands. So parents that emphasize the cognitive abilities of the children are only sending their children to school and promoting them based on 33 percent of what the children are able to do.
“So you see that the society is crowded with malnourished children. Malnourished not in terms of the body, but of the mind. When you see a young man, very intelligent. He gets to the university at 14 and he leaves before 19 and he gets married. He begins to beat his wife and you begin to wonder why despite his intelligence. He is emotionally deficient. So it is a child that is fully developed in all these three areas that you can call a properly formed child. So this initiative is very timely. It will solve a lot of problems regarding what we are experiencing in our homes, in our schools, and the country at large.
“There is nothing wrong with our curriculum. Nigerian curriculum will addresses Nigerian problem. The advice to government is that there could be proper monitoring of schools. I think private schools are more guilty of enrolling children that are under aged because they want to make money. So the government should come out strongly, advise them as well, they should know the implications of what they are doing.
In addition, Director, Bankys Private School and immediate Past Chairman, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), FCT Chapter, Olusola Bankole, lamented that parents go to the extent of forging birth certificates for their children to facilitate their rushing through school. She maintained that such actions are part of the reason for so much moral decadence in society today.
According to her, “Hurried child is taking a child out of their stage. It is not allowing children to be children. It is making children become adults in a hurry. Letting them miss the place that they should be and this creates a lot of problems. I left primary school when I was in grade four so I missed two classes. And I didn’t get over it until I left the University. I had to pay the price. There were many things I didn’t know because I was not mature enough.
“The parents are most guilty of this. You see parents going to the extent of forging a birth certificate to increase the child’s age. I have had an experience in my school. They even told the child to lie about his age when asked. I had to tell the parents to take their child away. This is why our values are eroding. You see kids who have an entitlement mentality and cannot take responsibility.” She asserted.