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The Necessity of Teaching Critical Thinking in African Schools

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By Leo Igwe

The realization of a more critical thinking African society must start in the schools and with the schools because schools are spaces where values, skills, and competencies are nurtured. Schools are places where the minds of children and youths are shaped and nourished. There have been propositions for young people to think critically, and to question ideas and beliefs. But propositions are mere words and empty rhetoric if they are not backed by actions and effective programmes. Many have urged against blind faith and belief in received knowledge. They have stressed the importance of openness to new ideas and opposing viewpoints. But such urges have yet to translate into critical mindedness. People have argued against a dogmatic approach to issues, to social and cultural norms. But those arguments usually end up as mere talks, and some armchair speculations.

The habit of questioning ideas has been widely acknowledged as important and necessary in navigating and making sense of the deluge of information that people encounter in their everyday life. Being critical has been lauded as a needed virtue in distinguishing truth from falsehood, fake from genuine news, credible information from misinformation and disinformation. Having a critical mind has been identified as an asset, or a potent weapon against deception, gullibility, and manipulation by con-artists and snake oil salesmen. Critical mindedness has been noted as the antidote to fanaticism and bigotry. Unfortunately, there are no programmes devoted to teaching and inculcating critical thinking skills, especially in the primary and secondary schools. Critical thinking features too little too late in the course of education. And there is little appetite to reform the educational system to reflect these values and sentiments. Critical thinking is taught only at the tertiary level. At this stage, the minds of students have been made up. Many students are less open and seldom disposed to question and interrogate ideas in all areas of human endeavor. Simply put, at the tertiary level, students resist or are inclined to resist critical evaluations.

READ ALSO: Ethnic and Religious Hatred and the Deceitful Campaigns in Nigeria By Salihu Moh. Lukman

Such resistance happens because religious indoctrination constitutes the first mode of instruction that children receive before they are sent to get a formal education in quasi-religious primary, secondary and university schools. So child upbringing leaves little room for critical inquiry. There are no programmes to encourage children and young people to question ideas. That is why it is necessary to introduce critical thinking as a subject in primary and secondary schools. Teaching critical thinking in primary schools will enable children to learn very early to exercise their curiosity and inquisitiveness. Children need to understand that learning is not only through memorization but also via interrogation of ideas. Teachers need to learn that teaching is not only about delivering content to students, who must regurgitate them during examinations but also providing opportunities for students to question contents that are delivered in the class. So schools need to have a subject that is strictly devoted to getting students to generate questions for questions’ sake. Incidentally, what goes on in the classrooms and schools at the moment is generating questions for answers’ sake. Critical thinking is set to contribute to the improvement of teaching and learning in African schools. It will help deemphasize the traditional role of teachers as question-posers and generators. It will help change the impression that students as answer-suppliers and providers.

In a critical thinking class, students are the generators of questions, and interrogators of ideas and answers. The role of teachers is to stimulate the curiosity of students, and to provoke and nudge them to pose questions, not to provide answers. Any purported answer or solution is a material for questioning and interrogation. The subject of critical thinking is set to improve the quality of education in Africa. African countries must take necessary measures to introduce this subject starting from the primary school level.

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Ooni Opens Up On Meeting With Buhari Over Igboho

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Ooni Opens Up On Meeting With Buhari Over Igboho

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja II, has disclosed what transpired during his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari over Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho.

In an interview with BBC, the monarch said the agitator rejected advice offered him by monarchs sent to dialogue with him.

Ooni said that during the meeting, Buhari was informed of the reasons for Igboho’s agitation.

In his reaction, Buhari said Igboho needed to be “calm and patient”.

The president also asked monarchs in the South-West to advise Igboho against moves that were lawless.

The monarch, who said Igboho had a just cause to fight, said he should have been more diplomatic.

READ ALSO: Buhari Launches Digital Currency eNaira

He alleged that Igboho was misled by politicians, insisting that the activist deserved the support of monarchs in the region.

Ooni said he had forgiven Igboho and already working to get him freed from detention in Benin Republic.

He urged other Yoruba Nation agitators to consider dialogue.

He said: “I have always told the government to call the agitators for a dialogue. Sunday Igboho grew up in Ife. All that he has become today, started from Ife. He fought the Ife and Modakeke war and both lands belong to Ife. He is a son of the soil.

“He wanted to fight for his kinsmen. He stood up and fought for those killed in Oke Ogun. We thank God for preserving his life. He tried his best but he was overwhelmed by different pieces of advice from people.

“Many people advised him wrongly. He listened to them.

“I visited President Buhari on his case and we discussed it. I told him that Igboho is our son, he told me that he (Igboho) should stay calm and exercise patience. The president told me that monarchs should warn him to be calm.

“After I left Buhari’s place, I called on monarchs and elders of Yoruba land for a meeting to advise Igboho to exercise patience but Igboho did not listen. He started abusing everyone, including the monarchs I sent to him.

“He hurled so many bad words but he is still our son. God owns forgiveness. We’ve forgiven him. If he had listened, he wouldn’t have found himself in his current travail.

“We are trying our best to secure his release.

READ ALSO: Ooni Warns Against Communal Crisis Over Modakeke Killings

“It is better to fight together. We can only achieve our goal if we are united.

“No one can fight with the government alone. You’ve to be diplomatic.”

 

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Bandits Kill 17 In Mosque

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Bandits Kill 17 In Mosque

Seventeen people were killed as bandits invaded a mosque in Maza Kuka village in Mashegu local government area of Niger State.

Also, 18 people were said to have been abducted during the attack on Monday morning.

The gunmen invaded the community on motorcycles while the residents were performing their morning prayers, shooting sporadically into the air.

Sources said that the gunmen shot at some victims, leaving 17 dead.
Some of the residents said on phone they were still in shock over the attack, which they said took them by surprise.

The Maza Kuka and Kulhu communities in Mashegu local government council of Niger State are bordering Kianji Lake Forest where most of the bandits are said to be taking refuge.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Will Be In Ruins If Bandits Are Declared As Terrorists – Gumi

The Secretary to the Niger State Government, Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, confirmed the attack to reporters.

He said that 16 people were killed in the mosque while one other was killed at Kaboji village by the gunmen.

Matane said that the State Government had sent a team of military personnel to the forest to fish out bandits hiding there.

The Chairman of Mashegu local government council, Alhaji Alhassan Isa Maza-Kuka also confirmed the incident, describing it as very devastating to the people.

He said that the attack was uncalled for especially as the people were in the mosque for prayers.

Alhassan disclosed that one of the injured people was in a critical condition and had been referred to the Minna General Hospital for medical attention.

 

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Federal University, Lokoja Honours Toyin Falola, Holds Conference

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Federal University, Lokoja Honours Toyin Falola, Holds Conference

The Department of History and International Studies, Federal University, Lokoja will hold a national conference in honour of renowned historian Prof. Toyin Falola.

The theme of the conference is “Insurgency, Armed Banditry, And Ethno-religious Conflicts In Central Nigeria.”

The event billed for 10:00 a.m. on November 10, 2021 at the University Auditorium, Adankolo Campus, is one of the ceremonies of the fifth convocation of the university.

Falola is a Professor of African History and Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin , U.S.A.

Prof. Falola’s research interest is African history and the geographic areas of interest include Africa, Latin America, and the United States. Falola’s thematic fields include Atlantic history, diaspora and migration, empire and globalization, intellectual history, international relations, religion and culture.

Beyond his academic pursuits, Falola who is author and editor of more than one hundred books, makes regular interventions in the simmering and overt socioeconomic and political crises of his country Nigeria and continent Africa.

 

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