Contents of Education

An Islamic Perspective towards Philosophy of Education

Introduction

Philosophy is the study of realities, pursuit of wisdom, and commentary on general principles of life. It is concerned with a search of eternal truth, both conceptual as well as practical. It has five areas of search – Epistemology, Metaphysics, Aesthetics, Ethics and History. The instrument used by philosophy to unearth realities or to discover truth is logic, both inductive as well deductive. Educational philosophy is a branch of general philosophy, it gains strength from epistemology. It formulates the aims and objectives or contents of education that, in turn, influence the whole learning environment, society, and future generations.

Philosophy of education is based on general principles of psychology, sociology, politics, economics, history, science, and religion. Education is dualistic phenomenon; it is static as well as dynamic. The major portion is dynamic or provisional and adjusts with the change and growth in knowledge, social structure, and civilization, while the minor but vital portion is static or eternal. We proposed that the contents of education are eternal while the application and explanation of these contents, a major portion, is dynamic. We assumed multi-disciplinary approach towards contents of education. The analysis accommodates the needs of individuals, society, and time and encompasses the cultural, social, and vocational aims of education.

Education may be formal as well as informal. The formal education is given in schools or colleges or universities, on the other hand informal education is obtained and absorbed from society and environment. Education, formal & informal, is developed and internalized in one’s personality through reflection and experience. It means all of us are learners during our lifetime. However, we are going to analyze the philosophy (aims & objectives) of formal education. Moreover, education has three levels – primary, secondary, and higher. Primary education deals with infants of 3 to 11 years old, secondary education covers teenagers of 12 to 18 years, and higher education shapes young learners of above 18 years. A distinctive approach is required for each level of education.

The contents of education vary from community to community. A secular society would have a different approach towards contents as compare to some ideological society. Moreover, the explanation or implementation of contents would be different in different societies. Our analysis is ideological and dominantly based on Islamic view towards education.

Terminology

The term “education” has been derived from the Latin words Educare, Educatum, or Educere. Educatum and educare mean to train and to nourish, while educere mean to lead out. The former implies that education is something external; to be imposed or put in from outside, it means the external environment plays a decisive role in learning process. The latter indicate growth from within; it means internal potentialities of an individual are decisive in learning process, the external environment has secondary role in educational process. Naturalists / Psychologists gave more importance to internal dispositions of learning process while the social philosophers put major stress on external demands of educational process. We assumed a mixed and balanced approach towards role and importance of internal-external environment of learning process.

Definition

Aristotle defined education as process necessary for the creation of a sound mind in a sound body, according to him, the aim & objective of education is to create good and virtuous citizens. Ibne Khaldun, in fourteenth century, expresses the view that education consists off intellectual, social, and moral training through which hidden potentialities are developed, traits of character are built and culture of the people is conveyed to the coming generations. Dewey, in twentieth century, defined education in these words: “Education is a process of living through a continuous reconstruction of experiences. It is development of all those capacities in the individual that will enable him to control his environment and fulfill his possibilities.” We may define education as, Education is the mean whereby adults pass on and inculcates to children their knowledge, thought-pattern, and behavior pattern and develop their genetic potential to manage existing and future challenges.

Aims & Objectives – Islamic View

Islam is Divine religion. It is based on revealed book, Quran, and prophetic commentary, Hadith. The foremost responsibility and ultimate purpose of prophets and Revealed Books are to educate the mankind for better, happy, and purposeful life. They specify the purpose of life, outline the procedure to actualize it, and present a practical example of purposeful life. Thus, the aims and objectives of education or contents of education can be understood from the last Revealed Book, Al-Quran. We quote a verse of Al-Quran,

Undoubtedly Allah did confer a great favor on the Muslims when He raised an Apostle from among themselves, who recites to them the Revelations of Allah, and causeth them to grow, and teacheth them the Scripture and Wisdom whereas they were in manifest error before.” (Al-Quran)

The verse identifies aims and objectives of education. These are:

  • Faith Plantation
  • Knowledge Advancement
  • Wisdom Enhancement
  • Manner Development

A. FAITH

The word faith has various meanings and uses, however, the central meaning is similar to “conviction”, “belief”, “trust” or “confidence”, but unlike these terms, “faith” tends to imply a submissive and transpersonal relationship with God or with someone having superior powers. Faith is founded on certain beliefs; beliefs’ indispensability to faith is just like seeds’ inevitability to plants. A belief system has certain perceptual ingredients with practical implications. A living faith must fulfill two conditions, the necessary condition is logical reasoning and sufficient condition is practical fruits for believers / mankind. A living faith gives stability to the believer, creates dynamism in one’s personality, brings fruits in one’s life, promotes cohesiveness among the believers, and assigns a specific shape to a group with peculiar traits.

We mention a few verses of the Holy Quran to outline and explain the basic elements of Islamic Faith.

A Glorious Book this! Which has nothing of doubt in it; it is guidance for the God-conscious who fear Allah. Those who believe in the Unseen and establish prayer and spend in Our way out of what We have provided them. And those who believe in that which has been sent down to you (O My Apostle) and in that which was sent down before you, and they also have faith in the August Day of Judgment. They are the ones who are rightly guided, and verily it is they who are successful in both the worlds.” (Al-Quran)

The first thing that the Quran does it removes the element of doubt, which is the foremost requisite of modern philosophy by introducing the faith as a fundamental factor behind reality. Doubt is a negative factor that hinders the exact understanding of reality; curiosity is far better alternate to doubt for knowledge development or to unearth realities. The faith concomitantly presupposes some obligatory beliefs – Unity of God, Unseen System (Angels, Heaven, Hell, etc.), Revealed Books, Institution of Prophets, Day of Judgment, Fate, and Life after Death. In addition, it imposes some obligations on believers – Kalimah (a confession of faith), prayer, fasting, alms giving, and pilgrimage. It is noteworthy that the idea of Unity of God must create the belief of mankind’s unity.

The Islamic approach towards faith is that it is revealed, explained, and planted through reverent personalities, i.e., prophets; a faith based on personal reasoning is not acceptable in Islam, the finality of prophets’ wording about faith elements is also essential. In addition, a loving and trustful posture towards prophets is fundamental for complete faith, without it faith is incomplete or objectionable. The very foundation of faith is thus love and submission to a reverent personality or a prophet. Simply, faith can be defined as accepting something true which has been told by someone who is believed to be trustworthy / praiseworthy.

The object behind development of faith is to make stable and balance psycho-spiritual formation of human personality. The prophets are sent as practical role modals and revealed books are accompanied as permanent working manual for guideline. The ultimate aim of developing faith elements is to equip the individual with necessary working tools to manage and tackle the conceptual or practical issues of life, either, big or small, simple or complex, independent or interlinked, a few or many, with fortitude and firmness. Thus, determination is necessary outcome of faith, no determination, than no faith.

Islam vehemently put forward two aspects of faith – human and transcendental. The human aspects propose the concept of unity of mankind, while the transcendental aspects propose the idea of Unity of God. Faith is incomplete if one aspect is ignored or not forcefully defined. In addition, the ignorance of one aspect makes the human personality lopsided and unstable. The repercussions of wrong belief about unity of mankind and Unity of God are manifold and penetrating to each and every aspect of human society. It can lead the nations into some kind of continuous strife and belligerent attitude towards each other. Moreover, the effects of wrong belief go beyond the present generations’ outlook and disturb the peace and tranquility of future generations, as well.

