By Constance Meju
A dialogue across generations tagged “Deepening A Culture of Peace and Democracy Through Education,” has declared the school curriculum in use in Nigeria, obsolete and in urgent and dire need to be reviewed for relevance with current global realities.
The dialogue which held at the Sacred Heart Seminary, Rumuibekwe, Port Harcourt Saturday September 4, 2021, is a UNESCO MGIEP’s programme designed to interface between youths and policy makers on issues that affect education and their future.
The youth on the dialogue panel listed issues requiring attention as improvement in the education system, sincerity on the government part about youth inclusion in political leadership and other rights, creation of opportunities for employment among others.
The event which brought youth representatives from different parts of the country including, Abuja, Lagos , Markudi, Owerri, etc., deliberated on issues of youth participation in governance, quality of Nigerian education, leadership and employment.
Participants including representatives of policy makers, decried the death of student unionism and blamed the failure of youth to speak on critical issues for some of the impunity in place in the country.
Speaking from the policy makers angle, Prof Fidelis Allen of the University of Port Harcourt, said it is the duty of the youth to engage government through dialogue, speaking out, demanding that the right things are done in order for democracy to thrive.
“Citizens have to work to create the type of government they desire through active participation which the youth can engage in through speaking up.
“Speak up, engage with your constitutional representatives from ward level up formally and informally, speak up as groups, make input into policies through public hearing. Non –violent engagement is vital in tertiary institutions”, Prof Allen stated.
Nigerian education is curriculum obsolete, not in tune with contemporary educational development so graduates not able to fit into present day job demands, the panel identified and called for serious review
It also found the system deficient in addressing special needs especially, for the physically challenged
“Government not serious about youth engagement, even with Not Too Young To Run Act and Child Right Law, there are no facilities in place for implementation.
“Make education curriculum relevant to current day realities, encourage solution to everyday challenges”, some suggested, adding that youths have to show readiness to learn and take up the mantle of leadership and embrace new demands of problem solving , critical thinking, networking skills among others in line with present job demands in order not to be left behind.
The need to hold people accountable from a united front by youth was stressed by Mr. Alozie Loveday
“First be accountable, show readiness for next level through leadership traits from the home to school then society to make selves unavailable to be used by unscrupulous persons for evil,” he advised.
Prof Fidelis Allen of the University of Port Harcourt Peace and Gender Institute said there is no perfect democracy, that citizens have to work to create the type of government they desire through active participation which the youth can engage in through speaking up.
“Speak up, engage with your constitutional representatives from ward level up formally and informally, speak up as groups, make input into policies through public hearing. Non –violent engagement is vital in tertiary institutions
“There is nothing on earth that cannot be negotiated with the right skills non-violently.”
The Talking Across Generations on Education, iTAGe, the first in Africa was hosted by the Center for Social Transformation and Human Development.