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Covenant University expels about 126 students for not attending a church service - a case of a punishment too severe?

I can't help but blog about this because it brings a lot of deep concerns home to me. I have a colleague whose child was suspended for a session from  the same school for dressing 'inappropriately' even though she was found all covered up with a scarf.

Schools are often within their rights to punish students who refuse to conform to the school's code of conduct which may include dress codes, spiritual commitments, banned food and items etc- Some student's may expectantly find some status quo more difficult to keep.

However, expulsion as a means of punishment has always come across a bit too extreme to me except in rare cases. It is the hallmark of a school to educate and give a hopeful future. I find that most of the motives behind these punishments are met to the contrary, doing more harm than good generally. There are too many questions to be asked. The desire to learn tends to be doused as an aftermath of explosion. So consider this;
  • Was the so called 'grievous' offence warranting of the psychological and emotional harm to students and what image does it leave of the institution? 
  • Is this the best measure to embark on in molding the student towards developing a responsible yet confident behavior-does it make them conform?
  • If the student was caught in a wrongful act, expulsion may adversely change the course of the student's life suddenly. Will it not will surely bring additional pain, fear and worry for the future?
I sincerely think that many of reasons students get expelled from school are not worth an expulsion.....especially for "not attending" a church service!

I am aware that the students in a school such as the Covenant University are aware of the rules that must be followed. I'm only wondering if the 'Deity' whom is to be served wouldn't have reacted differently in the face of such a situation. After all, it has been asked.... "Let the one who has committed no sin cast the first stone!" 

I rest my case!

Read full reasons for expulsion here.


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to The Learning Craft Readers!

I have been away for quite some time.....very odd for a blogger but it was for very special reasons, many of which you will all be privy to know as they develop. My absence was very much needed for the blog. Well, I'm back now and yes...it is the time of the year when we all sit back, evaluate our year and make resolutions we hope to stand by! It is also the time when we gather as a family and give love. Children love this season not only because of the gifts received but also because of the love and warmth of family time it comes with. However, don't forget to leave that gift under the Christmas tree now....(smile)! 

2012 has been a year of interesting events for education in Nigeria, many of which we laughed, cried and hoped for change! It was the birth year of the blog and the birth of beautiful dreams to come true in 2013. I'm looking forward to a better year for education in Nigeria! I promise to champion the causes closest to my heart and keep holding on to the dream that we can practice the minimum standards of education in its totality in Nigeria to the grassroots.

So, with a grateful and thankful heart, I wish all Learning Craft readers the merriest of 'Christmases' and a budding/fruitful year ahead. To all my followers, contributors and readers, I specially say thank you. It is because we believe in change collectively as Nigerians; that I am convinced that we will attain better results for education in Nigeria.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Do we need Teacher Assistants across all primary classes?

In my years of teaching, I cannot underestimate the importance of Teacher Assistants. Having taught in a school where it is not practiced, I have always known that the knowledge being passed on would have a higher percentage of success if there were a teacher assistant in each of those classrooms. It is even somewhat ludicrous to see how effective teaching and learning in primary schools can be without teacher assistants especially in Lower Primary classes from grades 1 - 3.

Cutting edge schools that are applying effective modern practices have chosen to employ increasing numbers of Teacher Assistants. The reason is to support the delivery of quality teaching and a modern curriculum. It is encouraging to note the ample evidence from research and inspection that many teacher assistants are helping to raise standards in the classrooms in which they work.

The essence of the successful deployment of these assistants lies in the nature of the support that they can provide. They include:

• support for the pupil

• support for the teacher

• support for the curriculum

• support for the school.

Teacher Assistants help to:

  • Support classroom management and assist with general administration
  • Help manage pupil behaviour.
  • Support pupils’ health, safety and emotional/ social development.
  • Establish relationships with learners.
  • Help pupils to access the curriculum.
  • Support the development and effectiveness of work teams.
  • Work with other professionals
  • Liaise effectively with parents

The essence of the job is supporting children to learn under the guidance of a teacher. The sort of tasks will vary from school to school and even from teacher to teacher depending upon the needs of individual pupils and /or classes. The tasks could therefore include:
  • Supporting small groups in the classroom – especially literacy and numeracy. This is done to reach all weak students and to ensure understanding of all concepts taught
  • Working with individuals or small groups outside the classroom when appropriate. This includes ensuring safety in classes.
  • Preparing and modifying learning materials
  • Supporting individuals to keep attention on the lesson – monitoring behaviour to help keep them “on task”.
     There you go! How can we "really" teach effectively without Teacher Assistants? Keeping it real.


    Inspector Gadget - Why, Oh Why?

    Some public office holders are impressive! In October 2012, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State announced the removal of 41 zonal inspectors and chief inspectors of education and local government education officers over non-performance and negligence of duty in continuation of the on-going sanitization of the state education sector. The decision, according to him, was the outcome of a continuing performance audit. He even went on to demote the Vice-Principal of a particular school for his incessant late coming. BRAVO Governor Adams!

    I had to go around for meetings a few days ago and I came back with very many mixed feelings. In some cases, it felt like 90% of our schools are finding it rather difficult to appreciate what education means BUT as an educator, I know that this is not entirely true and there is more than meets the eye. However, there are many schools that are waving the flag of education in spite of the challenging environment and resources they have.

    In the coming months, I hope to begin reviewing schools' standards and post ratings and I hope to involve as many Learning Craft readers. This will help in your decision taking regarding choices of schools for your children.

    The primary responsibility of Education Inspectors (individuals who are in charge of the monitoring and maintenance of Minimum Standards in Schools) according to our National Policy on Education shall be to: 

    • diffuse information about instructional materials tested and effective teaching methods; 
    • obtain information in respect of difficulties experienced by teachers in schools and institutions and further provide advisory solutions through appropriate authorities; 
    • monitor and document the overall quality of education in schools and proffer practical and positive advice; 
    • organize meetings with and workshops for teachers when necessary with a view to improving their professional competence; 
    • provide a strong sense of comradeship and professionalism among teachers. 
    Now, this sounds all fantastic but I only see Inspector Gadget's tools working...if you  get my drift!

    Where are these 'so called' inspectors? We can't afford Inspector Gadget's clumsiness in a crucial time when we must take education in Nigeria to the next level! If they have been going about your duties, many schools will not see the light of day. Children are learning under grossly non-conducive environments and parents are oblivious of the right practices as they are unaware of their rights, hence anything goes. Gosh! I have to say that I am not a great fan of the now popular saying.... 'it is well!'

    I saw schools with less-than-standard playing grounds, classrooms with incorrect specifications, windows without cross ventilation, teachers absconding classes, an immeasurable number of safety hazards and inappropriate teaching and learning practices to name a few. 

    These are not a function of lack of funds but of mismanagement, clumsiness, corruption and a general lack of maintenance on the practice of our 'minimum standards'. As worthy Inspectors/educators, the onus is on you to build and ensure a brighter future for the average Nigerian child.

    “If the teachers don’t teach, we have no future and your brief is to ensure that the teachers work and yet you failed to do that. “It’s a new Edo, everybody must be put on notice to work and justify their pay. I have a duty to remind you that when you have abandoned your job, you have also lost it.” (Adams Oshimhole to the Inspectors of education)

    Can the worthy Inspectors and their bosses (in the form of stakeholders - governors and ministries of education) please rise up to the challenge?