The free and compulsory education policy of the Akwa Ibom State Governor Chief Godswill Akpabio’s is unarguably a welcome expectation by the citizens as it received commendations from within and outside the state because of the anticipated help it will offer to reduce the burden faced by parents.
The policy was also expected to afford children, not only indigenes of Akwa Ibom State, but every child resident in the state the opportunity to go to school so as to become useful and very responsible citizens in future in Nigeria.
The free and compulsory primary and secondary schools education policy by the Akwa Ibom state government demands among other things, provision of enough public primary and secondary schools that are evenly and adequately well distributed to cater for the number of pupils and students within the primary and secondary schools age, respectively. Observably, there appears to be less number of public primary and secondary schools, leading to overpopulation of pupils and students in public schools, hence resulting in classes being overcrowded.
Moreover, the available public primary and secondary schools in the state seem not to be evenly distributed spatially. The situation has brought about difficulties in many within the primary and secondary schools age brackets being able to secure admission in public schools.
Above all, the formation of character is the subject to education”. Education, therefore is an instrument for development and social change, capable of promoting a progressive, peaceful, and united nation (Okon and Israel, 2016).
Families are the first, primary and deciding factor in educating-socializing each person. It is through families that people can learn the standards, values approved by the society. Families are the first human group, which people are raised, looked after, educated and grown up. During childhood, children live in families and learn a lot by observing and teaching, and know what is wrong or right, should or shouldn’t. In Akwa Ibom State families, fathers and mothers play the most important role in educating children. Fathers symbolize intelligence, will, and family discipline to unite children-especially sons. Mothers who are often careful, close to children every day, find out and timely shape misleading, and better at raising children lifestyle. With tender and tactful attitude, mothers convert, persuade and teach children to love even when they grow up.
At infancy, families are the first socialized environments of a child. Shortly after the birth, newly- born babies are inclined to the surroundings and begin the acquisition. The senses such as ears, eyes, mouth and skin of the child show the feeling of hearing, sight, eating, drinking, cold and heat, etc. The care of family members (dad, mum), namely feed, bathe, get dressed, hold, etc. and the way they take care of such as regular hours for sleep and meal, accustom children to eating foods beside mother milk has helped children get into the habits. At this period, families are almost the only and very important socialized environments to children.
Free and Compulsory education in Akwa Ibom State
The concept of free and compulsory education in Akwa Ibom State was in introduced by the former Governor of the State Chief (Dr) Godswil Obot Akpabio. Free education means the establishment of various kinds of schools and expansion of school curriculum to make each child develop according to his or her ability, age and interest. It includes the establishment and provision of library facilities, technical and vocational equipment, recruitment and retention of qualified and adequate man power. It means tuition free; free feeding, free books, free accommodation, free transportation, uniform and other personal needs of the learners. Free education entails the removal of every socio-cultural impediment to education. The sum total of all these, makes education free. The partial implementation of the above can never qualify the system as free because the presence of any one of the above constitutes constraint to the child’s access to education. (Amaele, 2001)
In other hand, Compulsory education refers to a period of education that is required of all people and is imposed by government. Depending on the country, this education may take place at a registered school (schooling) or at home (homeschooling). Compulsory education involves both the duty imposed upon parents by law to see that their children receive instruction, and the prerogative of every child to be educated.
THE ROLE OF FAMILY IN THE FREE AND COMPULSORY EDUCATION PROGRAMME IN AKWA IBOM STATE
Parents are examples to their children, whether they want to be or not children are especially susceptible to examples, having a natural tendency to imitate. This imitative trait in children makes it imperative for parents and guardians of students to instill discipline by example since young ones tend to gravitate in the direction of the moral standard they observe in those whom they look up to. Moreover, studies have generally revealed that children raised by abusive parents often grow into adults who are abusive themselves. Also, where children left on the loose without proper parental supervision, it often reflects in a lack of respect for societal restrains. A students without proper sexual orientation therefore sees no need why his sexual urge should not be satisfied, even if same means gratifying such by violating the bodily integrity of a young maid, or indeed any woman for that matter.