B. KNOWLEDGE

It is the understanding of the factual/declarative, procedural and conceptual aspects of something that a person acquires through education, observation and experience. Acquisition of knowledge is basic demand of human nature. It plays vital role in growth and development of a person or a nation.

1. Bases of Human Knowledge: –Let us quote some verses of the Quran on the subject:

And recall when your Lord said to the angels: “I am going to appoint a vice-regent in the earth.” They said: “Will You set in the earth such as will make mischief and cause bloodshed, whereas we celebrate Your praise and glorify You.” Allah said:” Surely I know that which you know not.”And Allah taught Adam the names of all things. Then He set them before the angels saying: “Tell Me the names of these if you are really truthful (in your opinion)” They said: “Glory to You! We have no knowledge what You have taught us. In truth, You alone are the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.”

Allah said:’ O Adam! Tell them the names of these things.” Then Adam had told the angels the names of those things, Allah said: “Did I not tell you that I know full well all the hidden mysteries of the heavens and the earth and I know whatever you disclose and whatever you have been concealing?

The verses manifest that the human nature has been made inherently fit and capable of receptivity and absorption of Divine Knowledge. Moreover, Adam’s knowledge has ability to conceptualize the things in nature. Thirdly, man has ability to develop language because Adam assigned names to items without prior formal training. These verses also show that the first man of the earth came down fully abreast of scientific knowledge, in full monopoly to develop it for natural conquest. According to Quran, than the program of human activity should proceed hand in hand with the divine cooperation and blessing, before the plan was being carried on unilaterally in which God has no vice-regent. The verses also indicate that a man has free will to choose right or wrong path of life. There is no external compulsion on his free choice. The verses also indicate that the mankind has strong tendency towards injustice and strife, however, it can be managed through human knowledge and is restrained by the Will of God.

2. Types of knowledge: –Knowledge can be classified into following groups:

  • Natural Sciences: –Natural sciences deals with inanimate objects of universe. The major branches are physics, chemistry, and astronomy.
  • Biological Sciences: –Biological Sciences deals with animate objects of universe. The major branches are zoology, botany, and psychology.
  • Social Sciences: –Social Sciences deals with collective life and relationship between individual and society. The major branches are sociology, political science, and economics.
  • Professional Sciences: –Professional Sciences deals with professions of individuals necessary for human survival / quality of life. The major branches are medicine, engineering, and commerce.

Islam accepts the scientific classification of knowledge, however, it proposed a broader taxonomy of knowledge for mankind:-

First, Absolute verses Dubious Knowledge. The absolute knowledge is based on some scientific facts or given through some reverent personality (i.e., prophets) in a shape of Revealed Book (e.g., Quran). The dubious knowledge is based on subjective analysis (e.g., the theory of psycho-analysis proposed by Freud.). Second, Fruitful verses Fruitless Knowledge. The fruitful knowledge gives benefit to mankind (e.g., natural sciences, biological sciences, social sciences, and, professional sciences.) while the fruitless knowledge is of no use for mankind (e.g., occult sciences).

3. Aspects of Knowledge: –A peace of knowledge can be broken into three categories or has three aspects – Declarative, Procedural & Conceptual.

  • Declarative Knowledge: –It is knowledge about something, e.g., structure of body, structure of computer, format of earth, and parts of speech. It deals with WHAT type of questions.
  • Procedural Knowledge: –It is knowledge about the procedures and sequences. It narrates and explains procedures & sequences of any compiled information or data, that is, it deals with HOW & WHEN type of questions. For example, HOW computer is manufactured or used, WHEN computer is ready to use or sale.
  • Conceptual Knowledge: –It is knowledge of concepts working behind the declarative and procedural knowledge. It is abstract aspect of knowledge. In conceptual knowledge, the relationship among concepts is also discussed. It deals with WHY type of questions. For example, the mathematical concepts and their relationship with each other that provide basis to the working of computer hardware or software.

C. WISDOM

Knowledge enables us to understand the realties of things (i.e., Divine Scheme of Creation, Natural System of Growth, natural forces, and history) and wisdom equip us with abilities to utilize the realities for the benefit of self and others. According to Islam, wisdom is higher level attribute, it comes after knowledge. Wisdom is bestowed when will of man is replaced by Will of God and human understanding is fully exploited, thus, wisdom is based on knowledge and intellect. Let us quote a verse to make it clear:

“He bestows wisdom upon whom He will, and whosoever is granted wisdom he is indeed granted abundant good and none accepts admonition except men of understanding.”

(Al-Quran)

Islam proposed two diagonally opposites aspects of wisdom – Divine Wisdom and devil wisdom. The Divine Wisdom is based on right faith and fruitful knowledge and produce good results for self and mankind, materially as well as spiritually, while the devil wisdom is based on wrong faith and fruitless knowledge and leads the mankind towards only worldly or material benefits, completely ignoring the benefits of others and spiritual benefits. The devil wisdom guides for self benefits at the cost of others, however, the devil / worldly wisdom is short-lived and weak, ultimately fails to materialize her lopsided designs.

Character-Sketch of a Wise Person

Wisdom is personalized, established, and manifested through struggle. A person fully involved in chores of life would qualify for wisdom. Seclusion or solitude is very negation of wisdom, while the participation is very basis of wisdom. A wise person pursue his goals/responds the problems of life with certain characteristics. These characteristics are essential working tools of a wise individual that give him/her edges over non-wise. The prominent attributes of a wise person are – Effective Communication, Enthusiasm, Discipline or Rigor, Decision Power, Sense of Responsibility, Moderate Behavior, Self-Confidence or High Morale or Courage, and Appropriate Appearance.

D. BEST MANNERS

Manners are countless, structurally, and diverse, practically. However, the essence of good manners is constant for all and sundry, it is humility. Humility is unique positive attribute of human personality; it is an attribute as well as essence of every positive attribute. Absence of humility makes the existence of all manners a soul-less ritual unable to produce fruitful results for self and others. A proud person is ill-mannered and creates problems for self and others.

Manners have two aspects – inner and outer. Inwardly, manners are shaped by dynamic organization of all the perceptions, intentions, and emotions of an individual and the behavior that results from the organization of these aspects, while, outwardly; they are shaped by social acceptance of behavior. Simply,conformity to some rationally defined and morally established interactive standards is considered best manners. Manners are developed under the guidance of intellect, knowledge, wisdom, social norms, and religion. They are time-honored phenomena. The reasonably/indisputably evolved set of manners creates order, consistency and continuity in one’s life and gives beautiful look to an individual or society. Manners are forerunner of culture and give longevity to civilizations. A society of ill-mannered persons will not be able to survive, at least with respect and recognition.

