Education, widely regarded as the best legacy, has provided a nation with the ingredients of socio-political and economic development from time immemorial.
Not only development, it avails a generation the impetus to seek the unknown, the courage to question the oppressive and the audacity to try the new and innovative. As the world continues to metamorphose, accompanied by new challenges, the tools and methods of learning have evolved overtime.
In the 21st century, the basic tool for teaching and learning has shifted to technology which arguably is the best invention of mankind in his whole time of existence.
The role of these 21st century tools in educating the secondary school students who are likened to the ‘middle child’ of the ‘education family’ is the point of discussion at the 15th anniversary of the New Nigeria Foundation (NNF) held at the Four Point Sheraton Hotel, lagos.
The event, tagged ‘making secondary school education relevant for the 21stcentury student’ drew heavyweights in the academics, from the nooks and crannies of the society, in all levels of educational system.
As highlighted by the keynote speaker, Prof. Abiola Lanre Awosika, gone were those days when learning takes the routine classroom teaching process.
The classrooms today which does not necessarily have to be a structure need to be interactive, engaging and make learning fun for the students.
The students she noted have gone ‘far ahead’ of the teachers with the availability of technology and teachers must go the extra mile to cope with the situation and remain tangent with the new technological life.
“Students today live digital every day. They use internet, text messaging, social networking and multimedia fluiding in their lives outside of their school and they expect a parallel level of technology opportunity in their academic lives. There is a disconnect between the ways students live and the way they learn and students engagement ultimately suffers. That is the gap that a 21st century teacher needs to fill.”
Still on technology, she said that teachers ‘need to be where the students reside which is the social network. ‘Make teachings available to them on this platform. You can organize group discussions or make them answer question in online study groups.’
On the role of the teachers as the major stakeholder, she highlighted integrated and interdisciplinary approach to learning-you are not only teaching mathematics or biology, you are building a whole person, global classrooms, adaptation to changes and 21st century schools aimed at teaching and research as the roles of a modern teacher.
She said “In order to teach in the 21st century, teachers and administrators need to cultivate and maintain the students’ interest by showing how the knowledge they teach applies in real world.”
In corroboration, the founder of New Nigeria Foundation, Dr. Pascal Dozie (CON) said that education is the driver of the economy without which a nation cannot survive.
“As we celebrate our 15 years of existence, we have chosen the path of education as a means of supporting Nigeria in its drive towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) because we believe that education is the key driver of the economy. Regardless of the wealth of a nation, only through education can it harness wealth to the fullest.”
Earlier, the Managing Director of New Nigeria Foundation (NNF), Prof. Femi Ajibola had noted that the organisation have lived up to the objectives of its founders and will continue to do more in the drive towards a New Nigeria.
The programme also featured a panel of discussion comprising of Prof. Francis Adesina, Dr. Muyiwa Bamgbose, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo and Ms. Igho Pearl Ugbobor.
The panel deliberated on various issues and mapped solutions for the ‘rotting Nigerian educational system.’
They suggest the erasure of the university/polytechnic dichotomy, clamoured for more technological inclusiveness in the education system, enforce a prospecting entrepreneurial training in secondary schools and public/private partnership aimed at the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).