NIGERIA — Applications are likely to swell the web portal (npower.gov.ng) from today, as the Buhari administration kick-starts its “social investment programmes” with “N-Power Teach”.    By the next Sunday, I predict, the number of applications will have exceeded the 500, 000 wanted; and, by the deadline, upwards of 2million graduates will have applied.

Many have expressed reservations about other programmes, but what worries me most is “N-Power Teach” through which 500, 000 young graduates are to be engaged in teaching in public schools. If care is not taken, this will worsen an already bad situation. Will it not be better to avoid a journey that cannot be completed?

A teacher must be grounded in a language of communication. But most of today’s graduates cannot communicate in the English language – the result of education neglect over the decades. A few years ago, I dared to examine a child’s school notes and found that no sentence in her English, social studies or science notes was correct! Yet it was an “international” private school. The notes of a student in a public school were worse off, of course. A few examples of how some have murdered the English language in classrooms and misled children at an early age: “The opposite of domestic animal is indomestic animal.” “NOA stands for New Orientation Agenda.” “Photosynthesis are the effects of sunlight on plants.” “Izik Newturn and the theory of gravity…” “He told them he have stop going there…”

The fresh graduates to be hired therefore need to be trained, preferably in a writing school, even before they set foot on a classroom. A finishing school is capable of chipping off the rough edges of ill-equipped graduates and preparing them for meaningful work. I’m not sure the organisers of “N-Power Teach” have incorporated this most important training (English communication) in the computer devices the new teachers will be given. Even then, a six-week crash programme will be more useful.

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