I read some shocking comments from stakeholders who typically should be the ones ensuring that policies are followed thoroughly.
The national education policy stipulates that a pupil should complete his or her Basic Six at the primary school level before proceeding to the junior secondary school BUT an increasing number of parents are conniving with owners of some schools to violate the policy.
Where do we get our ideas from? Read this comment from a school administrator. "The decision to allow a child to complete Basic Six class lay with the parent. If a child is mature enough to get into secondary school; the parents may go ahead. And if the child has successfully covered his entire syllabus at end of Basic Five, he should be allowed into secondary school".
“What goes on in Basic Six class is revision and exam preparations. However, if a child isn’t physically mature to enter secondary school after Basic Five, then the parents should allow him complete Basic Six. Maturity is the key word here. I believe a child should be at least 10 years old before he or she can go to secondary school. One extra year would not harm the child. Rather, it would benefit the child".
Dear ma, did you say 10 years old? I have seen 8-9 year olds entering secondary school just as you may have seen many of them too here in Nigeria. A few of them may fare well but their peers certainly catch up with them in the future. The curriculum researchers and developers understand that the implication of an age benchmark for entry into JSS 1 is key to achieving high results. No wonder the 'half-baked' scenario continues to thrive.
What does Erik Erikson's psychosocial theory teach us? Children between ages 7-11 are at a stage called the 'Industry vs Inferior'. It is at this stage that children are busily learning how to be competent or productive OR feel inferior and are unable to do anything. His next stage is the 'adolescent' stage which starts at 11 ( the age where secondary school should begin ). Erik called it the 'Identity vs Role Confusion', where questions such as 'Who am I?' begins to be asked. They establish sexual, ethnic and career identities OR are confused what role to play. You might say, 'but it is only a year or two earlier'- those years are crucial in growth. It could simply change a girls menstrual cycle and a boy's sexual orientation.
So, why are those found guilty of these acts helping to breed confusion in their children instead of confidence through early forceful entry? It is so shameful that some parents are participating in forging birth certificates just to enter secondary school earlier? A child I know has 3 different ages, one she gives to her teachers, another to her classmates and then the real age to closer family ties! It won't be kind to expect her to be a truthful person in the future.
You find that with the 'true' mature learner, the process of education is less stressful and better decisions are taken as a result of achieving a well adjusted social behavior alongside biological changes. I know that the younger a person was during my school age years, the higher their chances of being muddled up.
It is a fact that a tiny percentage of human beings are geniuses and education policies are formed with a populace in mind. Learning isn't only a cognitive process; it is equally emotional, social, psychological and physical.