What Is Responsible For The Nigeria Education Problem?
The Nigeria education problem is a great cause for concern as it gets worse. Malcolm X said, “education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” However, can tomorrow belong to knowledge-seeking Nigerians when education is a halfhearted affair in this country?
Is This Fear Mongering Or Do We Really Have A Nigeria Education Problem?
In 2018, the Kaduna State government sacked a whopping 22,000 teachers. This was after the state governor received a report from the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN), which showed that 83 percent of the teachers scored less than 25 percent in Maths and literacy exams. They did not have the requisite skills and qualifications to teach, the governor concluded. However, this problem is not exclusive to Kaduna State. Across Nigeria, the public schools brim with teachers who have no care for their students. These teachers are still dependent on outdated curriculums.
Federal colleges once used to be so prestigious that students often spent years studying to get admitted. However, the standard of education in federal schools have equally become poor. Private schools are now on board. But these private schools, whether at Primary or Secondary or University level, are for those who can afford to pay their hefty school fees. Consequently, a large chunk of Nigeria's population go to government-owned schools or cheaply run private schools. It is a choice between a rock and a hard place. But either way, what is absolutely sure, is that the quality of the education anywhere they end up between the two is ultimately substandard.
Here Are Causes of The Nigeria Education Problem:
- A lot of theories and not enough practicals creates an education conflict
Students will remember how they used a specific apparatus in a lab long after they have forgotten what the teacher told them about how to use it. Most schools in Nigeria struggle to find a balance between theories and practicals. Visit any secondary during Physical Health Education and you'll most likely find students running around on an open field, no gym room to actually show them the formula for healthy exercises. And if it is during classes, you may find the Chemistry teacher in front of the class combining chemicals theoretically. There are no labs to take the students to actually try these things out for themselves.
Instability of teachers
During the compulsory one year service of Nigerian graduates under the National Youth Service Corps, corp members are posted to public and private schools. This scheme has fostered a reluctance in many school managements to employ permanent teachers. They prefer to wait for the government to send them corp members for free labor. And so every year the classes are subjected to new faces and new methods of teaching.
This also manifests in the universities, although in a different way. In Nigeria many professors lecture in three to four universities across the country, taking three different courses at the same time. This results in lecturers having way too little time.
The incompetence of teachers creates problems in Nigeria's Education System
A lot of Nigerian teachers are simply not knowledgeable enough to teach students. Each year, universities produce millions of half-baked graduates who then, because of lack of employment, revert to the classrooms to teach. It is a vicious cycle, and you can only give what you have.
Strikes by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has become so recurrent in Nigeria that it is believed by many that no student can go through the system without experiencing a delay by one or two of these indefinite strikes actions. According to a statistics report in 2018, the budget cut for the education sector was below 10%, and so ASUU is always fighting to get more funding from the government. Consequently, this results in unending strike actions.
Politicization kills merit and the spirit of hard work. The admission process and the post UME becomes a hoax, because you have highly placed individuals taking slots in the number of students to be admitted each year so they can bring in their own people. They sometimes go as far as reassigning scores. And for a lot of those students, when they get admitted what keeps them performing is that same connection. How can other students aspire for excellence when they know that others are simply corners?
Nonexistent teacher-student relationship
In many schools, there are more than 250 people in a single classroom. Due to this large class size, teacher to student relationships suffer. To the teacher the students are just a number. He might find it cumbersome to make the effort for any kind of closer relationship with every single one of them. This disinterest only festers with time. When the teacher comes in to teach and only those in front of the class can hear him, those behind might grow disillusioned and simply conclude that the class is boring.
A lot of students depend on cheating to get through school. And because of the cost of education and the fear of course deficits, which might lead to more time in school, students in collaboration with the parents and lecturers will go to any length to ensure that it doesn't happen. Some lectures even go ahead and ask for fees in order to push students through.
We advocate for a time where our children can get quality education in Nigeria. This can be achieved if we let go of outdated systems and instead, imbibe innovative methods. A system where teaching is regarded as not just an honourable job but treated as one. Because this would help get more people into the system who are truly passionate about teaching.