Editorial

Discipline and Nigerian school children

Not too long ago, a child was said to have been dehumanized to the extent he fell into a coma while being flogged by his teacher during a lesson in a school in Maza Maza area of Lagos.

 

The child was only two years old. There were two accounts of what led to his being severely flogged. In the first account, the child reportedly failed to show academic performance to the extent he could not correctly pronounce some words. In another account, the pupil was said to be in the habit of constantly scratching and itching a certain part of his body, which the teacher considered inappropriate in a class setting.

 

Another child was a victim of high handedness in a school in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State. In this particular case the child was unlucky as the flogging by his teacher ultimately led to his death. The reason for the teacher’s high handedness is yet to be established.

 

New Telegraph sends its heartfelt condolences to the families and other relatives of the two pupils for the unfortunate but avoidable incidents. We pray that God will comfort the families and heal the wounds inflicted on them by the agents of death masquerading as fountains of knowledge in the temple of learning. It is our prayer that never should such acts of highhandedness be exhibited anywhere in the nation’s education sector.

 

The consequences of such acts of high handedness will be profoundly negative. It may trigger in families the feeling that some educational institutions have become murder houses deceitfully wearing the garbs of centres of moral, educational, sporting and entrepreneurial excellence and make them withdraw their children from such institutions.

 

We are disappointed at the gross ineptitude, unprofessionalism and crudeness displayed by persons who wear the garb of educationists in the two schools in Lagos and Port Harcourt in handling what are, at best, the trademark nuances of children.

 

The teachers ought to have shown understanding over the referred child-like and other forms of infant behavioural mannerisms and latched on to their depth of professionalism to make them calm, be ready to learn and follow the lesson.

 

One chief tool to utilise is the entry behaviour, which must be captivating enough to swing the attention of the pupils/students to the teachers and the topics being taught in a hair-splitting second. The entry behaviour may not be connected to the topic or subject being studied on each occasion but what is being adopted for use must have the capacity of having a magical impact on the entire class.

 

The success of teachers to deploy entry behaviour will likely endear them to their pupils/ students and prompt them to have a strong liking for the subjects despite the fact they could be classified as infants. We wish to point out that when children  develop a strong liking for some subjects at the formative stages of their earthly existence, they end up sustaining such subject preferences till junior and secondary levels of their academic journeys.

 

Their career choices in the university become easier as their subject- strengths are factored in while such decisions are taken. Had the teachers in question bent backwards to deploy entry behaviour among other assets into use, they would have succeeded in making the children under their care learn with success.

 

The point should also be driven home that it is wrong for teachers to expect children to exhibit an extra-ordinarily- high degree of knowledge usually expected of adults. Even adults have in some instances been found wanting not to talk of children who could be said to still be at the starting blocks of their academic journeys with their innovative power yet to be fully-developed.

 

Given the nature of offences committed by the two teachers in Lagos and Port Harcourt, we call for the law to be applied to its fullest to serve as a deterrent to others.

 

The blunders of the two teachers are an eye-opener to all that enforcement of professional standards should be taken to the hilt. On no account, should teaching be reduced to an all-comers affair. Those who have teaching qualifications such as the National Certificate in Education (NCE) and Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) Honours Degree should be allowed to teach, after being certified to have the disposition to manage the perceived errors of the pupils/ students.

 

The non-education graduates should be compelled to study for a Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) after which they should be expected to show a demonstrative capacity to manage children under their care.

New Telegraph urges all the regulatory agencies in the education sector in the country to take their statutory responsibilities more seriously as what happened in Lagos and Port Harcourt is a pointer to the fact that surveillance is not what it should be. Private and public educational institutions should be subjected to frequent visitations by well-trained and efficient inspectors of schools.

 

Teachers found wanting should be sanctioned as the exercise will help to keep even the even diligent ones on their toes. All primary and secondary schools in Nigeria should be compelled to set-up functional Parents Teachers Associations (PTAs), which should meet, at least thrice a term, to take important decisions relating to the children’s well-being as well as academic, moral, sporting and entrepreneurial advancements.

 

If these measures are fully operationalized, the seeming drift of some Nigeria’s educational institutions into murder slabs will be checked, and there will likely be an overwhelming relief to all as the dehumanization of children in schools all in the name of discipline becomes history.

 

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