Bases of Best Manners

Man is combination of three basic realities, i.e., body, mind, and soul. Body has certain physical needs for survival or continuation of life such as food, water, and sleep, mind has some instinctual desires for interactive life such as parental instinct, gregarious instinct, learning instinct, and sex instinct, and soul has some ingrained urges towards moral excellence. Body needs are fulfilled by physical powers, psychological instincts are satisfied by mind powers such as will-power, decision-power, and emotional-power, soul urges are calmed by spiritual powers such as insight and intuition. A sustained manifestation of countless human efforts to satisfy body needs, psychological instincts, and soul urges shapes human personality. In addition, physical balance or health depends on diet, leisure time, proper sleep, and constructive physical activities. Mind normality or peace of mind hinges on positive approach towards intentions, perceptions and emotions. Soul is satisfied by rationally-intuitively defined belief system. A balanced approach towards physical health, mental satisfaction, and spiritual contentment give shape to mannered personality. Moreover, a mannered life is formed and improved through several group interactions such as social relations, economic dealings, political contacts, and customary connections.

Concluding Remarks

The aforementioned elaboration about contents of education – faith, knowledge, wisdom & personality traits or manners – manifests that educational institutions should have a comprehensive approach towards learning. They plant FAITH, give KNOWLEDGE, equip with WISDOM and develop PERSONALITY / MANNERS to face existing and upcoming challenges of life. Each aspect has its own importance and indispensability, one cannot be left at the expense of other, and all is needed. It is noteworthy that only a content-based educational system can produce fruits for society, coming generations and concerned individuals. On the bases of whole analysis, we propose two sample Mission Statements of educational institutions.

  • We strive to develop among our students Individuality with Humanity, Independence with Inter-dependence, and Science with Technology.
  • We strive to develop among our students Personality with Patriotism, Faith with Manners, and Knowledge with Wisdom.

Importance of Education

There are many definitions of education but in a simple way, education is an act or process of passing on or gaining general knowledge, building the ability to reason and judge, and generally training oneself or others mentally for matured life.

Many underdeveloped countries today do not pay attention to the importance of education in the society and this has made most countries not to be developed. I ask myself what advantage it will be if most of these underdeveloped countries have people in the government who are well educated and if they could give proper attention to the education sector of the country in order for the youth to develop and be able to reposition the country as they are been called leaders of tomorrow.

It is well known that education leads to success and I will be discussing the importance of education and why I think education is the backbone of anybody that needs to change the world in a positive way. Education can never be underestimated as education forms the heart of any society. The knowledge of making new discoveries, executing these discoveries for the success of any society can be achieved through education. The growth of many developed countries today can be attributed to the quality of education that is been imparted to the people. People who have quality education are able to improve the society by making reforms that will cause economic, social and political growth and development of the society.

Education opens your mind to better understand the world around you and how things works. Learning the different cultures and happenings taking place at different places around the world is possible through education. Our horizons are been broaden through education so that we can not only confined to what is happening in our countries but what is happening around the world.

Good jobs today are given to well educated people, this was stressed in the words of the United State President Barrack Obama, when he said “In an economy where knowledge is the most valuable commodity a person and a country have to offer, the best jobs will go to the best educated- whether they live in the United States or India or China”. This statement shows the importance of education in getting the best jobs in the society and holding the best positions in companies.

Education helps you to have confidence in life. You are able to plan your life effectively when you have education as it will help to analyze problems of life and be able to come out with solutions to those problems that you might face. Educated people are able to make decisions that can change life in a positive ways as they will have acquire a lot of experience as they learn new things every day.

The importance of education is well evident in developed countries as it play a major role in personal and social development. Education has been used as a means to alleviate poverty, oppression, and war as the leaders are well equipped with knowledge to guide the country towards growth. In some countries, there has been problem of overpopulation which is one of the greatest worry of mankind. Overpopulation can be attributed to lack of proper and better education. Sex education needs to be taught to the youths who are adult of tomorrow.

Financial growth in one’s life can be achieved through education. Instructions on how to manage money and invest the money wisely can be achieved when you have good education as you are well knowledgeable on the ways to start your own business and reducing the risk of getting bankrupt. Education has been used as a major tool to inform people of their rights and services that they can have access to. In order to be able to differentiate between doing the right and wrong, education plays a vital role as youth are been taught what ought to be done and what not to be done in the society and how they can be a responsible person in the society.

Lastly, children from their early age needs to understand the importance of education. This will help them have open minds and be able to have the determination to learn new things as their brain are able to assimilate new things when they are young.

Adjunct Professor Definition

The term adjunct professor is frequently used but many are unsure as to the adjunct professor definition. An adjunct professor is a person who teaches on the college level but is not a full-time professor. Rather, an adjunct professor works for an institution of higher learning on a part-time basis. They can teach only one or they can teach multiple courses during a semester. However, future courses are not assured. Adjuncts usually do not receive benefits such as health, life, or disability insurance nor do they receive employer contributions for retirement.

With increasing frequency, college-level courses are being taught by part-time faculty members rather than by full-time professors. This is because it is cheaper for the university to hire part-time faculty to teach than it is for full-time faculty. Full-time faculty do research, serve on committees, advise students, and, thus, they provide stability for the institution as well as teach. However, in an uncertain economic climate, full-time faculty lines remain unfilled or are being cancelled. Thus, many universities have had a reduction in the number of regular faculty. The responsibility to teach the courses being offered rests on the shoulders of their adjunct faculty members. Adjunct professors have no other duties except to teach. Thus, there are distinct advantages being a part-time instructor.

This creates an opportunity. We do not have to go the normal faculty route with all of its hassles. Rather, we can work as a professional adjunct. Adjuncts obtain teaching contracts relatively easy because it is solely need-based. Adjuncts can simultaneously teach several courses each for numerous institutions. This includes teaching online as well as on ground. Thus, an adjunct professor can earn more money than most full-time faculty members.

Get started earning a significant income as a part-time professor at: http://www.adjunctteachingonline.com/

Falling Standard Of Education In Nigeria: Who Is To Be Blame?

INTRODUCTION

The concept ” falling standard of Education” is a relative term because there is no well defined instruments to measure it with utmost reliability and validity. That is why scholars’ views on the concept varies. These scholars view it at different perspectives, depending on the angle each of them is looking at it.

Babalola, A (2006) sees the concept from admission of Nigerian University products in developed countries universities. That the first six Nigerian Universities (University of Ibadan, Ile Ife, Lagos, Benin, Nsukka and Zaria) had their products competing favourably with any other University in the world as their products were sought for by University of Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford and London for admission into their post-graduate courses. That these students record breaking performances and when they graduate are employed by the best multi-national companies and corporate bodies globally unlike today where no Nigerian University is among the top 6,000 Universities of the world (Adeniyi, Bello (2008) in Why no worry about rankings). He sees standard from how universities contribute to knowledge and solving problems besetting mankind.

According to Gateway to the Nation (2010), University of Ibadan is ranked 6,340th University in the world. In Africa, University of Ibadan is ranked 57th, OAU 69th and South African Universities are leading the way in Africa.

He also use written and spoken English as a yardstick for measuring standard of education which University of London conducted a research in West Africa and the result showed that teachers trained by colonial masters were better of than those trained by indigenous teachers.

He also used staffing, funding, foundation, origin and students as standard of education.

Standard of education to Dike, V. (2003) is how education contribute to the public health (or sociopolitical and economic development of a Nation).

Standard of education to either passing or failing of external examinations like WAEC, NECO, NABTEB, JAMB,(NOW UTME) among others.