The parents are expected to teach their children moral virtues and correct response to reality through parental love. According to Ekpo (2003) describes the family as a home where the husband, wife and children live together in peace, love and harmony for the Lord and for each other. It is family that provides the ideal environment for the children to receive the necessary training given to receive the necessary training given to them by the parents. Some families are organized while others are disorganized. Isichei (1996) stated that, organized family can successfully achieve the inculcation of values to the children while family disorganization immensely contributes to indiscipline. This disorganization may be viewed in form of divorce, separation, desertion and gross parental neglect.
So many things are happening in most of our families. In some families, economic hardship, lack of trust between the husband and the wife, among others have driven couples into divorce or separations. Most children from these types of home end up as delinquents and as adult criminals. Such children do not grow up in the atmosphere of warmth and trust. It is believed that what the child becomes his personality development has a bearing with his family background and upbringing in schools. On a cursory observation of our urban streets today, one easily finds that most of our young boys parade themselves as motor touts instead of being in school or help their parents at home in domestic chores. Conversely, our young girls are no exception, instead of them being in school, they are on the streets and club houses looking for men to give them ride and buy things for them (Ekpo, 2000). Nevertheless, a visit to places like hotels, bars, parks, motels and so on will reveal the number of young people engaged in one nefarious activity or another.
Delinquent behaviour is also a problem of our communities, the nature and degree may differ (Inyang, 2004). Our rural societies were known for mechanical solidarity (Durkheim, 1950) or what Ferdinand Tonnies would call Germischaft relations, (1963). A kind of relationship that is person, informal, traditional and primary homogenous. A community free from crime and other anti-social activities is characterized by dominant parental influence on children through socialization. The contrary is however the case study, villages are becoming a ghost of their former selves. The functions of the rural communities are no longer upheld, parents no longer care about what their children are into, or what group or association they belong. It is common to see some male and female children leave their parents homes and return to the homes days after wards, yet no question is raised as to tie where about. The prevalence of cult groups like “Dey well” or “Dey bam” and Akaba groups like leaves a big question mark on the moral standing of our rural communities. Several researches have been carried out to determine the cause of this social problem which has eaten deep into the fabrics of our societies.
Some scholars such as Lambrosso have stressed biological characteristics of individuals such as hereditary, body type, glandular imbalance and intelligence are being responsible for delinquent behaviours while others such as Bowlby, have emphasized the family background such as disorganized or broken homes as the cause of students delinquencies. (Haralamboos and Healed, 2001: 408).
The role of father and mother
Each family is a cell of society. Many families make a society. The good families bring good societies, so any societies pay attention to strengthen families. This is a long-standing and relatively common concept in Vietnam from the past to the present. In the past, families are responsible for training, perfecting and developing personalities for families members.
Therefore, educating children is the most important thing for parents to have a respectable family. That is the father responsibility-take care of the family, have a sense of responsibility, be a model, just with prestige. The whole family must respect the father power in the family. In educating children, fathers must be strict, quiet but right, fair and decisive, loving but not cheeky, or let them do whatever they like. Mothers play a very important role in educating children but in another way: educating with love, tenderness. Strict fathers make children frightened, tender mothers make them affectionate, from which children neither dare nor have the heart to do the wrong things.
Parent involvement in early childhood education can extend the experiences that a child has in the classroom to real-world activities that happen in the home. A parent who understands what their child is working on at preschool has a better sense of their child’s competency and which areas they need to work on to improve confidence and ability.
One of the most difficult challenges for early childhood educators is figuring out how to better engage parents in their child’s learning. By establishing good lines of communication between your child care center and parents, as well as making a strong effort to involve parents as an important partner in their child’s education, you can make a positive impact on their learning ability.
Akpabio, G. O. (2008). An address presented by the Executive governor of Akwa Ibom state on the occasion of the International Literacy day celebration, held Tuesday, 21 October 2008. At Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria.
Government of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria. (2014). Projected Population 2007-2015. Ministry of Economic Development (p. 11), Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.
Ibia, A. J. (2006). Principal’s maintenance practice and the state of educational facilities in secondary schools in Akwa Ibom State (Unpublished Master’s Thesis, University of Uyo, Uyo).
Okon, U. A., & Israel, E. E. (2016). Influence of free and compulsory education on the quality of Basic education in Nigeria. International Journal of Education Benchmark, 3(1), 81-90.
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Peter Hezekiah Lawson (Sir Pee). The CEO of Sir Pee Integrated Services and www.libraryguru.com and www.projectvilla.com.ng. A reputable researcher, ICT Instructor and a publisher of many research works in Education.