The word excellence has been defined by various educationists, groups and corporate organizations to mean different things depending on how they perceive the idea of excellence relating to their course and vision.
However, these differences have not in any way distorted the foundational meaning of excellence and the clarity it offers when encountered and reiterated.
For this piece, I will stick to the definition offered by Lexico just for the fact that it offers neutrality to its definition. Lexico defined excellence (a noun) as something outstanding or extremely good.
Therefore, when the word “excellence” is referred to, it is a conscious attempt to portray a picture of something extremely good, out of the normal, something abnormally awesome.
One special feature regarding the concept of excellence is the principal recognition that excellence is not a constant state. Excellence is rather a continuous and consistent process.
Education in Nigeria is expected to run on this wheel, expressing excellence at every point of its visible achievement. Education as a tool of enlightenment and societal change possess the capacity to break individual and societal flaws, biases, imperfections, mediocrity, crumminess and ultimately societal badness. The dividends of an excellent education are seen and handled in how an individual and of course, the society has been able to progress from dis-value to gain, from poor infrastructures to better infrastructures, from stone-age to a technology-driven dispensation. Continuous progress is the hallmark of excellence.
Educational excellence is visible in how society has been able to reduce its rate of unemployment, handle the issue of culture and religion, nepotism and the rule of law. It is captured in how society perceives and responds to corruption and corrupt practices.
Educational excellence is the merit that emanates from being educated. It dis-aligns with the satisfaction of merely attending schools and flipping the pages of scholarly opinions and suggested documentation.
Rather it is a mind transformative process that comes with formal training of the human mind and intellect to question the process, to demand accountability and transparency, to stand for the right societal values, to shun mediocrity and demand for societal progress.
The curriculum for educational excellence is not structured to feed and re-feed the minds of the student with ideas that may not be periodically and economically relevant, thereby rendering them societally incompetent; rather it is the act of unlocking the minds of students to be critical thinkers, analysts and creatives, refashioning the world of limitless possibilities.
It is pertinent to note that the goal of educational excellence is not to destroy, rather, the goal is to improve. Educational excellence is simply the act of allowing the merits of education to cause dramatic improvement in almost all endeavours of life, without cultural or political or utterly sentimental barriers.
For our universities to remain competitive in the world, it must embrace educational excellence. It must disallow mediocrity in academics and give room for merits.
According to research, institutions that implement excellence frameworks enjoys a better performance. Further researches have proven that tertiary institutions will achieve better returns on their investment and productivity if they embrace excellence.
Studies have constantly shown that adopting and implementing educational excellence will afford room for massive creativity.
A situation where students’ strive is not limited to obtaining grades and academic credentials but in assuming the ability to create, invent and permutate new things or new processes. Educational excellence will enhance productivity.
The presence of huge activities with little results will be greatly decimated if educational excellence is prioritised. Educational excellence will create effectiveness and efficiency for organizations. Employers will be glad to hire competent employees and employees can receive deserved wages.
Consequently, educational excellence will put the universities on global competition aimed at enhancing innovation and research. The dividends of educational excellence call for swift implementation for a strong societal change.
Educational excellence can be best achieved through collaboration and teamwork. This alliance can be between the schools and the public or private sectors; a partnership between unions and other academic institutions, groups and associations.
Excellence is a fusion of positive energy. It is a cross-bred of wild but valid intentions and ideas aimed at distorting the old to create the new or improving the old. Educational excellence holds the key to economic growth and development.
Policy-makers and educational authorities in the country ought to regularly assess the state of education and work out effective modalities that will allow educational excellence to become the force driving the need for formal education.