The quality of education in any country is one of the major keys to national development. The decline in the quality and standard of education in Nigeria is alarming. We’ll try to highlight the leading causes for poor state of education in our country and possible ways out.
Nigeria runs a federation system so the Nigerian education system is overseen by Ministry of Education. The federal government controls public schools while state schools are controlled at the regional levels. The education system at the federal level is managed by the Ministry of Education. This includes management of federal universities and schools. State public schools and tertiary institutions are controlled regionally by the Ministry at the state level. This implies that the standard of education across states differs depending on the quality each state can deliver.
READ ALSO: History of Western Education in Nigeria.
Problems of education in Nigeria
Public education problems in Nigeria are so many but we’ll try to highlight the major ones. We have prepared a list of problems in education for your attention.
Poor governance and management
One thing that has crippled most sectors in Nigeria today is poor governance. The educational sector is not an exception. The government's attitude towards crucial problems of education, especially its quality, is lackadaisical. This situation can be noticed on every level of government. Basic universal education suffers most because primary education is neither fully controlled by the federal government, nor by the state or the local government.
Poor funding and neglect of the education sector
Education in Nigeria is poorly funded. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recommends that 26% of the nation’s budget should be allocated to the educational sector. This way, the educational sector will have a good impact on the national development. According to the analysis done by a leading media outlet “Daily Trust” in 2016, the joint expenditure of the federal and 33 state governments on education is 8.44% of their total budget for the year. Also, there is a huge gap in the funding of education at the different levels of the government.
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.
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.
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 dedication of 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.
Lack of high performers
It is not a secret that there are teachers in Nigeria schools especially at the primary education level that are either unqualified or underqualified. There have been cases when teachers can't speak English properly. Also, most teachers lack the proper training in order to pass across quality education.
High level of exam malpractices
There is an alarming rate of exam malpractices in Nigeria. They are practiced both by student and teachers. The inability of the government to curb this has caused a serious decline in the quality of the Nigerian education system products (level of knowledge).
Solutions to education in Nigeria
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. Turn the flashlights on yourself!