Education: Whose Responsibility?

I once attended a workshop two years ago on education advocacy and budget tracking and one of the things that fascinated me at this workshop was a scenario we had. Participants were asked, “the declining state of our education system, which is to blame? Is it the government or the teachers or the communities or the parents or the learners/students?” Each participant was asked to stand by the side of which stakeholder they felt had more of the blame. It was interesting to see that different participants stood by each of these stakeholders with a very strong argument for their choice and decision. 
 For example: those that stood by every other stakeholder, except by the government felt that there were situations where government provided and there were no commitments by the communities, teachers, parents and the learners thus, the lack of maintenance of some of the educational facilities as well as poor performances in-school by the learners. On the other hand, some of the participants blamed it on the teachers saying ’some teachers are not
committed, they hardly teach in the classrooms, they only give the children notes to write’ etc. Another set of the participants blamed it on the students. They felt that these days, the students do not read anymore and that they are carried away by activities like the social media (e.g. ‘facebooking’) and other ‘contemporary distractions’. For about four years now, I have read at different times, the declining and very poor performances of students in W.A.S.C (West African Senior Certificate) and NECO exams. This has got me pondering why this is so. I am aware of the problem of our education system however, I have wondered if the learners/students do have or take some form of responsibility for their performances? 

Looking back at that workshop I attended, I will definitely agree that the learners/students also have responsibilities towards their success. While we advocate for better government policies and budgeting towards improving the education standards, improved community engagement and ownership, quality teachers and improved teaching using child-centred methodologies, I would be thinking the learners will also put in more efforts to achieve success. 

Discipline will be the watch word to ensure that what belongs to Caesar is given to Caesar that is, the time for studies should remain for studies. Ultimately, the sustainability of our education system is a collective responsibility with every stakeholder having a role to play at different times and as the case maybe.

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