…Says many students can’t read, write
Ben Ezechime, Enugu
The Secretary to the Enugu State Government (SSG), Prof. Chidiebere Onyia, says 50 per cent of pupils in the state can neither read in English nor solve simple mathematics questions.
Onyia stated this while delivering a keynote address titled, “Smart Basic Education and the Future of Africa,” at the quadrennial convention of the Old Boys Association of Union Secondary School, Awkunanaw, on Thursday in Enugu.
According him, the government discovered the shortcoming in its Baseline Assessment of primary schools in the state, conducted in November 2023.
“Our findings were shocking. After six years of primary school, 50 per cent of our children cannot read a single word in English and those who can read struggle with comprehension.
“50 per cent of our children cannot solve simple subtraction challenges.
“What we found out in Enugu State is writ large across our nation,” he said.
He expressed displeasure that in Nigeria, 3 out of 4 children who completed basic education lack numeracy and literacy proficiency.
“The World Bank, UNICEF, and UNESCO have defined this as ‘the Nigerian Learning Crisis.’
“On top of this, our children suffer a “Skills Gap” because existing modes of teaching do not equip children with scientific, technological, productive, and digital competences,” Onyia added.
The SSG, however, said that the state government education policy has been repositioned to incorporate bio-digital-technology that would drive industrial growth.
This, he said, would be achieved through the introduction of innovative technologies in education, particularly at the basic education level.
He said that Gov. Peter Mbah had taken deliberate steps at reforming the education system to meet the changing global demands.
Onyia assured that the challenges were being addressed through well-thought-out radical policy initiatives by the government.
The SSG said this include the introduction of smart school model across the 260 electoral wards in the state, which had new facilities such as centres for artificial intelligence and robotics, and interactive smart boards among others.
The SSG added that the academic curricula would now prioritise experiential learning methods, problem-solving and case studies.
He said that the changes would not only equip students with emerging technological skills, but also afford them opportunities to compete with their peers globally.
“In Enugu State, we now believe that in addition to providing continuous training and professional development to teachers within the school systems, we must also transform how teachers teach, as well as how students learn,” he added.