FORMER Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt.-Honorable Dimeji Bankole, has blamed Nigerian teachers for the current trend of poor leadership, lack of character and economic decline in Nigeria, warning that the future may be bleak for Nigerian youths.
He also faulted the failure of the Ogun State government to harness the huge potential in the higher institutions existing in the state to produce the best hands to solve Nigeria’s problems.
Bankole expressed these views on Thursday, September 22 in Abuja while delivering the 2nd Distinguished Guest Lecture of the Registry arm of the Federal College of Education, Abeokuta, entitled ‘Teachers’ quality, Competitiveness and Employability: Defining the Roles of College Administrators and Academics’.
He said there is no reason Ogun State should not be Nigeria’s citadel of education the way the State of Boston is to the United States of America; adding that the tertiary institutions in the state have the capacity to produce the best leadership hands in all fields of endeavour.
“Our schools are inflexible and pedantic; and our teachers uninspired with the necessary skills to enhance learning and inspire creative instincts in students.
“How will our children invent and experiment if their teachers themselves are not trying new things or expanding their skills? He asked, adding that the former are impressionable and rely on the latter to demonstrate how life should be approached.”
Citing the outcome of a study conducted by economists at Harvard and Columbia universities which examined the impact of strong versus weak teachers, the former speaker said it was discovered that students taught by strong teachers performed better in their classes, were more likely to attend universities, less likely to get pregnant in their teens and earned higher wages as well as live a more accomplished life than their counterparts.
A good teacher, he said, fos,ters intellectual curiosity, cultivates inquisitive minds that seeks to innovate, shake up the status quo and are unsatisfied with ‘business as usual’.
According to him, the success of any higher institution is the character and mindset of its graduates. The mindset of the students, he said, is dependent on the input of teachers to training future employers.
On the role of college administrators in improving teacher quality, competitiveness and employability, Bankole called on the institutions to approach stakeholders in the community and create full scholarship programmes for high performing students, as well as set criteria for eligibility higher than the admission requirements for universities.
He also condemned the heavy dependence of tertiary institutions on government subventions, emphasizing rather private sponsorship, grant applications, and investment in endowments by community leaders and private businesses.
The climax of the event was the formal launch of Olumo Journal of Professional Administration and the presentation of awards to some distinguished honorees.