“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” The importance of education to a nation can not be over emphasized, in most parts of the world education is regarded as a fundamental human right. Education is one of the basic criteria to measure the growth and development of any nation. If you want to destroy a nation kill their Education.
Sadly the level, quality and standard of education in Nigeria has witnessed a geometric drop in the past two decades and this unfortunate trend has made Nigeria the leading country of origin of students from Africa migrating to other parts of the world in search of quality education.
Sometimes I wonder Nigerian student do well abroad, they make exploits and sometimes are one of the best students in Europe and other part of the world but when they are here, they don’t perform up to standard. They are not well utilized and the best in them is not brought out.
Today , i will be addressing the possible issues responsible for this and the possible solutions to this problem. why is Nigeria Educational system lacking behind? Why is it that we produced half baked graduates from colleges and universities?
Almajiris, dropouts, migrant groups such as nomads, fishermen, farmers, pastorals, etc. Given all these programmes, there are yet lots of challenges affect the management of ANFE in Nigeria which hinders full implementation of all this programmes; such as poor funding, inadequate provision of human and material resources, politicizing ANFE, lack of professionals in the field, inadequate and unstable facilitators, problem of staff development and training, inadequate programmes monitoring, evaluation and supervision, etc (Adeyinka, 2010). Therefore, adequate attention, priority and efforts must be channelled towards ANFE which is imperative as spring board to develop and improve human capacity development and aid individuals to attain sustainable livelihood.
Apart from the technical difficulties, most of the universities are also in crisis and rely on foreign donors even for education, the infrastructure of most schools is in collapse; professors moving abroad for better salaries has affected the online education in sub Saharan Africa. Most professors who could have trained to teach online programs are living abroad and the population numbers of students are growing hugely day by day (Adeyinka, 2013). In Nigeria, for instance, there is online university but no teachers to efficiently teach the courses.
It is interesting to note that a few decades after the publication of the Phelps-Stokes and Advisory Committees Reports, particularly after World War II, slight adjustments were made in schools’ curriculum which was slightly oriented towards African life. But the progress in this direction was not remarkable, for as late as the 1960s, education in African schools, particularly in Nigerian Universities, was still ” too literary, not practical, not adapted to the needs of a developing agricultural nation, ” (Adeyinka, 2002). The word of Ajayi and Obidi (2005) is apposite here when they asserted that this type of academic education only ” tends to produce proud, lazy people who dislike manual labour and prefer white-collar jobs.
There are so many other problems which would be highlighted below.
- POOR FUNDING: Education in Nigeria is overseen by the Ministry Of Education. Local authorities take responsibility for implementing policy for state-controlled public education and state schools at a regional level. This makes funding of education basically a governmental affair. Due to the long existing high level of corruption in all levels of government, education in Nigeria has always suffered inappropriate funding which has led to poor infrastructure, absence of good teaching aids, and non payment of teachers allowances. Also, a sharp decline in crude oil prices which is the major source of government revenue has plummeted the country into a recession which has led to severe cuts in government spending, further worsening the poor funding situation of Nigeria’s education system.This has led to strike actions, school closure and massive students protests all over the country. The financial crisis also dried up scholarship funds for foreign study, placing constraints on international student flow from Nigeria.
- UNAVAILABILITY OF QUALIFIED TEACHER: In Nigeria, the poor working condition, poor remuneration and allowances the teachers are subjected to have discouraged capable and qualified teachers from taking up teaching jobs, they rather apply for other better paying jobs than teaching, while the few teachers who have taken up the teaching profession did so due to lack of better jobs, hence, their low level of dedication as they are always on the look out for greener pastures.This directly affects output as the quality of education is drastically reduced by this menace.
