The Federal Government appears set for the review of the Secondary School curriculum introduced in 2011.
Stakeholders are worried that graduates of secondary education in Nigeria lack employable and requisite skills to function well in the society as such artisans and other skilled workers are imported into the country from neighbouring countries.
Newsmen gathered that even though the Federal Government had approved the mandatory inclusion of trade subjects in the secondary school curriculum and entrepreneurship education in the tertiary education curriculum as part of efforts to bridge the skill gap, most of the schools in the country lack competent teachers and instructional materials for the effective handling of the 37 trade subjects.
Executive Secretary of National Senior Secondary Education Commission (NSSEC), Dr Benjamin Abakpa, however, said his commission was determined to reverse the trend.
He disclosed that the Federal Government is already in the process of reviewing curricula being used for teaching and learning in secondary schools in the country.
He revealed that the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) had been directed to work with other relevant agencies of the government to undertake the review of the curriculum, adding that NSSEC is one of the agencies collaborating with NERDC to achieve this goal.
Abakpa spoke at a three-day sensitisation and advocacy programme organised for education stakeholders in the North-Central geopolitical zone, in Benue State.
Executive Secretary of NERDC, Ismail Junaidu, had recently confirmed the development when he stated that there was the need to restructure, realign and revise the present curriculum which was introduced in 2011 to meet the current global developmental challenge.
“Ten years after the introduction of the current SSE curriculum, you will agree with me that times have changed, the world has moved on new ideas have been created. Knowledge has advanced, new goals have been set, new skills have emerged, and new technologies have been developed.
“The only way we can catch up with these changes and create opportunities for our children to acquire new skills and competencies is to provide them with the requisite learning experiences through the revision of the curriculum.”
According to him, the goal of the council is not only to develop a curriculum that meets the needs of the present, but “one that will also enable us to create the future that we desire as a people.”
Speaking further, the NSSEC boss said the commission had been mandated to revamp the senior secondary education system to meet the global minimum standard, and had mapped out realistic strategies to achieve the target.
“The NSSEC vision statement centres around equipping our senior secondary school students with quality knowledge grounded in life skills for global competitiveness.
“The NSSEC is also mandated to support senior secondary schools in the provision of an excellently balanced education system that produces well-rounded, confident, intelligent and responsible youths who are poised to fulfil their potential for meaningful national development,” he said.
Abakpa noted that “the Act establishing NSSEC prescribes national minimum standards for secondary education throughout Nigeria, manages the national secondary education fund and other matters that are connected therewith.”
He said, to address the problem of half-baked graduates from the system, one of the steps being taken is to partner with NERDC to provide a well-reviewed and balanced curriculum that will stimulate quality learning while encouraging students to meet academic challenges through critical thinking skills.
Abakpa also solicited the support of the World Bank in the area of skills enhancement for Senior Secondary School teachers in the various 37 trade subjects as part of efforts to address the challenge of the skills gap in secondary education.
He expressed optimism that the strategies being adopted would help tremendously in addressing some of the challenges confronting the senior secondary education.
He equally sought the support of all the stakeholders to collaborate with NSSEC to ensure that the lost glory of the senior secondary education is fully restored.
He explained that “the Commission is saddled with the responsibility, among others, to set minimum standards and ensure that secondary education meets the needs of the country as well as global competitiveness.”
Abakpa said the commission was embarking on sensitisation and advocacy across the country to carry all the stakeholders along in the project.
He also revealed that the commission was making an effort to develop an accurate database for all the senior secondary schools across the country to enable it to plan well for them.
Meanwhile, the deputy governor of Benue State, Benson Abounu, in his remarks, applauded the Federal Government for resuscitating the law that established NSSEC and charged the commission to render its services for all and not be selective in its work.
He encouraged the leadership of NSSEC to ensure that its mandate of repositioning the senior secondary education is actualised.