Education gap: Don proposes steps in tackling issue

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By Roseline Adefaye

A don at the Covenant University, Taiwo Abioye has advocated for the narrowing of the education gap between northern and southern Nigeria to solve perennial problems bedeviling the nation.

She stated this recently at the 12th Inaugural Lecture of the institution.

In the lecture entitled “By words, they were created: The Synergy between Language, Discourse and the Media in the Construction of Realities”, Professor Abioye also identified the role of the media in ensuring the correct education and dissemination of information to the public.

In her words, “All the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are tied to education. How then do we want to achieve these lofty goals without education?

“The present problem in the North, as far as education is concerned, is a gap between the North and the South and the Federal Government needs to take decisive steps in addressing the issue.”

The Professor of Stylistics and Applied Linguistics also identified factors militating against an effective literacy level in the North as misplacement of priorities and the persistent pattern observed in government’s attitude.

“Government spends extravagantly on sports. Whereas, policies and projects (relevant to education) are poorly implemented, sometimes diverted, inadequately monitored, or even abandoned and subsequently forgotten.

“Education policies are sometimes personalized and used in scoring cheap political points or in settling scores,” she said.

According to her, the North was lagging behind in terms of education development and that had contributed to the perennial breakdown of law and order in the area.

She therefore emphasised the need for education in nation-building.

“Any country that does not educate its population is bound to fail. Education is a fundamental human right that enhances people’s ability and skill development, improves workers’ efficiency, adaptability and productivity,” she posited.

Abioye, who served as Deputy Vice Chancellor of the university for four years also proposed the establishment of a Language Development Centre within the university campus.

These, she said, would cater for the needs of users of English for specific purposes. She proposed a  collaboration between the Departments of languages and Psychology that could lead to the development of tests and assessment and culminate in the establishment of standard international English  examination within the institution.

“The Department of languages can partner the Department of Psychology because we have test and assessment experts in that department so that we can have TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam on this campus. To the best of my knowledge, there is no such centre in Ogun State. It can start from Covenant University”

She added that the suggested centre would also benefit Nigeria’s French speaking neighbours who may have to polish their spoken English. That is in addition to offering an editorial service beneficial to members of the university community and beyond.

The event was graced by the Chancellor of Covenant University and President of the Living Faith Church a.k.a. Winners’ Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo, his wife and Vice President (Education) of the Church, Mrs Faith Oyedepo, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor AAA Atayero, principal officers of the university, as well as members of staff and students.