- FAILURE TO ACCOMMODATE THE RISING POPULATION DEMANDS: The total population of Nigeria as at independence stands at 45.2 million, but this isn’t the case now as the country has witnessed an astronomical rise in it’s population. As at 2015, Nigeria’s population was estimated to be 182.2 million, this is a major problem for the country as the education system have not been able to fully enroll its rapidly rising population. For instance, Nigeria’s basic education sector is overburdened by strong population growth. In 2015, the country’s population under the age of 15 was about 44 percent. The system fails to integrate large parts of this growing youth population. According to the United Nations, 8.73 million elementary school- aged children in 2010 did not participate in education at all, most of which were the almajiri children. They constitute the largest group of out-of- school children in Nigeria. These boys are sent to Qur’anic teachers to receive an Islamic education, which includes vocational or apprenticeship training. Some are involved in street begging. The Ministry of Education estimated that there were 9.5 million almajiri children in the northern part of the country in 2010, making Nigeria the country with the highest number of out-of-school children in the world. The net enrollment rate at the elementary level was 63.8 percent compared to a global average of 88.8 percent. This low rate of enrollment to basic education in Nigeria has further increased illiteracy level in Nigeria. The country in 2015 had a youth literacy rate of 72.8 percent and an adult literacy rate of 59.6 percent compared to global rates of 90.6 percent and 85.3 percent in 2010 respectively (data reported by the World Bank).
- ACADEMIC FRAUD, CORRUPTION AND INDISCIPLINE: In Nigeria, there have been numerous reports of corruption and indiscipline in Nigeria’s education system, most especially in the higher institutions where cases of cultism in schools have been on the rise as well as bribery to pass exams. Academic fraud is endemic at all levels of education. Other forms of academic misconducts that has plagued the Nigerian education system ranges from cheating during examinations to more serious inglorious acts such as impersonation, falsifying academic records, paying for grades or certificates with gifts, money or sexual favors, terrorizing examiners and assaulting invigilators e.t.c.
POOR TEACHER’S WELFARE: This is another major problem affecting the level of education in Nigeria. It is one of the consequences of both poor funding and corruption. Poor salary scale and bonuses, as well as irregular payments of salaries, are the problems that teachers face in Nigeria. It is a sad practice that teachers have to take industrial actions before they get their salaries.
LACK OF DEDICATIONS FROM TEACHERS: This is a direct effect of the poor welfare of the teachers. Teaching is not seen as a lucrative job. So, not many people want to become teachers or to stay in the profession. The ones that are teachers now in most cases are not dedicated, some even hate their jobs. Most of the teachers in Nigeria have another businesses to support them and their families. This way, they spend more time attending their businesses than they do in class. Some even do their businesses in schools like selling of clothes and other things.
POOR INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRAINING FACILITIES: Most schools and institutions in Nigeria are in very bad conditions. In most states, the teaching environment is not conducive. The buildings are in bad shape and most of them lack teaching materials. Schools lack practical or technical facilities. Lack of standard and up to date practical facilities makes education to be rather theoretical and quantitative than qualitative.
CORRUPTION: Corruption in Nigeria affects every sector of the government including the educational sector. This occurs in the educational system an a high rate at every level. Taking bribes is practiced not only by politicians but also by people in the educational system including school authorities. Funds meant for education infrastructure, salary payments, maintenance, and running of schools and institutions are being diverted and mismanaged. Also, the collection of bribes by lecturers and teachers is not a secret anymore. According to the report by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), corruption is endemic in Nigerian Universities today and there is a lack of political will to deal with it
SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEMS
The first step forward towards reviving the educational system lies in the hands of the government. Necessary steps need to be taken in order to restructure and save the sector. The government at all levels needs to commit to the delivering of a competitive standard of education across the country and with other countries. Also, the right investments need to be done in order to get the desired results.
Adequate funding with good management will provide high-quality education in Nigeria. Funds for renovation of schools and institution, acquiring quality training facilities, research grants, decent teachers’ salaries and welfare, etc. are the things that need to be increased, released and spent appropriately.
The level of corruption in education ministries and regulatory bodies needs to be taken seriously and tackled. The level of exam malpractices needs to be curbed by a joint effort of the government and examination regulatory bodies. The teaching curriculum needs to be reviewed and updated. It needs to be more practical and research based. Teachers salaries must be reviewed and improved.
Fair wages will also motivate teachers to do their job on a high-quality level. Also, there should be regular payments of teachers’ salaries. This will attract qualified and dedicated teachers to public schools and will change the attitude of young people towards the teaching profession and youth will study to become teachers.
Proper training of teachers with current and up to date materials and technology also will improve the condition of education in Nigeria. Necessary vetting measures should be taken to make sure that only qualified teachers are employed.
Admissions into tertiary institutions should be based solely on merit level. In conclusion, we will be able to see real changes in the level of education in Nigeria, when power will belong to visionary and selfless leaders who understand the importance of quality education. Our future is in our hands.