Who needs a foreign principal?

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Pupils on the assembly at St Augustine Primary School, Ikot Omin, Cross River State
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By Kamal Ahmed

Of the many things that we currently worry about in the education space in Nigeria today, nothing has bugged my mind more the headship of Nigerian private secondary schools by foreigners.

I remember years back when we had Indians and Ghanaian teachers come to Nigeria to take up teaching jobs.

The major reason then was short-supply of teachers in the system. As things improved, these foreigners left our shores to make room for Nigerians to take up the vacancies created by their departure.

As we got into the season of private sector participation in secondary education in Nigeria with the accompanying introduction of foreign contents to our learning materials and assessment systems, it became obvious that we will require the expertise of educators from countries that have practiced the new contents longer than we have done.

This immediately led to foreign headship of some of our secondary schools. These foreigners were also brought in ostensibly to internationalize the outlook of these schools.

Having practised foreign curriculums for over 3 decades now and with a huge population of Nigerian educators who have practiced, trained and implemented these curriculums, the need for foreign head for our schools disappeared.

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It is based on the above narrative that I am wondering today why we have some of our Nigerian private schools having foreign heads. I have struggled to find justifications for this without a relieve.

Having gone through this path for a while and having reflected deeply, I concluded that the headship of Nigerian schools by foreigners is an abberation and unjustifiable.

These are my grounds;

  1. Our immigration law bans the issuance of work permit to a foreigner for roles and jobs where we have equivalent indegenous manpower. In secondary education, we have more than enough of such indegenous equivalents. So who gave this foreigners work permits? I am aware some of them are smuggled into the country with some funny and unrelated job titles.
  2. How for instance is South African head most suitable for a Nigerian Secondary School when in his/her country, they do not implement WAEC, NECO, IGCSE, JAMB, SAT, TOELF or any of the others for which we prepare our students. They do not even speak English well. How are they best fits than Nigerians?
  3. How come Nigerians who have implemented these curricular for over 3 decades are still subjugated in favour of foreigners? How are the foreigners better?
  4. With the natural propensity of an average white person to look down on blacks, has anybody imagined the huge practice of discrimination and ill treatment of black teacher by the overrated white Principals?
    I continue to wonder why nobody is asking these questions.
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Do we need a white or foreign Principal in a Nigerian Secondary School today?

Note that most of these foreign heada are people who could not compete in their countries of origin.

They are merely shipped here for career rehabilitation. Many of them were never head of departments in their countries.

The best of Europe and America will not come here at all. Only those who cannot compete at home do.

Do we need foreign heads for our schools?


Kamal Ahmed is a school manager based in Port Harcourt.

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