Education in Nigeria is the shared responsibility of everyone, both government, stakeholders, parents, teachers and the society at large. But it is rather unfortunate that, when the issue of the Nigerian education system is raised, the first thoughts that comes to mind are: decline in standard, deterioration of facilities, examination malpractice, mass promotion syndrome and the likes. However, there is a need for an in-depth study and analysis aimed at educating each and every stakeholders in the educational system on how their actions and inactions have both individually and collectively contributed to the collapsing state of education in Nigeria.
In this article, we would be looking at how each and every individual has contributed to the fallen standard of education in Nigeria, and the possible way forward.
Challenges Facing education in Nigeria
Poor parenting/guidance: poor parenting and guidance is one of the major problem facing education in Nigeria. According to L.O. Odia and S.I Omofonmwan in 2007, they cited that ‘’parenting entails caring, protection, and the provision of basic needs for a child’s up keep in order for him/her to be properly equipped to meet with the challenges of life’’. However, it is saddening that many parents are now involved in encouraging their wards to participate in exam malpractice by means of financing activities in and around the examination venues to effect malpractice, in order to increase the chances of their wards in securing admission into higher institutions. Some of these students even progress in this act in the tertiary institutions.
It is so unfortunate, that the end result of this act is producing ‘’half-baked graduates’’. Graduates who cannot express themselves properly, write good sentence, and graduates who cannot argue constructively. Little wonder, why employers keep saying some Nigerian graduates are unemployable!
Financial constraints: the gross under-funding of the educational sector in the country generally and neglect of the maintenance of physical facilities has contributed to the problems confronting the educational system. If you visit some of the government owned institutions; you would discover the deplorable state of facilities in our tertiary institutions, starting from dilapidated buildings, to inadequate furniture’s, and unconducive learning environment. You would be startled to see the condition under which students receive lectures.
Fall in standard: the concept of acquiring knowledge is supposed to help us fight against illiteracy, ignorance, poverty and diseases. Regrettably, illiteracy and ignorance has become one of the dominating factor in our society. The standard of education in Nigeria has fallen drastically over the years, and the gap between education and ignorance has now broaden. Some of the problems that is associated with the fall in standard of education in Nigeria, is the quality of education received in schools. Little wonder why graduates from so many institutions exhibit ignorance towards societal realities, lack of creativity and the ability to think constructively, which is as a result of the inadequacies associated with learning and training process.
Poor preparation and examination malpractice: examination malpractice is as a result of poor preparation of students, while poor preparation is associated with laziness, lack of self-confidence, and over-dependence on exam ‘’chips’’. In most cases, teachers at secondary schools promote this act by way of encouraging students to contribute money (cooperation fees) in order to secure the needed assistance during examinations because they, the teachers are left with no other alternatives considering the fact that they are aware of the inadequate preparation of their students as well as the facilities to properly prepare them before examination.
The question now is; how do we revive the fallen standard of education in Nigeria?
Restructuring the educational system: education system in Nigeria today, needs total overhauling and restructuring, in order to be able to meet with the present and future needs of the country. According to the former president of Nigeria Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, he said that ‘’ the policy underpinning education system in Nigeria which was developed over 44years ago needed to be reviewed to suit the transformation agenda of the government. Furthermore, there’s need to wake up from our slumber and take up the challenges in restructuring and designing an educational system that is in line with the country’s aspirations.
The need for research development: the need for research development cannot be under-estimated in restructuring our educational system. Everyone who cherish genuine growth and sustainable development – government, private, corporate organisations, NGO’s, individuals should as a matter of urgency and due responsibility encourage and finance research programmes, inventions, and mass production of invented products as a way of discouraging prospective students from indulging in any form of academic irregularities.
Eradication of poverty, hunger, ignorance, and illiteracy: restructuring of the educational system in Nigeria would bring about eradication of poverty, illiteracy and ignorance in our society. Overtime, I have been able to understand that ignorance is as a result of illiteracy, and if illiteracy is not properly managed could bring about poverty, that could lead to hunger and diseases. So, if the standard of education is improved upon; then poverty, illiteracy, hunger, ignorance, and disease would become a thing of the past in Nigeria.
Good governance and genuine democracy: it is no longer news that the rule of law guarantees transparency, credibility, and the safety of human rights. Although Nigeria lacks all the above now. However, if education is handled with all seriousness, where each and every citizens knows their right, and know what to do when their right is violated. Then, every citizen can now decide who they want in the position of power by way of exercising their franchise without any form of coercion or persuasion by any political aspirant during elections. By so doing, people will have the opportunity to vote their preferred candidate during elections, and they also have the power to remove him/her if the candidate perform below their expectations, as they reserve the right to vote someone else in the coming election.
Improved standard of living: if education is properly handled, it would go a long way to improve the standard of living of the people, by way of providing them with adequate social amenities such as: good health care system, electricity, pipe borne water, good roads and so on.