Education reform: Catholic Church to engage artisans, skilled workers in primary schools

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Amid concerns over dwindling quality of products being churned out by educational institutions in Nigeria, the Catholic Primary Education Commission of Enugu Diocese is poised to employ artisan skilled workers to teach primary school pupils basic skills and technical education.

Secretary of the commission, Very Rev. Fr. Michael Okoh made the disclosure, on Sunday, when the St. Joseph School of basic Skills and Development Ugwogo-Nike, was commissioned by the Auxiliary Bishop of Enugu Catholic Diocese, Most Rev. Ernest Obodo.

Performing the official commissioning and blessing of the school, Most Rev. Ernest Obodo said that the skills development school will uplift education standard, noting that in other climes, children begin from the cradle to combine learning with practical handcraft.

Obodo said that skills education creates faster employment and generates wealth and prayed to God to use the school to bring glory and upliftment to the people of Ugwogo-Nike community.

“We congratulate Rev. Fr. Michael Okoh for the beautiful school, one of the best in Nigeria, it will now uplift education standard in Ugwogo. In other climes children begin from cradle to learn how to practice handcraft. That will generate employment and wealth creation,” Bishop Obodo said.

Founder of the School and Secretary of Catholic Primary Education Commission in Enugu Diocese, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Michael Okoh said he was motivated into establishing the school because had been in charge of the management of the mission primary education since 2013 and found a missing gap in children’s education.

According to Rev. Fr. Okoh, “My long time study of primary education shows that there are so many important subjects they do right from primary one, even up to JS3, very good to our children but those subjects are not handled very well. They are just done theoretically and not practical.

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“Because the practical aspect is lacking, the children do not implement that, after school or even while at school, so that made me to think how we can make it possible so that a child will finish maybe primary six , even JS3 and be self employed and become an entrepreneur, so that you don’t begin to look for work anywhere.

“That made me begin to look into those subjects that one can also practically handle such as Basic science and Technology that covers a lot of things that one can practically do such as electrical works and solar installation is also into that and then computer is also technology and it will help our children very well.

‘There is also the prevocational study which is vocational studies but because our children are not grounded practically they come out and there are a lot of skills related to that such as Fashion and Designing and so many other crafts. You can also talk about cultural and creative arts; music is there, playing of organ, recorders and others.

“So because of that I decided to set up this school so that we can now combine basic education with skills development whereby the basic education system will be going on in basic 1, 2 and 3, children will be learning how to form syllabus and words and when they get to primary four, basic 4 basic 5 and basic 6 they can then be introduced to these various workshops and various skills, from there they can now continue so that before ever they finish JS3 they would have been trained very well in one thing or the other,” he said.

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Rev. Fr. Okoh disclosed that the school will employ artisans who would teach the pupils various technical skills in the very practical manner that they are done in the outside society workshops, noting that as a mission school, the cost of education will be subsidized.

According to him, the school has skills departments such as Integrated Farming; Home Economics department; Carpentry and Upholstery department; Music department; Fashion and Designing; Electrical and Solar Installation department; Computer and Internet department and Solution Production department.

“We are going to draw a curriculum and scheme of work for all these workshops, and we can be getting artisans, doing that theoretically, we can be getting artisans who have knowledge and also help us, they will be coming to help the children and train them. Going through the curriculum and the scheme of work, they can now use it with what they already know practically in order to help them out.

“The teacher for Upholstery and Carpentry will be coming maybe once a week, the teacher will come and demonstrate practically and go and other teachers in other departments will be coming like that, so that if one is not good in wood work, he may be good in electrical works. If he is not good there, he may be good in Home Economics or even Fashion and designing or even in integrated farming,” he noted.

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Meanwhile, delivering a paper on “The Role of Education in Community Development: Celebrating the Selflessness of a Genuine Soul-Blessing of St. Joseph School of Basic Skills Development (SJS) Ugwogo-Nike,” Rev. Fr. Nnaemeka Udeonu said that the school had the capacity to increase access to university education for future skilled children who could eventually be of serious help in reduction of the financial burdens associated with university education.

“Akuruouno is truly pregnant with a lot of meaning that has the capacity to transform Ugwogo Nike into an unbeatable example of a Modern city. The selflessness of Very Rev. Fr, Dr. Michael Ndubuisi Okoh is an excellent example and unbeatable motivation in this regard,” Rev Fr Udeonu said.

In a remark, the House of Representative member for Enugu East/Isi-Uzo Federal Constituency, Hon. Cornelius Nnaji said that the school came at the right time when there is a lack of jobs for the younger Nigerians.

“The school is good because there are no more jobs, but with a skills school such as this, a foundation for job creation is already made.

‘Rev Fr. Ukoh had done a similar thing in Nchatacha-Nike because of his passion for education of children and the youths and we thank him for these personal efforts,” Nnaji stated.



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