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Why Nigeria has remained backward – Donald Duke



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Former governor of Cross River state and presidential aspirant for the 2019 presidential election, Donald Duke, has blamed Nigeria’s numerous problems on the failure of successive governments to upgrade the quality of education in the country.
Speaking recently in an interview monitored by National Daily, he said that untrained brains in the country will become parasites and urged that every child must be in school for free up until the university level which they can opt to not attend as long as they’ve been equipped with vocational skills, of any sort, throughout their school years.
He said the government has not upgraded education from the glory days of the 60s and 70s despite the nation’s population explosion, a situation he said has contributed to Nigeria’s deterioration. “Our glory days in education were in the 60s into the 70s and there’s a population explosion and we didn’t invest. The schools are not inspiring and the environment under which you study hardly works.
“The manpower is there. We have a lot of folks that come out of the university who have no jobs. That youth corps year that is wasted, as far as I’m concerned, could be used to retrain them to go into the teaching field. You need to make teaching attractive.”
The 56-year-old former governor said one of the best ways to improve education in the country is to make a number of changes that’ll show real commitment towards solving the problem.
“In Cross River, I took them off the tax profile so teachers weren’t paying taxes any longer. It’s difficult to tell civil servants to convert and become teachers, they don’t want to do it, but once I took them off the tax break, everyone now wanted to become a teacher because you’re earning 25% more immediately.

“Then I added N10, 000 as allowances in the urban areas and N15, 000 in the rural areas so some were okay to go work in the rural areas. Then I now asked them, every two years I must recertify you. So I got the University of Ibadan to come up with a programme where, every two years, you take an exam. If you flunk that exam twice, you’re out.

“Then, I said if you go for an exam, like school cert, and less than 80% (students) pass, say mathematics, in the school, that maths teacher has to go. That is where accountability comes in. To me, there are no bad students, there are bad teachers because teaching is personal and you need to interface.

“Nationally, you’ve got to look at a curriculum that’s functional. You don’t have to think hard; just go to Germany and adopt their own curriculum, that’s all. Train the teachers to work with that curriculum, even the Chinese are adopting that curriculum, it’s very practical. And you know that the world we’re advancing into rapidly is digital, so coding. By the time you get to the equivalent of SS3, you know how to code. That’s how it works.