In this part of the world, children are said to be deficient in necessary skills needed to enhance their capability to become better members of the academia and society at large. REGINA OTOKPA was at an event where some volunteers presented an opportunity to remedy the situation
It is one thing to be intelligent.
It is another thing to be able to activate the intelligence to attain sustainable success in life. Experts have continued to argue that the basic level of education remains the most critical aspects of an individual’s life in becoming an epitome of success in any chosen career.
In recent times, the poor quality of graduates from Nigerian Universities have become a thing of worry for all and sundry, even as the Federal Government through the Ministry of Education, has continued to fashion out policies to curb the ugly trend. However, government cannot do this alone.
Only recently, about 40 school, drawn from both public and private primary schools within Abuja, qualified for the 1st edition of the Schools Debate League, SDL, Abuja 2017.
Some of the schools include; Ladela School, Creative learning International schools, Greenrice International School, Lead British International School, Rabeito School, and Local Government Primary Schools commonly referred to as LEA, from across different locations including Gwarinpa, Galadinma and Aleyta.
SDL, is a programme designed by the Life Skills Experts, LSF, to develop capabilities around children from a tender age, around one of the important skills they need in life which is communication skills and in particular, persuasive presentations to be convincing and influencing communicators in future.
It also aims at exposing students in the basic school to learning experiences that would task them to think about real life issues and challenges and have such translated into persuasive arguments and presentations. But according to the Founder and Director of LSF, Omagbitse Barrow, one of the powerful ways to achieve this was through debate competitions.
Barrow had made a startling discovery that Nigeria, with a population as high as over 180 million people, has suffered gross leadership gap in the hands of wrong leaders, who unfortunately like majority of people who grew up in Nigeria, were not exposed to essential life skills from the early stages of life unlike their counterparts in other parts of the world.
Inside Abuja checks revealed that Social Scientists across the globe are unanimous on the fact that for individuals to achieve sustainability, they need a combination of academic skills and life skills-15 per cent Intelligence Quotient and 85 per cent Emotional Quotient.
But in Nigeria, what we find in our school programmes focus almost exclusively on the 15 per cent Intelligence Quotient which according to Barrow, “is therefore no surprise that we create graduates and school leavers who do not possess the basic skills for value based leadership, personal effectiveness, creativity and innovation, communication and financial literacy.
No one is really paying attention to this.”
Driven by a passion to create more influencing communicators within students in Abuja, he stressed that good leadership as found in some developed countries of the world was achievable due to the understanding, acceptability and inculcation of values and practical life skills such as communication skills, creativity, innovation and financial literacy, in the schools curricula from the basic level, arguing that while a combination of academic and life skills were needed to achieve sustainable success, the opposite is the case in Nigeria, where emphasis is laid only on the academic performance of the students, leading to a poor quality of the workforce.
“Nigerians are often creative in the wrong direction. Leadership often times, we have been led by the wrong people because we haven’t really taught ourselves what real value based leadership means.
People who work in the office are not very productive because when they were young they didn’t learn about things like managing time and being effective, speaking and focusing on task and activities.
“In most developed countries in the world, they have understood that life communication skills, things like leadership, financial literacy, communication skills and creativity, must be in the schools; that they must be taught in schools; these are not academic subjects, these are practical life skills.”
Regardless, Nigerian government can emulate its counterparts and begin to undertake steps beyond the basic subject requirements such as mathematics, English and sciences, to legislate the inclusion and practice of life skills in the school curricula starting from the basic schools.