The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) and private school owners in Lagos State have expressed their readiness to cooperate with the Lagos State government on its plan to start enforcing a mandatory completion of six years primary education for all pupils who want to secure admission to Junior Secondary Schools (JSS1) in both public and private schools in the state.
They noted that the policy had been in practice for many years across other states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, and that it is a welcome development if Lagos is now toeing the same line.
Chairman of the NUT, Lagos State, Mr Adesina Adedoyin; the president of Lagos chapter of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), Mr Olawale Muhammed; his League of Muslim Schools’ Proprietors (LEAMSP), Mr Fatai Raheem; and the national president of the Association of Formidable Educational Development (AFED), Mr Orji Kanu, all gave their positions in separate interviews with Tribune Education.
According to them, education is not only about classroom learning, but encompasses cognitive, psycho-motor and affective domains so as to produce a total student.
They note that truly there are so many ‘underage’ students in JSS1, especially in private schools, as many of them transited even from Primary Four to that class; but they insisted that parents are to be blamed more for the development.
According to them, parents are the ones who rush the education of their children without considering their maturity and ability to cope at the levels they are pushing them to.
They, however, differed concerning pegging the age of pupils transiting from primary school to JSS1 at 12 years minimum, saying completion of Primary Six by all children notwithstanding their physical statures and brilliance should be made mandatory.
The NUT and NAPPS, for example, believe that 12 years would be ideal for that class, while LEAMSP and AFED leaders said between 10 and 11 years should be considered for JSS1 admission once such children have completed Primary Six without enjoying double promotions at any class.
When confronted with the popular belief that it is the school owners that compromise by admitting ‘underage’ pupils into their schools, they said it is always what parents, including many in the corridors of power, want for their children that schools do most of the time.
Some parents, they claimed, withdraw their children from schools that refuse to grant their wishes to where such wishes can easily be granted.
They also said many top government officials, including education ministry, also attend graduation ceremonies of Primary Five pupils of private schools, without any sanction for such discovery.
The deputy national president of the Parent-Teacher Association of Nigeria (PTAN) and southwest coordinator of the group, Chief Adeolu Ogunbanjo, admitted that truly many parents should be blamed for the ‘underage’ admission, but he said the plans by government to now enforce the compulsory completion of primary six before transiting to secondary school is a welcome development.