At the 9th valedictory service of Lord’s Secondary School and the 19th graduation and prize giving ceremonies of Lord’s Kiddies College, Ilora, Oyo State, Professor Adenike Osofisan of the Department of Computer Science, University of Ibadan, who was the chairperson at the event, speaks wto Hassan Olatunji on how to engender improvement in Nigeria’s education sector.
A lot of people get it wrong. The facilities available today are more than what was available in our days. During our time, General Science was only introduced in our final year. However, today, even from primary school, children are exposed to computing, science and the like. For me, I think the problem we have today comes from the parents. Parents over-pamper their children; we want to do everything for them, such that we make them become weaklings. During JAMB Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations, we have more parents/wards than students at some centres. Sometimes, we see that results are bought for the children. During our time, we attended lessons and you were on your own when it was time to sit for the examinations. Today, parents almost want to sit the examinations on behalf of the children. That’s part of the problem.
How would you rate the effect of social media on the upbringing of children?
There is no invention that doesn’t bring good and bad. However, it depends on which aspect you want to adopt. To take an example, when a woman gives birth, there is the baby and the placenta; you throw away the placenta, and you take the baby home. I tell people that ‘Teach these children how to use social media well; don’t let them discover it on their own’. You can get a lot of education from social media, both good and bad. Let us train our children to adopt only the good part of social media.
What’s your advice for government on improving education?
While at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife), there were scholarships, whether state government, local government or even community scholarships. I don’t believe in saying ‘don’t pay school fees’, because that is the crux of the matter. Government cannot do it all. That’s why a lot of state governments, local governments and even communities have abandoned the responsibility of giving scholarships. My father was a community leader; I know a lot of people whom he sent to school who were not his children. That was part of the community service in those days. To train a student in the university is a lot of money. We play too much politics with education, and as long as you play politics with education, things will not go well. That is the truth.