Teachers without Boarders (2006) looks at educational standard from how the products of schools can be measured in terms of outcome. That is how school leavers contribute to the society in terms of cognitive affective and psychomotor. I will be using students to refer to both students and pupils, I will use head teacher to refer to both principal and headmaster.

Which ever way you may view standard of education, for you to conclude whether the standard is falling or not, you must take into consideration all the aforementioned variables including achieving educational goals.

Equally, for justice to be done while measuring these standards one has to look at reliability where all the schools to be measured must have the same infrastructure, teaching materials, quality of teachers, level and degree of learners, condition within which learning takes place, some methods of assessment and some types of contribution to the society among others.

CAUSES OF FALLING STANDARDS

Haven discussed what makes up standard in education, may I crave your indulgence to some of the established facts that constitute falling standard of education in Nigeria.

(1) Discipline: This is one of the outstanding attributes of education when it is rightly observed.

a. Repeating: school no longer observe repeating as every student is promoted to the next class whether they understand or not gives room for falling standard.

b. Attendance: The 75% of attendance universally accepted as the bases for someone to sit for examination is no longer observed.

c. Late coming: Student that come late are no longer punished, which leads to their losing morning classes.

d. Misbehaviour: Students are no longer punished for misbehavior because of their parental influences (lost of jobs or unnecessary transfer).

e. Cultism: This could refer to rituals, usually under oath binding the members to a common course. They operate covertly in fulfillment of their objectives to the detriment of other people. Thus, planning secondary needs above primary needs.

These cults exist because of over population of students in schools, wrong admissions not based on merits, hence fear of examination failures and selfish worldly gains.

(2) Quest for paper qualification: Nigerians respect paper qualification above performance in the fields. Hence, cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains are supposed to be measured on the field.

(3) Politicizing education: Merit is no longer regarded as it is now ” who you know” and not “what you can deliver” Technocrats (educationists are not appointed Commissioner of education and education board).

(4) Policy problem: Sometimes the type of policies government make on education adversely affects output. For instance, in College of Education, we have National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), competing with JAMB for admission as the two guidelines vary.

Equally, WAEC, NECO, NABTEB, JAMB ( now UTME) compete with qualifying pre-requisites and regulation of entries into tertiary institutions.

(5) Teachers not being part of the examination bodies. One wonders whether the continuous Assessment submitted by these teachers are used or not.

(6) Accessibility of Schools: The Nigerian population boom has outnumbered the existing schools as the existing schools have to over admit.

This point can be practically seen in the following areas:

(i) Teacher / Student ratio of 1:25 is no longer there as in my class, it is 1:3900.

(ii) Students / books / Journals ratio of 1:10 is no longer feasible.

(iii) Politics of admission: Schools can no longer set targets for admission to conform with their facilities as powerful notes from above will force the school authorities to either over admit or find themselves in the labour market again. Yet it is those that are giving these notes are suppose to build more schools or provide needed infrastructure etc. to accommodate those collecting these notes.

(7) Over-dependent on cognitive domain: Schools do not give regards to affective domain that will mould characters of our young ones. Little attention is given to psychomotor while no attention is given to affective domain.

(8) Shortage of qualified teachers: Some schools in the rural areas only have the headmaster as government employee while the rest that may be secondary school drop outs are PTA staff. What miracle can these staff perform? Dike, V. (2006) observed that only 23% out of the then 400,000 primary schools in Nigeria have grade II even when NCE is now the minimum qualification for teachers at primary and Junior Secondary schools.

(9) Teachers welfare: It is no longer news that

(a) Politicians do not have negotiation council to negotiate their salary increase.

(b) There is no disparity among political office holders from the federal, state and local governments.

(c) Their salaries are increased at astronomical manner.

(d) Their salaries are increased any time without recourse to whether the nation’s economy can bear it or not.

(e) But for teachers, they must negotiate the 10 to 20% of an attempt to increase their salary with consideration of the economy of the nation. How can these teachers contribute and perform miracle when their family members are in the hospitals and the O.S. syndrome is written on their cards by pharmacists while they do not have money to treat.

(10) Constant Strikes: This is an impediment to smooth covering of syllabus. Oefule (2009) explained that one Nigerian guest asked a question on strike at Oxford University community but the vice chancellor could not even remember about strike, only the registrar remembered it for 17 years back. This is what governance means to the people.

(11) Long rule of the military; Education was not properly funded by the military regimes as according to Babalola, A(2006) Obasanjos administration inherited many left over problems of the military such as non- payment of pensions and gratuities of retired University staff, poor remuneration of university staff, dilapidating buildings of schools, libraries with outdated books, obsolete laboratory equipments, bad campus roads, inadequate water and power supply among others.

(12) In the secondary and primary schools levels, schools do not even have buildings talk less` of furniture’s, equipments and reading materials. This is the level where the foundation of education should be laid. Any faulty foundation will lead to faulty structures. What do you expect from the tertiary level?

(13) Lack of training of teachers: Teachers are not trained to update their knowledge with latest discoveries based on research, then how can they give what they don’t have?

(14) Poor state of Educational teaching facilities: Dike V. (2006) reported that research result shows that over 2015 primary schools in Nigeria do not have building but study under trees, talk less of teaching materials.

(15) Corruption: leaders of the schools and some Government officials either connive to buy equipments with loan money that cannot be of any use to the school or take such loans and do not even do anything with it.

(16) Poor budgetary allocation to education: A research work of 2001 shows that Nigeria only, allocate less than 20% to education it further reveals that Nigeria spends 0.76% to education as against Uganda 2.6%, Tanzania3.4%, Mozambique 4.1%, Angola 4.9%, Coted Ivore 5% Kenya 6.5% and South Africa 7.9% among others.

WHO IS TO BE BLAMED?

We have seen the causes of falling standards and from these causes we can deduce that the following are to be blamed:

1. Government suppose to carry the lion share of the blame because all the other variables are dependent variables to it.

2. Teachers also have their shares of the blame with regards to their diligent duties.

3. Parents: feeding has to be provided by parents. This is because parents do not leave schools to operate without interference.

4. Students: students who do not abide by school rules and regulations nor pay attention to their studies also contribute to falling standards. Students also seek for paper qualification and disregards to performance they also participate in cult activities that derail the progress of the academy.

5. The society is not left out as it is the way it sees and respects the products of these schools that recycles back again.

SOLUTION

Based on the problems or causes identified above, the following solutions are proffered: Schools should respect and restore back discipline to bring back the lost glory of our educational standards.

Performance should be regarded and respected more than just paper qualification. Equally, education should not be politicized for whatever reason.

Policy makers should be mindful of policies that affect education .eg JAMB(UTME) regulation in admissions.

Teachers should be involved in examination activities and examination bodies should always publish examination reports and distribute it to various schools for them to hold school workshop for training of subject teachers on their areas of weaknesses observed in the students’ scripts with regards to following the marking scheme.

More schools should be built to increase accessibility by all. Cognitive, affective and psychomotor domain should be used for assessment of students.

Teachers’ welfare should be given priority by government to avoid unnecessary strikes in our educational sector while more qualified teachers should be employed to curb the present shortage of teachers in our schools.

