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EDUCATION

‘Restructuring will enable value-based education policies’

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THE foundation of declining standard of education in Igbo land in particular and the entire country in general was traced at the door step of the military regime’s disoriented education policies aimed at spiting ndi Igbo after the civil war.

Speaking at St. John’s Science and Technical College, the former school prefect in the 1974-97 set, Chief George Okolo, said that the military did incalculable damage to education in the country since by their orientation, they were not originally destined to be academicians.

“The special education policy of the General Yakubu Gowon military government after the civil war, which led the sole administrator of the then East Central State, late Chief Ukpabi Asika to take over private and missionary schools was borne out of a hidden and evil agenda”, he said.

According to him, the Federal Military Government was suspicious of the Igbo so it wanted to monitor the academic curriculum to avoid venturing into manufacturing of weapons similar to the ones manufactured by the Biafra army.

Lamenting the extent of deterioration of his Alma Mata after the civil war and the suffering they underwent during their school days in the school, he believed that the missionaries could have facilitated the rehabilitation of their schools if they were not seized by government.

He said: “The policy of seizing private and missionary schools led to the inability of private and missionaries to mobilize funds from within and outside the country to rehabilitate their schools destroyed during the civil war.

In spite of the military government’s avowal of no victor, no vanquished and policy of rehabilitation, restoration and reconstruction, funds were never released to the sole administrator to reconstruct the schools and upgrade those not affected by the devastating war.

Again, the control of school by government did not place due emphasis on moral instructions which involves strict discipline which were the hallmarks of private and missionary schools before the war”. He condemned a situation where the federal government would make general policy on education while the country is practicing federal system of government.

In his remarks, another old boy and retired director in the Ministry of Information, Mr. Peter Nwagu, who echoed the position of Okolo, contended that the clarion call for restructuring of the country is perfectly in order. He said:

“Restructuring will do away with the muddle in the legislative list whereby education is in the concurrent list but the federal government uses coercion to make state governments implement the generalized federal government policies in education.

He said: “The existing practice of the federal government compelling state governments to implement education policies irrespective of some state governments’ disavowal runs centrally to the principles of federalism and concurrent list.

The establishment of JAMB whereby admission into state owned universities and polytechnics is controlled by the body runs contrary to concurrent legislative list. This is over-centralization which is akin to unitary system of government.

Also speaking, Anthony Chiezie and a veteran broadcaster, Mr. Don Onyenji said that the old boys association had blazed the trail in assisting Anambra State Government to provide basic learning tools to enable the students actualize their potentials. They expressed joy that the students produced paints which is being used in painting the school, among other creative ventures that will make them self employed.

One of the old boys’ great financiers and award winner, Chief Peter Pan Okafor also spoke in support of restructuring to free states from the education policies that run contrary to their respective values and world view.

He contended thus: “Igbos are noted for valuing sound minds, instead of going down, we have to go up. Restructuring will quicken the educational advancement of the southerners especially the Igbos.

In his comments, another great pillar of old boys association, Emeka Ngige SAN, who was one of the recipients of awards said that he and his brothers who passed through the school would not relent in making their contributions to place the college in an enviable pedestal. He advised the students to value their time and make good use of the facilities which old boys association have provided.

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