Education is the bedrock of the development of any nation. An adage says, “if education is expensive try ignorance”. Some nations are now experiencing the evil effects of not taking the education of their youth with utmost importance. These nations now depend on expatriates from other nations for the provision of basic necessities of life.
They so depend on these experts to the extent that they are ready to pay any amount to retain them otherwise, their economies will crumble. The citizens complained of foreigners taking their jobs whereas, their own youths are lazy and contented with low level of education. The problem is multi-dimensional and cuts across all the stakeholders in the educational sector.
Added to these, are the many diversions around preventing the youth from concentrating and focusing on educational pursuit. At this point, the efforts of the NGO’s, religious bodies and individuals are worthy of commendation.
Standard Bearers Islamic Organisation (SB) is one of such religious bodies dedicated towards improving the educational standard of our youths and providing encouraging platforms that will spur the youths to a level of serious educational pursuit. Some years back, the organization embarked on giving scholarship to the best students in secondary schools through their yearly competition targeted at Muslim students within Osun and environs.
Last year (2018) over 70 students were awarded 50-100% scholarships for their WAEC and NECO examinations. This year they have awarded about a hundred students with similar scholarships and educational materials. The award ceremonies were also held in Ile- Ife and Osogbo, to make it easier for the students to attend. Further improvement with the 2019 examination was the inclusion of a sizable number of students from Ondo and Ekiti States.
This effort is commendable and deserves the support of philanthropic Muslims in Osun in particular and the nation at large. However, as laudable as this initiative is, it has revealed some issues that need our urgent attention to prevent our educational system from continuous decay or eventual collapse
This year’s result is disturbing because it shows that from over 500 students who sat for the competition in English and Mathematics, only eight students scored above 50%, with over 80% scoring below 30%. This has a lot to say about the quality of our teachers, the standard of education, seriousness on the part of parents, and seriousness and dedication on the part of the government in providing conducive atmosphere for the development of education in the country.
It is important to also state that students need to show more zeal to attain academic excellence despite the challenging environment. Reliance on cheating their way to success will not help them, their families nor the nation at large in the long run. While commending SB once again, more NGOs and religious bodies need to do more to assist the government in taking our educational system to greater heights.
Professor Mondiu Olayinka Durowoju
Professor of materials science and Engineering, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH)
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