189th Inaugural Lecture Series

189th Inaugural Lecture Series

The 189th inaugural lecture series of the University Of Benin was held at the  Akin Deko Auditorium Ugbowo Campus on 18 TH May 18, 2017,  Present at the event were the vice chancellor of the university represented by DVC Academic prof E.P Iribhogbe, the DVC administration Prof. Ehirobo, the school Liberian Dr Evelyn Idiodi , Deans Directors, professor, Emeritus Professors and top government functionaries and visiting Vice-chancellor.

The lecture which witnesses the unprecedented attendance had the Topic:“attaining the milestone without doing the mile: the burden of the educational administrator in managing Nigerian education crisis for quality education” by Professor (Mrs.) Felicia Ihuaritaobi Ofoegbu, a professor of educational administration Which was the tenth in the Department of Educational Studies and Management, the fifth in Educational Administration and the twenty-second in the Faculty of Education. This lecture, therefore, became necessary to look beyond the edge of the inadequacies and seek reasonable explanations of the emerging crisis in

the ever receding quality in the Nigerian education system with a view to suggesting remedial measures for the situation. She said Education enables the human being to understand and evaluate the totality of his environment, the earth, and the universe. God said to man “be fertile and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it / take possession of the world and conquer it” (Genesis 1:28). This has been achieved through education in its various forms, be they literary, 

technological, scientific, artistic and even verbalizations. The influence of education on a better understanding of culture and traditions and the escape with freedom from primitive beliefs and practices needs no emphasis; it is just formidable. The role of the Administrator is to ensure that policies that have been enacted and handed down are faithfully implemented. In the process, managerial exigencies may call for adaptations and adjustments and strategic rethinking that

will improve or redirect the implementation of the policies concerned and so achieve the goal specified. The lowered quality is ascribed to the failure of education managers, since such

decline in quality is against the national expectations the highest policy makers and planners have no hesitations also in laying the standards attained if described as low, at the feet of educational administrators.

It was also a well-accepted fact that the organs of Government and agencies of  Education, in particular, lay down not only the policies but also the actions to take to achieve the goals of the policies and plans. Thus the actual implementation of the tenets by educational Administrators is at all times under the direct control of the Government. Nigeria has a well laid out Policy on Education and the ‘modus operandi’ to achieve the desired goals. What then goes wrong or what has gone

wrong to warrant the chorus of lamentations over the educational system. The quality is “abysmally low”; “it is finished”; “it is beyond redemption”; “our graduates are of poor quality”; “they are not marketable or fit for the labour market”. These are chanted even by those who have directly contributed to the poor state. Everyone including the policy makers feigns ignorance and act Pontius Pilate even with full knowledge of the situation, The Teacher is firmly rooted as the epicenter of the education house. All imperfections are imputed to the teacher. So much is expected of the teacher by the society but unfortunately in the expectations of the Society the expectations of the teacher are forgotten or at best attract little or no attention.She said the undervaluation of the teacher has been long standing and has been the subject of debates, suggestions, and studies. What the teachers need and what is equitable to the arduous task of giving children the education and preparation necessary for gainful life and its

interactions is the attainment of such positions within the school classroom or lecture theater not as a concession or compensation but as due recognition and remuneration for work done. In spite of the many graduate teachers churned out from the faculties of Education of the Universities and equally important specialized Universities of Education, the quality of Education will remain unsatisfactory until the permanent recognition of teachers at all levels becomes the envy of other professions and workers in general.

Establishing Universities seems to have become an industrial concern and a lucrative one; in particular for the private sector. It is a common experience to encounter a signpost in the middle of “nowhere” pointing invariably not to an industrial layout but to a new university.

Nigerian communities have become involved even to obsession point in the quest for locating universities in their towns and villages. The result is uncontrolled, rapid and unplanned expansion in the number of universities Consequently staff is borrowed on a regular basis between institutions, a situation which has given permanence to the engagement of adjunct academic staff. The adverse effect of the reliance and perpetuation of this system of  “adjunction” on quality needs no imagination. She recommends that Having examined the Nigerian Education sector from within, one might in error attribute its rather disappointing performance in terms of quality education and continued the decline of its quality to the perennial inadequacy of supporting financial resources. However, a further study of the situation would tend to ask why the continued lowering of the quality of educational achievement given the very superior human resources which are available for the prudent

management of what is made available as funds and related materials. A confused state emerges leaving the education system hopping from one crisis to another.

In conclusion, she said Though the gross inadequacy in capacity and preparation of teachers may be at the centre but to put the situation in a better perspective one might lean on that Bini adage that states that one does not use more than one chewing stick in the mouth at the same time “Aivio Ukpakon Eva, Yuna Kpe”. The result is utter confusion and misdirected efforts; each stick going its own way and out of control. Indeed, the Nigerian education system indeed operates like a mouth with more than one chewing stick at the same time – the stick of the abolition of TC11 (Teachers’ grade Two) in preference for NCE (National Certificate of Education) in primary school but without primary school subjects in the NCE curriculum The

stick of NCE products who decline to teach in the primary school, not for the remediable deficiency pointed out above but for reasons of dignity.

The vice chancellor represented by DVC (Academic) prof. E.P Iribhogbe appreciated the lecturer for the research work and a well-delivered lecture. He thereafter decorated Prof (Mrs) Felicia Ihuaritaobi Ofoegbu with a medal to usher her into the honor roll of the University of Benin Inaugural Lecturer’s

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