Last week, pictures of Katsina State governor Aminu Bello Masari went viral on social media. It was the occasion of his visit to Kayalwa Primary school and Government Day Secondary school KofarYandaka, all the two schools located within Katsina metropolis. The governor, though ostensibly for that purpose, seized the opportunity to directly interact with teachers and students and see for himself the situation under which the teachers teach and the students learn. He made grand discoveries in the course. Some of the discoveries he seemed to have made were overcrowded classrooms, poor quality of teachers, fallen standard of teaching facilities, dilapidated infrastructure and so on and so forth.
What he had discovered we can say, is in summary, a dysfunctional system. Though this is something known to all and which we are sure the governor is familiar with, having had paid visit to other schools in remote areas that are in more depressing state, but strangely, the pictures told a different story. We have seen the governor, having discovered all that he had to discover, emotionally down, psychologically traumatised and expressively off balance. The governor was quoted to have said whenever he asks a student or teacher a question and either could respond “To Allah yakyauta” in a mournful tone. An obvious expression of hopelessness.
It is surprising because this is not his first visit to schools since his assumption of office. As was said, he had been to Schools in remote areas where the situation is believed to be worst. He constituted a committee soon after coming to office to find for him the problems of education in Katsina and recommend possible solutions. They did and reported back to him. He allocated 20% from this year’s budget to the sector and has a commissioner that on weekly(?) basis gives him situation report about going-on(s) in the sector. Besides, the problems in education sector are for more than a decade now topic of discussion in the media, both traditional and new; at every fora an opportunity is offered; and a topic of small talks in town whenever more than two sound minds meet.
So if after all these the governor seeing what had seen was by his the looks on the picture, heartbroken, it then calls for a review of what the problems really are and perhaps for a psychoanalysis of the actors. The analysis, not only of the governor in relation to his enthusiasm to revive the sector, but of the psychology of the parents, the teachers, the students and the community which produces them all, to see if there is a groundwork that also needed to be done at this level.
At the level of the governor, if not for nothing but for the steps he had taken so far which confirm to us that he knows much about the sector, we can’t conduct a psychoanalysis of him in relation to the sector but raise questions, answers to which if we have will only enable us to get a clearer picture. The questions are; was the governor discovering something he had never thought existed in the system? Was he having a rethink on the steps he earlier thought he would take to revive the system? That the committee report didn’t include this situation which he had now seen? Was the governor hopeless or has concluded that we can’t just rescue the sector?
These questions are pertinent because even a first time visitor to Katsina and is to visit a school in the state would expect to see what Masari had seen hence will never be shocked at the bare truth of the situation. Except this is his first time of encountering this kind of problem, he was never expected to be so depressed as he was seemed to have been.
Masari’s political advisers would have told him right from before they left government house that on no account he should be looked depressed of what he will see because a leader is expected to, when the society is hopeless of a situation, appear resilient and courageous thereby injecting hope into the minds of the people that we can together fix the problem at hand. For this would have closed the door for cynicism because some people have started resigning hope in Masari’s ability to restore Katsina’s lost glory.
The governor and those who buy into his passion for the sector tend to think that parents of the students have to come in if only we want a vibrant sector, an allegation we found so plausible. But if we spare a minute to study the psychology of the parents we will arrive at the fact that, to have them on-board, it only means, if their psychology isn’t changed, we will have to wait for eternity. Greater percent of these parents are low income earners and in the society regarded as in the lowest class.
They are people with daunting demands but have very limited resources to meet them. This is true because whoever earns up to thirty thousand naira a month has his child in private school, which is why in every street in Katsina there are private schools lying, some even operate in makeshifts. This is to say that majority of the public school parents earn below that, even when they earn equal or higher but send their children to public school it is for other reasons. They also are parents who live in a society that recognises Almajirci as a system of education; a system that will allow a parent to send their children to distant places for schooling without paying a kobo for their upkeep, nor require them, the parents, to pay them a visit for the whole period of their studies nor even care to know what kind of life they live. some will never even see the children forever and they will never mind.
They meanwhile have the believe that, a child is least the responsibility of his parent but of the society to take care of. These parents commend little authority on the children. The children do as they so pleased. If a child is not for a day going to school for example for a silly reason like washing cloth, the parent can only ask why and must accept whatever excuse the child will give, but cannot force him to do the right thing. The children do what they like and are going to school mostly not based on the parents’ insistence, but for other reasons. So to have these kind of parents on board in order to rejuvenate the sector without their psychology being studied and changed, is to wait for a train at airport.
The students on the other hand have so many things controlling their psychology towards their studies. Many of them are seeing the school more as a joint where they meet to plan or execute a thing than where they come to learn. They command no respect in the society and have no meaningful ambition for future of their education. Majority of public school students are not dreaming of becoming professional Historians, Biochemists or Medical Doctors or sociologists or linguists or Business Administrators. For a public school student, going to university is a prerogative of some. This belief is reinforced by how they look at from among them a dedicated student. Some derogatory terms such as ‘Mr Kyamkyam’ and ‘Allazi Boko’ are some of the preserves of serious students who are rare to find. Often, enmity even ensue between the very few serious students and the rest.
You hardly see them in group at school or back home discussing how they will go to university and become professionals. This is evident if we look at how a school will be graduating 500 students and may be only 6 or 7 students bought JAMB or indicate interest in furthering their studies. They consult nobody on how they should proceed with their education, nor will they ever consider going to anybody to teach them a subject they want clearer understanding of. They attend no extra lesson classes even if it is for free. Buy them a form for any exam and they will sell it to any serious person out there. They thus are being recycled in the society. Having have no ambition, all they do is to graduate from the school or dropout and come back to the society unskilled, unemployable but with demands everyday growing. They have to meet those demands by all means and since they have no skill neither hope, they engage in some illicit affairs thereby confounding the already state of the torn societal social fabric.
To be continued
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