Our civilian government should prove to the people that they are better than military government.

Teachers should be trained so that they can meet up with any new challenges Educational facilities should be upgraded to modern standards while teaching facilities should be adequately provided.

Corruption should be eliminated to the barest minimum by all stakeholders while government should increase its budgetary allocations to education to improve the standard of education in Nigeria.

Definition of Motivation

The definition of motivation is to give reason, incentive, enthusiasm, or interest that causes a specific action or certain behavior. Motivation is present in every life function. Simple acts such as eating are motivated by hunger. Education is motivated by desire for knowledge. Motivators can be anything from reward to coercion.

There are two main kinds of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is internal. It occurs when people are compelled to do something out of pleasure, importance, or desire. Extrinsic motivation occurs when external factors compel the person to do something. However, there are many theories and labels that serve as sub tittles to the definition of motivation. For example: “I will give you a candy bar if you clean your room.” This is an example of reward motivation.

A common place that we see the need to apply motivation, is in the work place. In the work force, we can see motivation play a key role in leadership success. A person unable to grasp motivation and apply it, will not become or stay a leader. It is critical that anyone seeking to lead or motivate understand “Howletts Hierarchy of Work Motivators.”

Salary, benefits, working conditions, supervision, policy, safety, security, affiliation, and relationships are all externally motivated needs. These are the first three levels of “Howletts Hierarchy” When these needs are achieved, the person moves up to level four and then five. However, if levels one through three are not met, the person becomes dissatisfied with their job. When satisfaction is not found, the person becomes less productive and eventually quits or is fired. Achievement, advancement, recognition, growth, responsibility, and job nature are internal motivators. These are the last two levels of “Howletts Hierarchy.” They occur when the person motivates themselves (after external motivation needs are met.) An employer or leader that meets the needs on the “Howletts Hierarchy” will see motivated employees and see productivity increase. Understanding the definition of motivation, and then applying it, is one of the most prevalent challenges facing employers and supervisors. Companies often spend thousands of dollars each year hiring outside firms just to give motivation seminars.

Another place motivation plays a key role is in education. A teacher that implements motivational techniques will see an increased participation, effort, and higher grades. Part of the teachers job is to provide an environment that is motivationally charged. This environment accounts for students who lack their own internal motivation. One of the first places people begin to set goals for themselves is in school. Ask any adult: “What is the main thing that motivates you.” Their answer will most likely be goals. Even the simplest things in life are the result of goal setting. A person may say, “I want to save 300.00 for a new T.V.” Well, that is a goal. School is where we are most likely to learn the correlation between goals, and the definition of motivation. That correlation is what breeds success.

So, as you can see, motivation is what propels life. It plays a major role in nearly everything we do. Without motivation, we would simply not care about outcomes, means, accomplishment, education, success, failure, employment, etc.. Then, what would be the point?

Helpful Tips and Facts on Educational Toys

All of us went through our childhood. It is a milestone in our lives where in we are a little less care free and we tend to do the things within our comfort zones. Playing has a considerable impact in our lives. Now, that some of us has assumed the role of a parent, we must understand why kids must play and how they will play as well as how to develop the cognitive faculty of our kids through playing. Read along to find some helpful tips and tidbits about playing and educational toys for our children.

*Playing and Development – The connection in between.

Playing is a very significant factor in the development of our personalities and personhood during the childhood years. Playing can be a perfect method where in kids can practice being a grown up. During plays, children can assume adult roles and grown up responsibilities. Children can have the chance on how to act like adults without the “real responsibilities and risks” o being an adult. They can explore on how to react and interact to situations in conformity to what the society approves and what is right and just. In order for our kids to enjoy playing, toys are available for them to use. These toys are the tools which children use while playing. Anything that a child can safely play with can be a toy.

*Educational toys for a more worthwhile playing

Toys are available in toy stores in shopping centers and department stores. Parents would want to maximize the playing times of their children where in they can develop motor skills as well as the social skills of a child. In the last several years, parents have considered honing the mental and cognitive skills of their children to make playing times a more worthwhile leisure activity. With the desire of the parents to provide the best for their child, an educational toy is more preferred on top of all the wide array of toy options in the market.

*Educational toys in a nutshell

All of us know what educational toys are, but we often wonder what an educational toy is in its strictest sense or definition. Are there any standards to define that a toy can be considered as an educational toy? There is no concrete definition for an educational toy. However, what we came to know about educational toy is that it is a type of a toy which can help the kids to play and learn something while playing. What kids learn with educational toys can benefit them with something which can be of use to them in the future as they grow older. Learning while playing is possible but parents must be present during play times to guide their kids while playing. Parents must control the course of play to keep it educational for their kids.

*Educational toys can work wonders with your child

Educational toys are among the most preferred playing tools for children simply because it can make wonders with how our kids grow up. These types of toys will help kids realize some of the salient points in relating with others, conforming to the rules and strengthen personal beliefs and principles of children. These educational toys can help them comprehend how things work and in solving simple problems, these toys can also develop the movement of the kids in terms of synchronicity of movements as well as physical stamina. Educational toys can help your kids develop their imagination; define the differences among objects and persons.

We have learned a lot when it comes to educational toys. Thus it is best we keep ourselves abreast to helpful tips and facts on educational toys. We can assume our parenting roles in a less stressful way and we can enjoy quality time with our kids through worthwhile play.

Record Keeping In Schools

Over the years, Nigerian school administrators, especially, the lslamiyyah schools had paid Lip services to the proper keeping of records. All these schools do is simply teach and graduate students. However as observed by NTI, (2000:12) in 1964, a headmaster of one primary school in our neighboring Bauchi State was faced with one serious experience. A form containing many questionnaires about one of the old pupils of the school who was nominated to be appointed as the chairman of the Federal Public Service Commissioner was given to him to complete. The pupil graduated many years before the headmaster even went to primary school. Therefore, the headmaster did not know the man personally and did not know what to write about him.

The only solution available to the headmaster was to turn to the school records. The school records showed the year the pupil was admitted, the year he passed out, the records of his good academic performance, records of annual prizes given to the pupil among others.

It was these records that helped the headmaster to correctly and accurately filled the form that assisted the person to be successfully appointed.

DEFINITION OF CONCEPTS

School records keeping: This concept according to NTI (2000:12) is the history of the school kept systematically. This means that the systematic growth of the school at various points in time need to be thoroughly recorded and kept by school administrators. it is the authentic register of instruments of officials accounts of transaction or accurance which are preserved in the schools office (Olanrewaju 200S).

Aleiyideino SC et al (202) defined record as a written statement about a happening. School record keeping according to these scholars are records that give a lot of information about the school that will enable the authority to take decisions and asses the progress of the school. Head of School shall refer to both head teacher and principal.

Student: It shall be used to refer to both pupils and students. These records according to Dibu-Ojerinde,00 and Tukur(ed) (2005:21) classified school records into (a) Statutory Records (b) Academic Records (c) Finance Records (d) Staff Record(e) General Records.

Also linking Muslim schools to the category of voluntary agencies interested in educational development, Eke, et al (2000:46) explained that the Izalatil bid’a Wa Iqamatis Sunnah group, the Jama’atu Nasrul Islam, is the Islamic Trust of Nigeria (ITN) among others have contributed immensely not only to the development of education but also to proper school records keeping in Nigeria. Here cognitive and effective domains are highly exhibited unlike public schools that deal with only cognitive domain.

