Stakeholders in the education sector have decried a situation, especially in unity schools, whereby quota system, as opposed to merit, is used as a criterion for admitting new pupils.
They made this known during the 30th-anniversary symposium of the 1982-88 set of the King’s College Old Boys Association.
The stakeholders also blamed overpopulated schools, poorly trained teachers and inappropriate administrators for the decline in the standard of basic education.
Speaking on the theme, The King’s College Conundrum: Where do we go from here?, a former Commissioner for Education in Kogi State, who is also an Officer of the Order of the Niger, Mr Sylvester Onaja, said, “What is wrong with education in Nigeria is the inability to have men of character to administer the system. Unless educationists are ministers, education will not improve in Nigeria. Today, we have an accountant for a minister. The quality of teacher training has also gone down. We don’t have quality teachers anymore.”
Suggesting a solution, Onoja, said, “What we need to do is get the idea of monetising admission out of the way. Also, if we bring back merit, as opposed to quota system, and keep the population of the schools down, the unity schools will be better for it. Quality teachers also need to be injected into the system, too.”
Insisting that the management of King’s College should go back to admitting pupils based on intelligence, the Vice-Chancellor, Federal University, Oye, Ekiti State, Prof. Kayode Soremekun, who is a member of the 1967-71 set, said, “The admission system has been tampered with. King’s College used to be an aristocracy of brains. Now, it just has the name. The college needs to go back to admission based on intelligence, not quota system, which is killing the college, to return it to its past glory.
“Despite the decadence, the brand, King’s College, still stands in superlative profile. Experiences here shaped my life. KC used to have VCs presiding over speech and prize giving ceremonies and that inspired me, today I am a VC.”
The celebrating set donated a lawn tennis court, an e-braille library for the visually impaired and a waste disposal system that could convert the school’s waste to cooking gas.
Speaking on behalf of his classmates, the founding partner of a commercial law firm, Templars, Mr Olumide Akpata, said, “We told ourselves that the school is our foster mother and the school is ours, hence, the give-back projects. The school is terminally ill and we have to revive it. If we do not make efforts to move the school forward, by the time we clock 60 years we will not meet anything to celebrate. We need plans, alternatives and main plans in case we hit a brick wall. If we can fix KC, we can fix Nigeria.”
Appreciating the donations, the President KCOBA, Alhaji Kashim Imam, said, “I am very delighted to be here because one of the best things that have happened in my life is the privilege of attending this school. I am particularly proud of the members of this set because they have done exceedingly well in their chosen fields and, more importantly, for the three projects they have donated to the school.
“We are very clear in our minds on where we should be. We want it to be the way it was more than 40 years ago. There was not more than 30 students in each class. The dormitories were not overpopulated. Nonetheless, we need to know that the FG cannot provide everything for us anymore. The 1988 set has already come to terms with that. Other sets should emulate them. It behoves us all to renovate both campuses of the college. The old boys should take an active role in getting the school back to its glory days.”