Recent developments in the education sector leave much to be desired. It has been discovered in NYSC camps that some graduates cannot read. Some NYSC camps are equally fake. Add these to a report attributed to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, which states that Nigeria's illiteracy rate is about 45 per cent.
There is abundant reason to be alarmed, more so as it is now a common phenomenon to find people who peddle certificates they cannot defend.
There is need for not just government but all stakeholders in education to declare a state of emergency in the sector. Unarguably, the problem has a lot to do with corruption that has led to systemic failure in our society today. Yet, an uneducated society is simply a doomed society.
The rate of growth and development of every nation is anchored on its level of education. This is why Nigeria must invest more in education, especially on teachers, infrastructure and equipment to make learning conducive and available. Education should be a right and not a privilege -- every Nigerian capable of learning should be encouraged to do so.
The past decades have witnessed a steady decline in our education system: from being amongst the first five in the African continent, we got to missing the ranks in the first 300. There does not appear to be any concerted effort at developing the system. In this era of globalisation, the world is fast becoming a village. Nigeria, of course, is not insulated from the issues that determine the dialectics of globalisation. It is absolutely necessary for the country to evaluate its state of affairs in this regard and steer its ship in the right direction.
At the primary and secondary levels, the system suffers lack of regulation in their syllabi and methods of imparting knowledge; there is abundance of unqualified teachers at all levels of the system. Some private schools have adequate teaching aids and teachers but their exorbitant fees leave the majority out. The public schools, which the majority patronise, are poorly equipped and manned by people who are barely literate themselves.
At the tertiary level, the picture is even more pathetic. Theatres and classes constructed to accommodate 30-70 students are stretched to accommodate hundreds of students at a time. Where the student-teacher ratio should be five to one, we have 30 students to one lecturer. This is just tragic.
There is the issue of policy somersaults that have resulted in total destabilisation of the system right from its roots. There is usually no sufficient transition period between change in policies and takeoff of new programmes. We call on the government and patriotic citizens driven by understanding of development dynamics to address the problems facing the system now for the sake of our collective survival. Efforts to revamp the education sector can neither be too much nor too expensive.