Nigeria’s Educational System Needs Maritime Integration – Experts

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Cross section of participants at the Maritime Writes Bootcamp

_As Maritime Writes Project begin 3-days Lagos Bootcamp

As part of efforts to enable the nation attain maritime hub status in Africa, education experts and maritime veterans have encouraged the federal government to integrate maritime into primary and secondary school curriculum in the country.

The Project Coordinator of Maritime Writes Project (MWP), Ezinne Azunna made this call during the opening session of MWP’s 3-day Creative Writing Bootcamp at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Conference Centre, today.

According to her, Nigeria is unlikely to fulfil its aspirations to be a leading maritime nation without imbibing maritime heritages and literature in primary and secondary school education.

“The maritime industry contributes a lot to the Nigerian economy and global trade. Trade is part of the maritime industry and we are all dependant on trade to survive. If a sector contributes hugely to the Nigerian economy, I think it’s time we focus our attention on it. The industry has over 100 professions in it, yet we are looking for youth empowerment. The maritime industry can provide that bridge.”

“If we have maritime education infused into our curriculum, it means we are owning our maritime space and this will enable us do things differently. For a while, Nigeria has been trying to get into the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Governing Council, we can position the nation better by prioritizing elementary maritime education,” the veteran maritime journalist said.

She equally stressed that in the comity of maritime nations, the most successful shipping nations are those that own their maritime space by developing literature and other learning approaches in their educational system.

“In my quest to put together the faculty, we talked to a psychologist and consultant at the University of Texas, who has done a lot of work on Nigeria and she observed that the absence of the literature in a particular sector means that the society does not accept those professions,” Ezinne added.

Also speaking, the Head of Faculty, Maritime Writes Project, Dr. Taiwo Nolas-Alausa stated that initiative has been focused on promoting the Nigerian maritime sector by highlighting how it has enhanced the nation’s economy.

He reaffirmed Ezinne’s call for integration of maritime in Nigeria’s educational curriculum, even as he narrated the success story of a beneficiary of the Maritime Writes Project, Uchenna Ohiaeri whose maritime literary exploits bagged her a scholarship for the African Leadership Academy (ALA) for a 2-week all expense paid trip to Johannesburg, South Africa.

His words: “I’m excited by the progress we have made over the years. Recently, we had the remarkable story of one of our trainees, Uche Ohiaeri who won a scholarship to the African Leadership Academy in South Africa. After winning the award, she attributed her success to her experience at the Maritime Writes Project.”

“This year’s edition is strategically positioned during the summer holidays. We can see the fruits ourselves. Our goal is to birth the next literary exploits in the mould of Chimamanda Adichie, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, among other great literary scholars.”

Taiwo, who is also the Director, Business Relations and Training, LCCI, encouraged the federal government, private and public sector organizations to prioritize the development of young people to enable them become assets to the nation and the world.

During the training session, the Head of Creative Writing Review and Editing Panel, Prof. Adegbite Tobalase, explained that writing is an art and noted that every writer must have a voice, tone and pattern.

“The advantages of good writing skills are enormous. The first advantage is that a good writer can communicate, earn a living via writing, become famous and also teach morals,” he said.

Speaking on the sidelines, one of the participants, Murtadho Musa expressed optimism that the training would enable him sharpen his skills as a budding writer.

The 14-year-old secondary school student, however, added that his dream to become a lawyer has already taken a new shape as he now intends to become a maritime lawyer.

“I have learnt several things about writing today and I’m definitely going to be imbibing what I have learnt to enable me write better stories and good projects especially about maritime,” he said.

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