Prof. Yomi Akindele Oscar, Faculty of Education, Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago Iwoye, Ogun, has urged parents to ‘ talk with their children and wards, rather than ‘talk to’ them, in a bid to make them feel loved and expressive.
Akindele-Oscar stated this in an interview on the sidelines of a two-day sensitisation workshop for parents, teachers and students on the need to kick out vices in secondary schools in Nigeria.
The workshop put together by the Federal Ministry of Education, was against the backdrop of the increase in vices in schools across the country.
According to the don, who is also the director, Quality Assurance of the institution and one of the resource persons at the workshop, when parents talk with them, it boosts their ego, makes them feel and loved, thereby making them open up easily.
He added that issues relating to social vices oftentimes, were not visible, noting that they were usually done in a clandestine manner.
“So, if you are not close to these children and treat them as in, loco parentis, you may hardly know what they are up to.
“I also want to say that as parents, we must always strive to be present in the lives our children. It is is critical. This is because, if you are not present in their lives, bearing in mind that they are digital age children, who have ways of manoeuvering and hiding things, a lot of things may go wrong.
“But once you show them understanding, empathy, make them understand that they are loved unconditionally like we say in counselling, unconditional positive regard, they will be more open, more expressive about their challenges and fears.
“Through this process, we can then look at ways to provide solutions to some of these threats in our society,” he said.
The don explained that basically, issues relating to social vices in secondary school education in the country was fast becoming that of public concern.
He added that some citizens were beginning to look at issues relating to social vices with trepidation, noting that it was because of the fact that it was on the rise, rather than the other way.
According to him, the Federal Ministry of Education has taken a giant leap in the right direction, by organising the programme, as it is never too late to arrest any malady.
“The Federal Government has done the right thing putting this programme together, to try and find an antidote to the issues of social vices in Nigeria and that is exactly why all the education stakeholders in the country, the parents, teachers, students and Federal Education ministry officials, are here gathered today.
“We are to brainstorm and find solutions and make effective recommendations that will nip in the board, issues relating to social vices in secondary schools in Nigeria.
“We should commend the Federal Government for admitting that there serious issues in our secondary schools and of course, they are of many dimensions.
“If we keep thinking that it is too late to address the issue, they begin to fester like cancer. It grows bigger and bigger. So even if we see it as coming a bit late, it is still timely, because from the various shades of opinions shared so far, especially by the students, alot has been learnt.
“I personally want to suggest too that this kind of sensitisation workshop should be held periodically, as it will go a long way in making the society a better place for all.
“I am happy that on the 21st too, this workshop will be replicated for all Federal Unity Colleges in zones like the middle belt, Northeast, Northwest and North central,” he said.
Dr Idowu Olabisi Akinbamijo, Chairman of zonal chairmen, of principals of all Federal Unity Colleges in the country, identified cofusion as one of the factors influencing social vices among secondary school students in the country.
She noted that a lot of the students were not sure of what they wanted in life, hence they went about picking up whatever vices, from their peers.
“This workshop put together at the instance of the department in charge of secondary schools in the Federal Ministry of Education is laudable because the trend is becoming worrisome, more so, when the parents are always not available to guide them.
“So, it is what they pick here and there on social media, their peers and the environment they find themselves that they imbibe.
“So, what we have now is the result of the failure of the system in which the students find themselves and if we must correct it, if we must get a headway out of it, then, the society that produced this type of environment, has to take responsibility.
“Parents too, gave to become more involved, collaborate with the school and teachers more responsive to the students that are being reactive. The guidance and counselling sections in our colleges also have to be more active and alive to their responsibilities.
“We have not come to the point where we will say all hopes are lost. We are just having challenges which we will overcome if we begin to act in a way that we will say ‘no to all forms of vices’ that we find around us,” she stated.
Mr David Omada, Director/Principal, Federal Science and Technical College (FSTC) Yaba, the host institution of the workshop, said the workshop attracted principals of Federal Unity Colleges from the South-South, South West and South East.
He added that the workshop also had officials and students from the private and government-owned secondary schools in Lagos in attendance.
According to Mr Omada, one of the most common vices identified in secondary schools is that of bullying, adding that this comes in forms of extortion, stealing or fagging.
“So, this meeting will enable parents to understand the vices we face in these schools. Parents and teachers will also understand the magnitude, effect and implementation of such vices in our colleges.
“I expect that at the end of the workshop, there will be an improvement in what was obtained and the society will be better for it,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Sunday Ameh, Chairman, King’s College Lagos Parent Teacher Association (KCPTA) said that the workshop was an eye opener, adding that there was still a lot of work to be done, regarding the children.
“Today, I have learnt a lot from what some of the students at the workshop espoused. The workshop has indeed opened my eyes to a lot of things. I must say this is a programme worth the while. I wish we had been having such years before.
“Perhaps, the erosion of values in our schools would not have gotten this far. Be that as it may, I am going back to my school to educate my parents and students and to liaise with the school management, discuss further and work out means on correcting some of the anomaly,” he said.