In retrospect, when Benin Divisional Council was in charge of primary schools in the defunct Mid-Western Region, the moral and academic pursuit of pupils was at the apex of learning in this pad of the globe.
Before delving into the various aspects of this academic prowess, I would like to quickly define my own interpretation of education. So, I will define education as a state of giving through which a person gets utility and a mental perspective of his other neighbourhood. In other words, it is a process where both formal and informal education makes a great contribution in the order of return in accountability.
Albeit the early teaching in Benin did not quite reflect my definition because our language was referred to as vernacular, B.D.C. Schools were able to maintain high level of academic pursuit devoid of examination ma There were organized schools sports between schools in the council. Teachers were transferred as at when due and they took their job seriously.
In this period under review reading and writing of letters were part and parcels of the youth way of life in Benin metropolis. The British Council was in the forefront of creating enabling environment for the acquisition of a good reading culture. Consequently, libraries were built with books of different discipline put in to enable students and members of the public gain access to wide variety of knowledge. Poor students who could not afford to purchase prescribed textbooks could borrow for reading at home to be returned at a later date.
Reading books was a veritable tool for curbing youths restiveness and other crime wave that is now bedeviling our societies these days. Other beneficiaries of the British Council Libraries were student in tertiary institutions that could not afford to purchase all the prescribed books for their academic work.
There is no gainsaying the fact that imbibing good reading culture can create the much needed information about what is the current information in our neighbourhood, the state and the country at large. For example, our daily newspapers like the Nigerian Observer carries enormous information concerning health, business opportunities, food security, lob opportunities, etc.
The falling of educational standard could be attributed to poor reading culture, poor quality teachers and obsolete educational facilities which translate to poor quality people.
Some graduates these days can hardly read or write applications. Consequently, they are unable to compete with their contemporaries in the academic world. Reading to be informed as we know in the past was to develop knowledge, skills or character. Knowledge is a body of information that exists. So knowledge arises in the mind of a person when the individual interacts with an idea or experience.
It is true that there have been many articles written on the retrogressive standard of education in Nigeria. Some individuals have said in the past that the standard of education
has fallen to its lowest ebb to which some people disagreed. The school curriculum and its application of educational policies had been lagging culminating in the so-called dismal performance in the educational sector.
Every successive administration had promised to reform the learning sector through proper monitoring of policies. However, the absence of sanction for failure of policies had fueled crisis in the segment of national emancipation.
Pragmatic steps should be taken to improve basic level of reading and writing — which had been described by the United Nations as fundamental to the development of overall education all over the world.
Why can’t the federal government move with the trends of the time since we have both human and material resources that can cater for our learning process.
In Great Britain, there are diddies library stocked with books to educate, entertain and to keep the child busy. So, at any given time children are engaged in positive activities that will help them grow into useful and productive adults.
The federal government’s negative attitude towards engaging our youths by creating centre of academic excellence has converted so many kids to be truants, pa armed banditry that is bedeviling our societies today. Even when the federal government made deliberate attempt to address the challenges in the academic sector of human capital investments, the implementation reveals neglect and recklessness abandon due to mismanagement of fiscal allocation.
Other factors constituting a clog in our good reading culture is traceable to modern electronic communication devices. Television games, internet fraud, movies etc. have portrayed youths as always in the midst of peer group who share the same idea. But this is not true with those from the financially challenged background. These kinds of youths lack a source of connection and have few close friends with whom they feel comfortable discussing problems or sharing ideas instead they are on the street selling pure water, plantain chips, gala and other fast food product. Consequently, they have little or no time for reading books.
Children should be teleguided towards eschewing social vices like cultism and examination malpractices. They should be encouraged to embrace good reading culture which is endowed with enormous prospect of promoting their educational pursuits.
In the light of the above, the three tier of government should introduce modern day libraries of computer based facilities capable of enticing the youths to embrace good reading and writing culture.