Need To upgrade Nigerian Curriculum

Sending one's child to school used to be the
sole goal of many parents but the quality of
education in the country has continued to fall.
And as the United Nations marks the
International Literacy Day, teachers are
calling for a revisit on the Nigerian school
curriculum to make it competitive with those
of the western countries. BLESSING
UKEMENA writes
Today marks the United Nations international
literacy day and Nigeria being one of the
member nations of the UN, much is left to be
desired. In the UNESCO, Education For All
Global Monitoring report, which was launched
in March this year, Nigeria has some of the
worst education indicators globally.
According to UNESCO Country Director in
Nigeria, Professor Hassana Alidouhim, the
report indicated that Nigeria has the largest
population of out-of-school children with
about 10.5 million out-of-school children. With
such indicators, Nigeria will not achieve the
goal of Education For All, barely three years
to 2015 global time line in spite of the
commitment and efforts of the Federal
Government toward attainment of same. The
report also showed that most of the students
in school are not well equipped to solve basic
problems in the society, which is one of the
aims of education.
Another aspect of the issue is that most
schools in Nigeria are now adopting and
infusing the curricula of foreign countries
such as Britain and America with that of the
Nigerian curriculum. Schools using the
Nigerian curriculum use largely Nigerian
authored textbooks such as Macmillian and
Progressive textbooks while those who use
foreign curricula use foreign books.
It was at the National Curriculum Conference
in 1969 that the present Nigerian curriculum
came into being and the 6-3-3-4 system was
structured. It made the subjects studied in
Nigerian schools more indigenous in content;
however, the curriculum has been modified
over the years to come to grips with
contemporary challenges but so far the
curriculum is grossly inadequate in dealing
with present issues.
According to Irina Bokova, the UNESCO
Director General, "Literacy is much more than
an educational priority – it is the ultimate
investment in the future and the first step
towards all the new forms of literacy required
in the 21st century. We wish to see a century
where every child is able to read and to use
this skill to gain autonomy."
Literacy is a right and a foundation for
lifelong learning, better well-being and
livelihoods. As such it is a driver for
sustainable and inclusive development in any
society. A good quality basic education equips
pupils with literacy skills for life and further
learning; literate parents are more likely to
send their children to school; literate people
are better able to access continuing
educational opportunities; and literate
societies are better geared to meet pressing
development. This is only realisable if the
curriculum of that society is able to empower
its citizens with the necessary skills to
overcome the challenges in that given society.
Given the state of education in the country,
Nigeria is far from being able to effect any
positive change as its youths are ill equipped to
meet with the challenges in the country.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP Sunday, Mrs
Anita Ola who is the administrative officer
for Cornerstone Montessori Schools, Abuja
said that they use both the Nigerian and the
British curriculum in teaching their students.
This was because they use both curricular to
get the best out of the students, "Most of the
Nigerian schools use the Nigerian curriculum
but everyone knows that the British have the
best quality of education in the world. So what
we do is to fuse the British with the Nigerian
system and that has been working for us. With
that we use both British and Nigerian books in
teaching our students". She said.
Mr Friday Onwuka is the principal of the
Abuja International Academy and he was of
the opinion that the Nigerian curriculum was
good enough but that there had to be more
practical aspect of the curriculum. "We use
Nigerian books because we follow the Nigeria
curriculum strictly but I think they need to
make the curriculum more practical. There are
some schools that use foreign curriculums and
they are more practical so people tend to
prefer them". He said.
Mrs Jemima Koledoye, the head teacher at the
Grace of God Montessori school stated that
the Montessori system is Italian but it has
been modified to fit into the Nigerian system
because it helps the student get a better
grasp of the subject thought. "Some of the
books we use are Nigerian but we have to use
some foreign books in order to make it easier
for the student to understand what we teach
them. I know the government is trying their
best but we would like the Nigerian curriculum
to be improved so that it's not just about
theory but the practical aspect of each
subject be emphasised. That is what will
change the educational scope in Nigeria". She
Emem Opashi is an educational consultant in
the FCT and she insists that the Nigerian
curriculum has to be modified in terms of
being more practical, "I have been a teacher
for years now and I notice that the best way
to teach a child is thorough practical ways. If
you are teaching mathematics for instance
then it should not be too abstract to the child
or he may not understand. It's this practical
aspect that is lacking in the Nigerian system.
We have very brilliant children in this country.
Why do you think they do so well when they
study abroad? So we need to develop our
curriculum and teaching techniques so we do
not have to send our children aboard". She
It has been reported that the Nigerian
Educational Research and Development Council
headed by Professor Godswill Obioma, is going
to various parts of the country to train
teachers in the use of the Basic Education
Curriculum and the importance of
establishment of the Universal Basic
Education programme for primary and junior
secondary schools. However, since the primary
and secondary education are basic, the
content of the curriculum need to be modified
in such a way that student are able to show
what they know. When these children now
proceed to the university they will not be at
total loss.
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