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Doctrines & Morals
 
 
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THE SCHOOL, A SEEDBED FOR HUMAN FORMATION

I GREW UP IN THE Eastern part of Nigeria. When I was in elementary school; at Handmaids Infant Jesus, Awka, we used to have creative work whereby each student is required to produce any house-hold items like broom, pots, television etc. Though a science student in the high school, we only visited the physics and chemistry laboratory few months to any examination. The laboratory equipment was not enough for the students. Our teachers made us understand that the students are more than their income and not within their capability to handle. This seemed like a challenge for the slow students who struggled to understand some lectures.

After my secondary education, as providence would have it, I got admission to study philosophy in a private Catholic University; Dominican Institute of Philosophy, Ibadan. Having spent four years of rigorous school activities in the school, here am I on a cold silent night, writing and trying to endorse the activities of private universities.

Rev. Fr. Prof. Anthony Akinwale O.P defined school as a seedbed for the formation of a human person. It is not surprise to see today in the nooks and crannies of our country the proliferation of schools, especially private institutions. Private university education in Nigeria first kicked off in 1999 during the President Obasanjo administration and since then, there are established licensed private universities which are already more than the number of federal institutions in the country.

Private universities are not operated by governments, although they may have government interference. This is so because they may be subjected to government regulation. This is in contrast to public universities and national universities. According to Wamae, private university is that university which is not receiving grants out of public fund.

Advantages of private universities

Alternative to public university: With the rise in demand of University admissions seekers in the country, private university serve as a reduction facilitators in the over-population of some institution. Private universities have created alternatives to candidates who are seeking for admission into higher institutions. It gave room for secondary school levers to easily further their education.

Controlling Class Sizes: Controlling class size is a defining characteristic of many private universities. Private universities generally admit a small number of students each academic year. As a result of smaller class sizes, teachers can spend more time ensuring that students understand the material. This enables the students to interact with their fellow student and teachers. This makes personal connections and relationship to be possible and easier. It also gives the students some feelings of belonging to a community.

Greater class participation: Students who are less interactive in large groups might find it interesting to respond in a small group, and even more intimately when it has to do with a classroom setting. By so doing, they are well able to interact efficiently and easily learn from their teachers and class mates. Smaller student groups also promote more intense class discussions, and a greater performance amongst students.

More teacher time: Students at private universities have more opportunity to engage their teachers by asking them questions. Teachers often have the opportunity of knowing each student by their names, of knowing their capability and quality time to help the slow learners. Students therefore are less likely to feel isolated and anonymous and can build stronger relationship with their teachers.

Lecturers’ regularity: In the private universities, the lecturers’ regularity to lecture is quite checkmated unlike the public universities where lecturers miss classes at will. This helps the student to be up-to-date with the school curriculum, learn to make good use of time table anywhere and also have time for extracurricular activities.

Character Formation: Students receive proper formation of character in private universities than in public ones. This is because more attention is given to private university students than that of the public. Such formation is fostered owing to the fact that every private university seeks unique and universal recognition, good name and all-round advancement.

Quality Education: Compared to the public school system in Nigeria and in many countries abroad, a private school education is far superior because of constant healthy competitions. Smaller enrollment and staff allow private schools to focus on every aspect of students’ lives. Again, private school counselors can focus on helping students academically. Besides, such private institutions are provided with resource personnel for effective and efficient contributions of diverse natures.

No delay of Students: Students from private schools are more likely to graduate from a university without delay and with good grades. Unlike students of other universities that are delayed due to teacher’s strike or student unrest, in private universities such issues are solved without interference with the school programs.

Dedicated and well paid teachers: In general, private schools are more focused and dedicated to the education of children. Teachers in private schools often earn more and can be more dedicated when working with parents who are equally dedicated to their children.

Conclusion

It is worthy to note that, the choices we make today, often determine what our tomorrow will be. Education is a necessary tool for the formation of children and the development of a nation. Taiwo Awoniyi noted that “the end product of education is to make an individual of good character in all things.” Education is something one cannot even finish paying for, because it is in the school that children undergo life’s formation. It is also the school that helps in the nurturing and channeling of young talents. Therefore, the right choice for higher education is a school that fits the student’s psychological needs and an informative path for their future career goals. As future leaders, our children must be well equipped spiritually, morally and academically so as to meet the challenges of different socio-political and religious sphere of the modern world.

-PASCHAL CHISOM OBI

SCHOENSTATT FATHERS, IBADAN

 


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