FG, stakeholders to tackle “Hurried Child Syndrome” in schools

By Justina Auta

Federal Ministry of Education says it will collaborate with
critical stakeholders to tackle the trend of Hurried Child Syndrome (HCS) among parents and schools.

The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, made this known at a Stakeholders’ Town
Hall meeting in Abuja on Thursday with the theme: “The Hurried Child Syndrome: Implications
for Sustainable National Development.”

The event was organised by a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) — A Mothers Love Initiative (AMIL),
in collaboration with National Orientation Agency (NOA).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Hurried Child Syndrome is the condition in which parents
over-schedule their children’s lives, push them hard for academic achievement, and expect them to act and
react like miniature adults.

The minister, who was represented by Mr Adekola Ben, the Deputy Director, Senior Secondary Education
Department in the ministry, therefore, said “rushing and pushing the education of children by parents and schools must stop.”

He described the trend as “counterproductive and distorting the natural growth and development of children.

“Most pupils transit from primary five or even primary four to secondary school. This leaves most schools
without the primary six classes.

“This unhealthy trend is also found in the Senior Secondary School where students in SSI and SS2
sit for terminal and university entrance examinations.”

Adamu, who attributed the trend to parent’s desire and impatience, misconception of the interpretation
of the Nigerian Education system (6-3-3-4), added that the practice could impact the child and the society negatively.

Other problems, he said, were weak regulatory enforcement of the National Policy on Education,
as well as the lack of sensitisation on the negative impact of the practice.

He said “it is in the light of the foregoing that I urge quality assurance agencies and practitioners to be up and doing
in tackling this menace.”

Also, Prof. Paulinus Okwelle, the Executive Secretary, National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), said
the trend of rushing children in school would sabotage their mental, social and academic development.

Okwelle, who was represented by Mr Razaq Badmus, acting Director, Education Support Services & International Partnership
(ESSIP) Department, NCCE, stressed the need to sensitise the public on the ills of the trend.

Similarly, Mrs Habiba Musa-Jibrin, the Chairman, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), Abuja
Municipal Area Council (AMAC) branch, also stressed the need for implementation of policies and legal backing to stop the trend.

She said “we have to put a stop to this menace, and we currently have a programme on “Rush Push Education” in the last
five years, and it is one of our challenges.

“We feel pained that government is not doing enough to sensitise parents on the gains of going through the normal school system.

“We are limited, we are an association and no matter what we do, we do not have the power to stop the trend.”

On her part, Mrs Hannatu Enwemadu, the Chief Executive Officer of AMIL, said the meeting was to provide platform for
stakeholders to take action and curb the practice of hurrying children during their formative years.

“So, to give this advocacy a national feel, we have to bring it here to Abuja to present the issue nationally.

“We will assess and create awareness among government and inter-government agencies, international bodies, to work for
collaboration and partnership,” she said.

Also, the Lead Speaker, Prof. Olatunde Adekola, Senior Education Specialist, World Bank, encouraged parents to learn
how to distinguish between their own needs from those of the children.

He said “the main thing is to watch the child carefully and try to understand his/her specific needs and capabilities.

“If a child enjoys learning and extracurricular activities, that is great, but if the child is struggling and resistant, it is time
to back off and let him or her take his or her own time to learn as much as he or she can.’’

Adekola was represented by Prof. Simon Yalams  of the Technical and Vocational Education Training Department at Abubakar
Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi.

He said hurrying a child could lead to a wide range of childhood, teenage and adulthood crises such
as stress, depression, anxiety, bed wetting, stammering, among others. (NAN)