Education is the foundation of national development. Look for a country experiencing technological and economic advancement and you will find one that pays attention to its educational system. Sadly, education in Nigeria is plagued by a truckload of problems. If the Nigerian government can find a means to begin tackling the problems of the educational system in Nigeria, many other problems such as poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, robbery, hooliganism, will be reduced drastically.
Educational System in Nigeria: Problems & Prospects
This article highlights problems and prospects of the educational system in Nigeria, read on below:
The foremost and greatest challenges facing the educational system in Nigeria is inadequate funding by the levels of government; federal, state, and local government. Every sector needs money in order to flourish. Learning equipment such as books, furniture, etc. need to be bought, salaries need to be paid and other essential expenses need to be catered for. The quality and standard of education in Nigeria is poor because those in government do not place much value on education and would prefer spending money on other sectors such as political activities and infrastructures. According to UNESCO, the standard cut for education in the national budget is 26%. During the Nigerian military era, education received as low as 13%. Many democratic governments after this have not done up to 13%. In 2001, the government allocated 8% to education. In 2004, the Federal Government’s allocated just 5.6% of the budget to education. In 2018, just 7.04% of the 8.6 trillion 2018 budget was allocated to education. These cuts are not enough to cater to the needs and demands of the educational sector.
Poor governance and management of resources, including the educational sector have contributed to the crippling of the educational system. Most ministries are not properly governed to make sure workers do their work rightly. The attitude of most workers as well as the government to education is poor which thus affects the quality of education.
Corruption remains the root of all evils in Nigeria, and the educational sector is not an exception. Corruption is not only found at the level of government where funds often released for the actualization of projects in the educational sector are used to serve personal interests or where lawmakers are reluctant to pass budgets on policies if they have not been bribed. Corruption is also found at the grassroots educational levels where lecturers collect bribes from students in exchange for good grades, admission seekers bribe school administrators so as to get admission into universities, etc. Also, funds meant for salaries of staff and maintenance of educational infrastructures are mismanaged by those in charge. The corruption cuts across all levels of education; primary, secondary, universities, both private and public.
Politicization of Education
The government especially at the state level attempt to run many educational institutions than they can afford. The existing schools then are below standard. Also, state governments give accreditation to many private schools that are not up to standard, just so they can make more revenue for their personal pockets.
Lack of Infrastructure
Many subjects and courses in schools require the appropriate equipment so as to be taught well. Courses such as chemistry, engineering, or music require practical exercises. Unfortunately, schools and other vocational institutions in Nigeria lack the equipment needed to teach such subjects well. Students who study such courses are not given adequate training to compete with students from other countries. Some other schools in Nigeria lack basic equipment such as a conducive classroom, chairs, and tables, talk less of libraries and laboratories. Many schools also lack teaching aids to facilitate learning. Teaching aids are devices used by a teacher to help students understand better. Teaching aids include audio, video, books, DVDs, Projectors, and other materials. The unavailability of these aids makes teaching difficult for the teacher and learning uninteresting for the children.
The educational system in Nigeria is now marked by much indiscipline such as examination malpractices, cultism, etc. This has contributed to the decay of the educational system as schools are no more conducive for learning and students are no longer concerned about academic excellence.
It is unfortunate that many parents also add up to the decay of the educational system. Some do not value education and so do not provide enough support and care for their wards. Also, some parents do not encourage their wards to study hard. There are reports of many examination centers in Nigeria where parents pay for their wards to be awarded good grades in SSCE –WAEC /NECO/JAMB.
The Nigerian educational system lacks a stable curriculum that will be a standard for providing quality education to the learners. The unstable curriculum owes to frequent changes in government policies as regards education. Therefore, most teachers do not have a stable and coherent plan and structure for teaching.
Unwillingness to Study Education at the Tertiary level
Sadly, the most important sector aspect of a nation, education is often looked down upon. When you get to most Nigerian universities, you will find that many never want to study educational courses. Most youths are uninterested in the teaching profession. However, it is very surprising that many graduates end up in the teaching profession. We have many who are teaching and are not trained in the practice of teaching and this also affects the quality of education.
Teachers in Nigeria are not well paid. In addition to the poor salary, their salaries are delayed and they are not provided with basic welfare packages. There is also the issue of divided commitment and dedication because of poor remuneration. In higher institutions, teachers go on strikes often, and when this happens, the students are asked to go home which results in them spending longer years than is supposed to be, studying for a course.
The high rate of poverty in Nigeria also adds up to the problem of education in Nigeria. Most homes can barely survive and thus find is extremely difficult to send their children to school. Higher learning is even much worse as most people cannot further their education because of the high rate of school fees.