It is in light of the above that we are going to discuss the classification of school records as listed by Dibu-Ojerinde 0.0 and Tukur H.as follows:

A). STATUTORY RECORDS

1. ADMISSION REGISTER

This is a register of admission, progress and withdrawal of students, it should contain the following particulars about the admitted students.

(a) Admission number (b) Name in full (c) Sex (d) Name and address of parent/guardians (e) Day Month and year of birth (f) Previous school attended (g) Last class read (h) Day, month, class, of admission (i) Records of progress (j) date of leaving school (k) Reason for leaving etc (1) Transfer certificate number.

All the entries should be hand-written and corrections should be made in such a way that the original entry and the correction are both clearly distinguished. It should be kept for not less than fifteen (15) years from the date of last entry.

2. ATTENDANCE REGISTER.

This is register that is kept for each class containing the particulars in respect of every student until such student leaves the school. Students’ regular attendance or otherwise can be traced here easily, it should contain (a) Admission number (b) Name in full, sure name first etc.

3. LOG BOOK.

This book contains records of important events happening in the school. The history of the school can be compiled from this record. It should be kept under lock and key.

4. VISITORS BOOK

This is a record showing names, address of all important visitors to the school as well as the purpose of such visit.

5. PUNISHMENT BOOK

The education law permits only the head of school or his representative to inflict corporal punishment on erring students. A proper reoord is kept containing (a) The name of the offender (b) The date of such punishment (c) The nature of offence (d) the person who administered the punishment etc.

This record helps to protect the teachers against aggrieved parents. It can serve as witness for the school to trace the trend of such students.

6. EDUCATION LAW

The school should keep Education Law with its regulations to assist the school in operating in line with such regulations.

7 NATIONAL POLICY ON EDUCATION

Each school must have a copy of the National policy on Education.

8, INSPECTION REPORT FILE

This is a record containing the reports of visits to the school by inspectors as it helps during follow-up inspections.

9. STAFF DUTY BOOK.

This is a record that shows a brief report of happenings in the school on daily basis. In secondary schools, the perfects also write daily report in prefect duty book.

10. MINUTES OF MEETING BOOK

There should be a hard cover book to be used for recording of minutes of meeting for easy reference to the decisions taken in meetings.

B). ACADEMIC RECORD

i) Approved copy of syllabus

ii) Academic Syllabus files

1. APPROVED SYLLABUS:

Academic programme of institutions are based on approved syllabus of the course to be run, it could be primary school syllabus, NTI syllabus for teachers colleges, WAEC/NECO syllabus etc. the school need a syllabus to follow.

2. SCHEME OF WORK

This is the aspect that breakdown the syllabus into teaching units. It is broken down into topics, performance objectives, etc. lit has to be kept by every teacher to be marked and endorsed by the headmaster.

3. RECORD OF WORK BOOK

This aspect further break down the scheme of work into weekly records of what the teacher has taught. It should be kept by teachers and cheeked and endorsed by the headmaster.

4. LESSON NOTE BOOK

One may call it lesson plan, it is like the site plan for the architect. It is prepared so that you follow it without forgetting a process. it reduces your energy of remembering the next step to do while teaching. It should contain topic, date, time of the day, duration of the lesson, age, sex, and class. Others includes: aims and objective, previous knowledge introduction, presentation evaluation and conclusion.

5. MARKS BOOKS

This is used in compiling continues assessment (CA) record. It is used to build up CA as it is either on weekly, fortnightly or monthly as the case may be.

6. CONTINUOUS ASSESSMENT DOSSIER/REPORT SHEET

Schools used C.A dossier for examination records for every student. Two copies are needed for a student, one for the school and another one for the student. It should contain cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains of the student.

7. SCHOOL TIME TABLE

This shows the daily activities of the school, class by class, period by period and the names of teachers handling them. It sums up the number of period allocated to a subject and the number of subjects arid periods taught by a teacher in a week.

8. LESSON ATTENDANCE REGISTER

It is kept by the class captain of each subject to be signed at the end of the period by teachers. It can cheek teachers who do not go to classes as and when due

9. TRANSFER CERTIFICATE

This is in a booklet form issued to students who leave the school before getting to the terminal class. It helps both the school releasing the students and the schools receiving students.

10. LEAVING CERTIFICATE

Unclaimed certificates testimonials etc should be kept under key and luck

11. FILES FOR ACADEMIC RECORDS OF DIFFERENT SUBJECT MATTERS NEED TO BE KEPT

C). FINANCE RECORD

The school needs account records such as:

i. Salary and payment voucher:- these are kept in labeled files to show salary payment and other payments made in the school.

it School fees register:- It is kept to give the financial transactions in the school. It gives information about income and expenditure items. It promotes accountability and prevents corrupt and sharp practices.

iii. Fees receipts:- It is issued to students as they pay fees while the duplicates is kept for auditor and inspectors.

iv. Cash Book:- It shows the receipts and payments of the school.

v. Ledger Book:- It is used to record all the debit and credit transacts of the school.

vi. Bank Reconciliation to Reconcile the School Transaction with the bank (to come into agreement)

vii. Stock Book:- It is used to keep the inventory of the landed property and other assets of the school with liabilities shown.

viii. I.O.U Book:- This is used to service short term financial assistance to staff, payable on payment of salary.

D). STAFF RECORDS:

i. Staff Time Book:- This is for staff attendance, it shows the tune each staff come to school (late corners cab be easily detected)

ii. Staff movement Book:- This is the record that indicate when staff move out of the school during school hours and when they returned.

iii. Staff Confidential Report: (ANNUAL EVALUATION REPORT FORM-APER FORM) This is used for staff promotion and reward.

iv. Staff Files: Each member of staff should have a personal file, which contain the record of service with proper references.

v. Staff List:- List of staff suppose to be kept including the school organization.

vi. Files on Subject matter in the accounts need to be kept

E). EJGENERAL RECORDS:

A school also need the following records:

i. Parents Teachers Association Minutes book

ii. Parents Teachers Association Account Book

iii. Board of Directors minutes Books

iv. Suggestion files and Box

v. Instruction Book or Internal Circular File

vi. Correspondence Files on various Subjects

IMPORTANCE OF RECORD KEEPING IN THE SCHOOLS

The importance of record keeping in schools according to Olgboye Cited in Olararenwaji I.T (2009:1) and Dibu Ojermde and Tukur (ed) (2005:27), include;

1. It tells the history of the school

2. It facilitates continuity in the school administration

3. It facilitates and enhance the provision of effective guidance and counseling service for students in the social career domains

4. Provides information needed on ex-students by higher and other related institution and employers of labour for admission or placement.

5. Facilitate the supply of information to parents or guardians for effective monitoring of the progress of their children in school or performance.

6. Provides data needed for planning and decision making by school authority

7. Provide’ a basis for the objective assessment of the state of teaching and learning in the school, including staff and students performance by supervisors and inspectors.

8. Provide information for the school community, the general public, employers, researchers for the advancement of knowledge.

