By Adebayo Abubakar
Education is a phenomenon that does not lend itself to a simple, one-fits-all definition.
As a matter of fact, there are as many definitions of education, as there number of people talking about it.
But among the numerous definitions of education I have come across, no one resonates with me, like the one given by Hegel, the philosopher. He defined Education as, “the progressive perfection of humanity, from simple, uncultivated, primitive state of mind, through hard discipline of labour and toil, to the consciousness and exercise of freedom”.
Any nation that is desirous of socio-economic development does not have the luxury to neglect the education of her population, as the education is term the bedrock national development.
When we talk of education, it is not an end in itself, but a means to an end; and what is that end?
The end is to put in place, an institution, with a process, through which we can forge, citizens that will grow up, to not only be civil, law abiding and enlightened, but also possess the requisite knowledge, skills and attitudes, to contribute their quotas towards the development of the nation.
In ensuring that, these citizens are forged to specifications, government must ensure that, the institution of education is manned by people who are eminently qualified to give instruction to the pupils in such a way that, the foundation being laid can be built on, without any fear of imbalance, future collapse or counter-productiveness towards the National goals and objectives.
The decision to ensure that those who are qualified to teach at every level of the educational system are recruited, to ensure that it yield needed results, is one that must be done with firmness of determination by those who are at the helm of affairs, in ensuring that, the best, and nothing but the best is settled for.
This is the juncture at which, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq finds himself, as he tried to right the wrong of the recruitment exercise that culminated in the emergence of over two thousand SUBEB (State Universal Basic Education Board) teachers, recently disengaged, with a view to embarking on a fresh process that will engender the recruitment and selection of the among the lots, that indicate interest.
As a matter of fact, I do not envy the position of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq at the moment. This is because, he has found himself between the proverbial devil and the deep blue sea.
He is between, giving Kwara a guaranteed future of sound teachers that will groom the proverbial “leaders of tomorrow”, and allowing politics to colour the whole process, and getting everything derailed. Remember, 2023 is around the corner.
This writer, therefore, does not rule out the possibility of political hawks, using the exercise as a tool to get what they want, by resorting to blackmailing, with a second-term ticket. The assumption might be, right or wrong. But this writer would be glad, if it turns out to be wrong.
This fear of the exercise being hijacked is informed by experiences in recent past. The immediate past Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed had a very pure intention, when he gave an executive order for the recruitment of just 1100 teachers, it was hijacked by the political hawks, and whooping 1314 was fraudulently inserted, thereby, jerking it up to, 2414, including those who are sorely unqualified to teach at any, for lacking in prerequisite certifications to teach at any level.
Meanwhile, these people represent some voting bloc, something that will come to play, in the build up to 2023, when the Governor is likely to be seeking re-election.
An anonymous thinker says; “to destroy a nation, Bombs or chemical weapon is not what is needed. All that is required is to, destroy the educational system”. This underscores the paramountcy of the place, education occupies in the life of a nation.
The Governor therefore, needs to, carefully evaluate his options, before deciding on whether to leave those who are not qualified in the system, at the detriment of the future of our children and score cheap political points, or choose the former and have his name etched in gold in the anal of our history, and be remembered as the Governor who gave Kwara the best, in terms of teaching-personnel.
Apart from the far-reaching political and socio-economic implications, the decision of the Governor on the issue of SUBEB staff has, there is also the problem of funds for government to pay salaries. It would be recalled that, the organised Labour in the State and the State Government are still locked in talks on how the newly approved ₦30,000 (Thirty Thousand Naira) minimum wage is to be implemented, with the government complaining of paucity of fund.
But whatever the case may be, the Governor is the one who is in the river, and should know better than the rest of us, how deep it is.
He is in a better position to tell, whether or not, the financial health of the State can sustain the proposed addition of 2,701 more workers, to the existing ones.
The ball is in the Governor’s court, he is at a very critical juncture of decision-making, to give the children of Kwara State, a befitting legacy of robust and vibrant educational system, manned by qualified and competent teaching-personnel.
Writes from Ilorin