By Guy Ahmadi
Education that does not lead the educated towards current developmental trends preparing students now for the future is a practical waste of painfully acquired financial resources.
With the high cost in fees, parents deserve to have an up-to-date teaching inculcated into their children, especially in Information Communications Technology (ICT).
Virtually everything evolves around technology. Today, one can study online from anywhere in the world and get a degree through the use of technology (with an Internet enabled device connected to the Internet).
Zoom, Skype and the likes provide a virtual classroom bringing the school closer to the student.
In Port Harcourt the Rivers State capital, there are thousands of private schools in forms of Montessori, primary and secondary levels.
Majority of them are government approved. Yet, they lack basic computer laboratory and do not have a common school website. This did not stop the state government from approving them.
One may ask, what are the measures for government to approve a private school? If the measures omit compulsorily having a computer laboratory, website and a qualified computer teacher, then such schools should not be considered for approval.
It is sad to know that many computer science graduates from many Nigerian universities cannot shut down a computer. They learn without practicing.
If our private schools cannot teach these little children computer studies at this early stage, Nigeria is setting herself up for failure now and in the future.
Every government-approved private schools must as a matter of necessity have a computer laboratory, website and at least one computer teacher.
If the school does not have a website, how will the children they teach know what a website is? You cannot give what you don’t have.
Despite the fact that parents pay high school fees, part of these still can’t be channeled to teach their children the meaning of a common website.
Some kids have not seen a computer set before let alone differentiating between a desktop computer and a laptop computer in this 21st century governed by computer technologies.
So the question is, what are these schools teaching our children?
Over the past few months, a group of young ICT enthusiast led by me gathered together with the love to effect a change in ICT approach of schools in Port Harcourt began a research called “Schools Upgrade”.
Moving from one school to another conducting research, interviews and analysis, we found out that alot of government approved private schools in the Rivers State capital have no website let alone computer laboratory or computer teacher.
When contacts were made to the owners or head teachers even to some big schools in new GRA area, we were amazed by some responses such as “we are not ready for now to have a website or computer studies”.
Others would say “we are working on it” and the most annoying of all is the statement made by majority of them that “we don’t have money for it at all”. This especially worrisome coming from a school in the highbrow GRA despite the high cost in fees were over N100,000 is paid per term for each nursery pupil.
This goes to show the massive neglect of ICT in private schools based in Port Harcourt. We have a very long way to go in our education sector in the country as a whole.
There is no job today that does not have a role of a computer. Is it as a doctor, engineer or even as a lawyer?
It is high time private schools in Nigeria (not only in Port Harcourt) began to prepare our children to know and practice the use of computer.
Those that do not have a website should immediately start building one. How can a school say it is an international school, yet it does not have a website to project herself internationally on a global stage? Where is the standard?
It is therefore a clarion call for private schools in Port Harcourt especially to embrace ICT, give our children a future and prepare them for active economic participation which is the basics of education not solely on profit making undermining the tenant of education best practice.
Knowledge is power indeed.
Guy Ahmadi Goodness writes from Port Harcourt, Nigeria