9. It ensures that the headmaster keeps strictly to the education regulations.

10. School records can be used as reference materials for both the teachers and the administrators.

ABUSES OF SCHOOL RECORDS

Some time according to Aleiyideino, Sc et a! (2000:79) some school abuse records keeping by:

1. Non availability of records:- They do not keep such records and cannot produce same when the need arise.

2. Problem of storage:- Some school have these records but are not properly stored according to subject matter.

3. Ignorance on the part of head teachers:- Some head teachers are not even aware of the importance of records keeping in school or how to even keep these records.

4. Poor Supervision by Head teacher or supervisor:- Some Head teachers do not keep records because no body request for such records.

5. If the information given are false or incomplete, it cannot give us accurate information needed.

CONCLUSION:

This means that we must know the importance of keeping records and with truthful and complete information This will enable our schools to be up to date and respond to any question or fill any form about our school without difficulties.

REFERENCE:

Olanrewaju, I.T (2008) Importance of Record keeping In School” being Paper Presented to the Department of PHE University of Ilorin PP 1-10.

2. Aleiyideini, SC et al (2002)”Record Keeping” in NTI (2002) School Management Course Book On Education pp 69-78

3. Eke E(2000)”School Administration and Management” In NTI (2000) education Cycle 4. PP 12-13

4. Dibu Ojerinde, 0.0 and Tukur, H (2005) “Record Keeping” Inspection manual in NTI PGDE by DLS. PP2 1-27.

BY

MAL. ABDULKARIM N. BELLO

COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, JALINGO

TARABA STATE, NIGERIA.

The Invention of Adolescence

A little more than a century ago, adolescence was unrecognized, undiscovered, unknown and unorganized. Most young people between the ages of twelve and eighteen worked on family arms, engaged in wage labor, and grew up in the company of adults. A handful of relatively high born young people went on to college. Graduation from high school was a privilege of relatively prosperous town dwellers (Tim and Frank, 2001). Strictly speaking, there were no adolescents one hundred years ago. Adolescence is a historically grounded social invention, the product of concerted attempts of socially and morally anxious nineteenth and twentieth-century developmental psychologists, moral reformer, sociologists, medical specialists, and other emerging professionals to control the socialization of increasing number of detached youth. The new invention marked the recognition of youth as a life stage; a period of time between irresponsible childhood and married adulthood. In order to better socialize the youth, some constrains and regulations were imposed on youth, such as education which regulated the lives of the young and reside authority over their development in carefully organized institutions of formal education. The education was mainly affected by the belief that adolescence was a particular stage of life with precise age parameters, developmental possibilities and social requirements. Although it may sounds scary to learn education institution carry the role of social control, it is undeniable that education system plays a major role in shaping our adolescent world view and the development of self.

Nowadays, students spend almost half of their waking time in schools; schools not only serve as a place for knowledge accumulation, but also a place of self development and self growth.

Development of Adolescence (Psychological Aspect)

Erikson is one of the prominent psychologists to look into the development of adolescence. Adolescence is the fifth stage in Erikson’s chart of the life cycle, is regarded as highly significant in the person’s psychological development. No longer a child but not yet an adult (roughly from the ages of 12 to 13 to about 19 to 20 in developed society. The new psychosocial dimension hat appears during adolescence has ego identity at h positive end and role confusion at the negative end. The task confronting adolescents is to consolidate all the knowledge they have gained about themselves and integrate these various self-images into a personal identity that shows awareness of both a past and a future that follows logically from it (Larry and Daniel, 1992). Identity as the major personality achievement of adolescence and as a crucial step toward becoming a productive, happy adult. Constructing an identity involves defining who you are, what you value and the direction you choose to pursue in life. Erikson further explains during adolescence, cognitive changes transform the young person’s vision of the self into a more complex, well-organized and consistent picture. Change in self-concept set the stage for development of a unified personal identity (Laura, 2004).

By the end of middle childhood, children describe themselves in terms of personality traits (Laura, 2004). In early adolescence, they unify separate traits, such as ‘smart’ and ‘talented’ into more abstract descriptors, such as ‘intelligent’, but these generalizations about the self are not interconnected and often they are contradictory. As adolescents’ social world expands, contradictory self-descriptions increase. Over time, teenagers become increasingly aware of these inconsistencies and frequently agonize over ‘which is the real me’.

During late adolescence, teenagers combine their traits into an organized system. And they can use qualifiers, such as quite, fairly, thoroughly to reveal their awareness that psychological qualities often change from one situation to the next. Adolescents can revise their views of themselves to include enduring beliefs and plans, they move toward the kind of unity of self that is central to identity development.

Definitional Consideration and Theoretical Consideration of Self-Concept

There are some problems of definition related to self-concept research. These difficulties can be related to five major factors: lack of a universally accepted definition, assumed synonymity of self terms, ambiguous distinction between the terms self-concept and self-efficacy and between self-concept and self-esteem.

Although there are some problems of universally agreed notion of self-concept, but many theorists agreed self-concept reflects descriptive and evaluative aspects of self-perception, for example, academic self-concept reflects self-descriptive (e.g. I like most school subjects) as well as self-evaluative or comparative (e.g. I do well in most school subjects) aspects. Self-concept judgments, compared with those of self-efficacy, are more global and less context dependent. For example, in responding to self-concept measures that elicit evaluation of capabilities in relation to a particular school subject, students typically make such judgments by comparing their own performance with that of their classmates (an external comparison), as well as their own performance in other subject areas (an internal comparison) (Barbara, 1996).

In general, theoretical models of self-concept can be polarized into two board perspectives: those supporting the unidimensionality of the construct versus those supporting multidimensionality.

With unidimensional perspectives, the nomothetic model implies generality and universality. It dictates that items on a measuring instrument tap different content areas and that each be given equal weight; item scores are then summed to yield one overall self-concept score. Nomothetic model thus makes the assumption that the single score derived from the additive combination represents an accurate unidimensional reflection of an individual’s sense of self as it related to the various facets of his or her life.

Under multidimensional perspectives, there are four models. Independent-factor model assumes self-concept is composed of multiple facets, each of which is independent of all other dimensions; at worst they should be only weakly correlated. In direct contrast to the independent-factor model, the correlated-factor model allows the multiple, domain-specific self-concept related both among themselves and with a separate facet of global self-concept. Within this framework of the correlated-factor model, then, self-concept is conceptualized along a continuum of very specific to very global perception of one’s competency and these approaches are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Compensatory model assumes domain-specific facets of self-concept can be negatively rather than positively correlated. For example, the correlations of social and physical self-concepts with academic self-concept are negative, whereas all other correlations are positive. It explains why people strive to excel in certain areas in an effort to compensate deficit in other areas. Lastly, hierarchical model is that general self-concept is a higher order factor that comprises multiple, domain-specific self-concept, which, although correlated, can be interpreted as separate constructs. As such, general self-concept and each of its related domain-specific facets are tapped by items constituting each of their separate subscales, evaluation are based on behavior in specific situations under sub areas of self-concept (under academic and nonacademic self-concept).

