By Gabriel Dike
The 37st Annual National conference of Philosophers of Education Association of Nigeria (PEAN) was an opportunity for members and stakeholders to examine the existing gaps in the nation’s education curriculum and made recommendations on how to address it.
The three-day conference held at the Faculty of Education, University of Lagos, attracted the Oyo State deputy governor, Otunba Adeyemo Alake, Chief of Staff to Oyo Governor, Dr. Gbade Ojo, former INEC chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega and PEAN members from the universities and colleges of education.
In his address, Otunba Alake acknowledged the existence of gap between theory and practice in the education system and suggested the curriculum should be tailored towards agriculture, industrialization, producing professionals and specialists in all fields, especially in technological development which he said is at its lowest ebb currently.
According to him, the National Policy on Education must inculcate in every child the spirit of enquiry, creativity, ability for competent communication, ability to reflect and think clearly, manipulative skills and love for science.
Declaring the four-day conference open, Oyo State deputy governor, Otunba Alake, called for a major reform of the education sector, especially the curriculum which would review educational goals and priorities.
“The nation needs to re-examine, re-assess and decide on new roles for the education planners and practitioners such that our curriculum will deliver citizenry that are truly educated and liberated in their thinking and orientation,” Alake stated.
In his presentation, Prof Jega, who was represented by Dr. Mohammed Shaba of the Federal College of Education, Kontagora, suggested that attention should be focused on the gap between theory and practice in policy-making and implementation relating education provisioning and development in the country.
“This is an absolute requirement for addressing the crisis, which has engulfed education in our country. We cannot and should not continue with the situation in which policy makers treat theory as basis of praxis with contempt and disdain.”
The former ASUU national president said the state of the education sector impacted on quality and relevance of teaching received by pupils and students which in turn has affected human capital development.
“The negative consequences have been that, our schools rather than imparting knowledge and skills have basically been certificating ignoramuses if not illiterates. Graduates of our educational institutions are increasingly jobless,” he explained.
The former INEC boss argued that for the nation to get its act together and make serious progress in addressing the education crisis, government and stakeholders must pay attention to bridging the gap between theory and practice in education provisioning, particular in policy formulation and implementation.
The Professor of Political Science said, there have been numerous discussions about reforms repositioning and restructuring of the education system and sector, with disappointing outcomes.
President of PEAN, Prof Abubakar Bagudo, who was represented by the first Vice President of the body, Dr. Kola Babarinde, said PEAN over the years has addressed important issues to establish clarity, objectivity and consistency.