I sat in a circle of educators some weeks back and we tried to raise salient points on the decline of our education system here in Nigeria. One thing that struck us all was the fact that while the most recent years show a rapid increase in scores at the Basic Education Certification Examinations (BECE), West African Examinations Council (WAEC), in Undergraduate Programmes and even Post Graduate Programmes, the individuals termed to have scored the high points when given hands-on tasks, could not defend the results. This isn’t a problem of theory versus practical, trust me!
The other day, I got a call, a close friend of mine, she was obviously upset. Her words, “Daisy, I had gone to finalize with the lady as discussed. Her kids are so rude and mannerless, I may not take it up.” Now, please don’t misunderstand me, her issue wasn’t in the being rude, her issue stemmed from the fact that when she tried to correct the child, the mother gave excuses for the misbehaviour. That was the height!!
Discussing this trend with a colleague, she expressed her fears, “We experience a lot of disrespect where I work. The problem is, you need to be careful in trying to correct because you can be fired for correcting a rude child”. I was dazzled!!!
Please don’t get me wrong, there are exceptions. This family moved in from the United States after a number of years. The children were born and bred there. Having spent their lives there, it is only normal for this child to greet you while raising her head up from her tablet, as you walked in. But to my surprise, her father who was sitting in the living room as I came in, immediately asked her to greet properly. You should have seen her defend that she had “greeted”. Her brows raised as she tried to understand why her father would make big deal out of a mere greeting. Now, I was SUPER impressed with that Parent!!!!!!!
We live in the days where a family visits and the parents are comfortable having their children jump from chair to chair, listen to the conversations of parents, parents paying heavily for their children to pass external examinations, parents paying bribes to heads of schools for the children to be admitted into schools. In days where Private Basic schools need a high population and so have to prove to the school scouters through their WAEC and BECE results that their school has a high standard of education and so engage in malpractices.
Then the most painful part of it all, the children watch these things happen!!!!
Parents watch, contribute and simply laugh at the decline. Now, this is the reason I opine that the corruption we talk about today IS NOT the problem of our country. Our problem is PARENTING! I say this because the well-being of ANY society is largely dependent on the moral health of its individual members.
I belong to the Piaget class that says every child is born not knowing right from wrong, though recent research argues otherwise. A child’s brain develops the capacity to make right or wrong choices. It is therefore essential for the parent to teach a child from a young age the importance of morals and values.
What To Do:
- Know your beliefs. Check yourself.
- Commit to Raising a Moral Child
- Teach Morals by Modeling them.
- Expect it.
- Reflect on the Effect of the behaviour.
- Discipline Appropriately when good morals are not displayed.
- Be Consistent. Reinforce moral behaviours.