Study of Self and Adolescent Self-Concept

The most important and basic assumption behinds all studies of self is the ability human can distinguish us from others. The development of self will be occur before infancy, infant is not aware of himself or herself as a separate being, as an ‘I’; therefore he or she makes no distinction between what is ‘me’ and what is ‘not me’ (Hjelle and Ziegler, 1992). However, after infancy, a child gradually begins to distinguish her or himself from the rest of the world. It is this process of differentiating the phenomenal field into that which is recognized and felt as a distinct object of which one is aware that accounts for the emergence of the person’s self-concept.

The study of self-concept has a long history in the field of social science research. It is valued as a desirable outcome in many psychological and educational situations and is frequently posited as a mediating variable that facilitates the attainment of other desired outcomes, such as academic performance (Barbara, 1997).

Despite the long history of the study of self-concept, it is problematic to have a clear, concise and universally accepted definition of the construct. Adding further to definitional confusion is the tendency by self-concept researchers to interchange, at random, the various self-terms (Barbara, 1997). Problems of definition at the conceptual level lead ultimately to methodological difficulties at the measurement level.

Although reaching a universally acceptable definition of self-concept is no easy task, it is generally agreed that self-concept can be multi-dimensional. General self-concept is shown to be a summative representation of academic, social, physical, and emotional self-concepts. The nomothetic model thus makes the assumption that single score derived from the combination represents an accurate unidimensional reflection of an individual’s sense of self as it relates to various facets of his or her life. To be concluding, self-concept includes the following characteristics:

(1) Self-concept is dynamic; the formation of self-concept is an active process.

(2) It is subjective, involves cognitive and affective elements.

(3) Self-concept provides a sense of meaning to self and the world and successful living involves choice (conscious process).

Self-concept generally refers to ‘the composite of ideas, feelings, and attitudes people have about themselves’. We could consider self-concept to be our attempt to ourselves, to build a schema that organizes our impressions, feelings and attitudes about ourselves (Tim and Frank, 2001). The schema is not permanent, unified or unchanging.

School and Development of Adolescent Self-Concept

Adolescent achievement results from a long history of cumulative effects. Positive educational environment, both family and school can lead to personal traits that support achievement, such as intelligence, confidence in one’s abilities, the desire to succeed and high educational aspirations. Yet improving an unfavorable environment can foster resilience among poorly performing young people (Laura, 2004). Continuous failure in school can lead to negative development of self-concept.

Policymakers mandate test to gather information about student and school attainment and then use the information to hold students, educators, schools and school system accountable. Adolescents often bear the blunt of the high stakes associated with many of these testing programs (Tim and Frank, 2001). In Hong Kong, in a high stakes context and when teachers do not have enough time to teach everything in the frameworks, the test effectively becomes the curriculum and instruction becomes test preparation, it is sad to see, but it is happening here now. Students study to prepare for high stakes test may easily frustrated by the continuous failure in the tests, it is especially true for those who are not competent in memorization or test strategy.

Definition Of Professional Development

Professional development is essential for every individual, whether employed or not. It is vital for every business and professional organization to increase the knowledge and skills of their employees. They should strive to enhance the quality of performance, to ensure an improvement on the personal and professional front.

Professional development is necessary to increase knowledge and skill, through certified and consistent education in the profession. A professional development program boosts the individual’s career, through travel, research, workshops and seminars and by working with professionals who are experienced. People take up a professional development course to build their expertise in business, teaching and nursing and contribute to organizational development.

Professional development courses are either general, or skill- based. General professional development caters to general skills, through basic personal education. Skilled development on the other hand, deals with the current profession, leadership qualities, managerial skills and enhancing a person’s productivity. The courses are designed with the intention of developing a person’s level of competency and professionalism. The successful completion of the course opens avenues for unlimited growth.

Professional development training courses are not only applicable to people in business or management, but are also important for professionals such as teachers, technicians, nurses and engineers. Some of these professional courses are officially recognized and certify the candidates, on completion. This recognition is an added advantage of being trained at professional development institutes.

The professional development course ensures occupational education and helps beginners to choose the right career, at the very start. Professional development institutes host a series of seminars and workshops, to provide knowledge through mentors and experienced businessmen. There are trade- specific seminars also conducted, to provide professionals with in- depth information on specific professions. Career based programs held by professional development institutions are very helpful in deciding the best career option available.

The Purpose of Education – Creating Responsible, Productive Citizens

“The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards”. – Anatole France

The purpose of education is to create responsible, productive and socially contributing citizens – people who can provide for their own families as well as contribute to their communities. As Toffler says, education in the 21st century should allow people to learn, unlearn and relearn. But I am not sure our schools and colleges are committed to this.

Education is one of the most unscientific human endeavors. You do well in school to get into a good college and earn a good degree. A good degree is supposed to be a passport to a good job. Based on your educational qualifications, you can climb to a reasonably high position without having to demonstrate any exceptional ability.

Beyond that, however, you may have problems. There is no established link between your performance in school and your performance in a job. Even more importantly, there is no link between your performance on the job and your performance in life.

To be true to purpose, education should support a child develop three fundamental capabilities:

1. Discover, develop and continually evolve a vision to become a useful member of society:

Many of us have an advantage – our parents envision our future for us, driving us to work towards achieving this vision. However, this is not as common among the poor. The education system has to step in to help everyone create this vision, and to build even the poor child’s confidence to pursue the vision.

Balaji Sampath, who runs Eureka Child – an NGO committed to improving literacy and math ability in government schools, told us a touching story in this context. Coming back from the US to do something meaningful in education, he immersed himself in local issues by spending a few months in a village. He was in a village classroom when a child asked the teacher whether it was possible to travel to the moon. “You and I cannot fly to the moon,” the teacher answered. “But scientists in the U.S. can…” We must stop robbing our children of goals and dreams.

2. Understand that questions are more important than answers:

Our education system places undue emphasis on providing answers – often to questions that children do not have. In other words, too often we teach children concepts without context; we need to show them why learning is important. We need to focus on awakening kids’ natural curiosity and teaching them to love learning. A good way to do this is to place children in natural experiences or in games where they can ask questions. In these settings, learning is immediate and strong. Learning can be a structured discovery process, offering students varied learning outcomes – just as our situations and decisions later in life offering different outcomes.

For example, an NGO in Mumbai went to schools with an experiment to teach students about water conservation. The pupils measured the amount of water consumed while brushing their teeth with the tap open, and then again with the tap off. Imagine, if we all learn this type of lesson in school, how we can apply the principles to so many other aspects of our home and work later in life.

3. Learning to Learn:

The world is evolving too fast for schools and colleges to keep up. What is being taught is inadequate and outdated, or will be soon. It is important that children are encouraged to discover answers on their own – through the Internet, through experimenting and by having access to experts on the cutting edge of every field.

It is important that students learn the scientific method –

(a) creating a hypothesis based on observations,

(b) designing and conducting experiments to prove or disprove these hypotheses and

(c) arriving at conclusions while recognizing that the conclusions could change with additional information.

With the level of knowledge available in the world today, it is also important to exercise judgment what to learn, and how and when you need to learn it. We need to teach kids when to rely on their own judgments,, and when to rely on the expertise of others. Our children must learn that even when you outsource the effort, you retain responsibility over the result.

What do you think? Do you agree with these ideas about the critical capabilities that our children need? Is our educational system addressing this? Do share your thoughts and experiences with all of us.