Stakeholders highlight dangers of rushing child education
Luqmon Balogun, Lagos
Stakeholders from various sectors of the Nigerian economy have converged in Lagos to launch the ‘Hurried Child Project’ and used the occasion to illuminate dangers inherent in hurrying child education.
The event organised by a non-governmental organization, A Mother’s Love Initiative (AMLi) is making a case for an intervention for protecting the well-being and future of the African Child.
The project emphasized that hurrying the Nigerian child will have a huge implication on their overall well-being and the future of Nigeria.
Speaking at the event filled with informative, entertainment and highly educated sessions, participants agreed on the need to collaborate, increase advocacy about hurrying a child and change the narrative.
The Wife of Lagos State Governor, Mrs Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu said that teaching of morals transcends the school walls, as parents must be willing to take up such responsibilities.
Sanwo-Olu who spoke through the Wife of the State Commissioner of Economic Planning and Budget, Mrs. Edith Egube, acknowledged the efforts of the foundation to beam its search light on issues of that magnitude that hold the future of the child.
“It is a fact that a hurrying child turned out to be half-baked which eventually poses serious challenge to the society. We must continue to play up advocacy and the conversation on the need to sensitize parents, teachers and society on how to avoid the act of promoting the practice of hurrying our children in our states and Nigeria as a whole. And one important fact about life is that there is no short cut to success.
“I am glad to learn that the AMLi have put in place some series of efforts to revisit some old indigenous and traditional and cultural practice that counters the positive pattern of preserving and protecting the future of the African Child. This I must say, is a way to go,” she said.
She enjoined parents to desist from mounting pressure on their children to live their dreams through them, as this can result into serious health implications.
Lagos State Commissioner of Education, Mrs Folashade Adefisayo called for a qualitative experiment to better present the whole essence of the initiative to the people, in order to drive the consequences of failing to desist from the act.
The Commissioner who also shared her personal experience on what she encountered for being hurried in her childhood days, stressed that continuous advocacy will make it more obvious for parents and Guardians to realize the benefits of ending a cycle of education before proceeding into another.
According to her, “this idea of not hurrying a child is a very difficult thing to market to some parents, because most of them do it in collaboration with schools.
“There are many private schools in Lagos that do not have Primary 6 classes anymore and what they do is that when we send our inspectors to such schools they have a room designed as Primary 6 and it’s difficult to prove because you will meet pupils in those classes.
“We have a National policy of Education that states it clearly that children should enter school at the age of 12, but I will be silent on that but I know it is more of question of moral suasion and not force to follow the guidelines to assure a better future for the Children.”
She advised parents to allow their wards to complete the primary education before going into secondary school.
In his keynote address, A lecturer from the Department of Art, Social Science and Education, University of Lagos, Dr. Olumide Ige highlighted what he described as a cognitive reconstruction which talked about changing the attitude and perception of education managers.
Dr. Ige canvassed for employing qualified teachers with adequate knowledge to take teaching methods from simple to complex.
An Educationist, Mrs Shoba Ubah was of the opinion that adherence to the national policy on education is the key to complying to this directive by the school management.
She suggested adequate monitoring of schools, particularly private schools that hurriedly admit students from Primary 4 into Junior Secondary School.
She said “the State government must ensure comprehensive and deliberate efforts to monitor schools that are not complying to the rules of allowing completion of a primary education before moving into the secondary part. Teachers are also under pressure to push the students into another class even with abysmal results because the school management don’t want to lose the pupils.”
The Head, External Relations of the foundation, Mrs. Hanatu Enwemadu, explained that the initiative which started about five years ago was to create awareness and share insights on the ills of hurrying the Nigerian Child.
She explained that there is a need to create empathy for Nigerian and African Children as most parents are under pressure and such people need more sensitization.
“We are trying to create awareness on this syndrome, to help inform the Nigerian parents on the need to allow our children to grow and to make empathy. We are making a case for the Nigerian child, because there has been a lot of pressure and we need to slow down”.
She emphasized more on the use of the media and other social means to enlighten parents and Guardians on the ills and consequences of their actions to hurrying child in life.
The Head, Research and Project Development of the foundation, Mr. Mohammed Ademola mentioned that all past interventions have either attempted to offer palliative or remedial solution to the problem without bringing to the limelight the fundamental significance
of the hurried child syndrome as a universal driver of most issues affecting the lives of the African child.
He said the foundation had carried out its intervention through the use of media advocacy, and psychosocial interventions using social media platforms, radio, TV, Institutional/community support services and professional counselling with the end objective of raising the standards of an ideal, balanced and happy child in Africa.
According to him, “the bad news is that we are all guilty of the issues as individuals or groups, and the good news is that there is a lot of room for redemption for every individual who has a duty to the African child.
Collectively, we must ensure that every family in Africa is aware and understands the implications of hurrying a child based on their local realities.
Beyond that is to provide information about knowledge, attitudes and practices that can reverse the hurried child syndrome in private and public spheres,” he said
Other participants at the event argued that the system of education needs a review with special attention, intervention and fast-tracking a child’s academic achievements without considerations for the social and psychological development of the child with respect to age, developmental tasks and the nature of learning environments in the Nigerian society.
They called on every Nigerian to support the initiative which is an agenda that will reposition the status of the Nigerian Child, with its consequent positive outcomes on the families, schools, communities, Lagos State, and Nigeria as a whole.
Highlight of the event was the official launching of a documentary on child advocacy, which is a collection of interviews and excerpts on the history, root causes, predisposing factors, maintaining factors as well as the consequences of hurrying a child through childhood as perceived by the victims and the perpetrators and the system that has promoted the hurried child syndrome in Africa.