By Halima Imam
The education system in Nigeria is based on the 1-6-3-3-4 process; one that millions of Nigerians have gone through for decades, and a system that continues till date. Nigeria presently has 104 unity schools across the Country. In 2005, the country’s public primary schools were estimated to be about 60,188. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, 3.42million students had enrolled in public senior secondary school in 2017.
This sector, just like many other sectors in Nigeria has had its fair share of the ‘Nigerian factor’. It has suffered consistent decay over the years. We are now at the point of comfortably saying that there is a state of emergency in the Nigerian educational system. Research shows that over 12million children are out of school, and that’s the highest in the World. While a whopping 27million children are performing very poorly.
UNICEF has said that one in every five of the world’s out of school children are in Nigeria. They reported that 10.5million children age 5-14 are not in school. In North Eastern Nigeria, 2.8million children are in need of education emergency support. According to Adejuwon Soyinka, Editor of the BBC pidgin service, the major problem of education in Nigeria according to regions is quantity for the North and quality for the South.
The decay in the educational system of Nigeria runs deep, apart from the fact that poverty, insecurity and corruption have put Nigeria on her knees, in terms of education before every other country in the world.
Other issues that increase the rot are more glaring than the moon in its full cycle. An alarming number of underqualified teachers fill classrooms and teach children every day, subjects that they themselves know nothing about. We saw proof of that when the Governor of Kaduna state decided to get the closet wide open. It was one show of shame that the academic community did not or maybe did expect.
The number of teachers that did not qualify to have graduated from primary school themselves were 22,000. That’s the number of teachers that got sacked. There is so much indiscipline on the part of students, teachers and school administrators. One that is evident in both public and private schools. Students in public schools are seen on the streets walking reluctantly to school at 9am in the morning, a time when they should be receiving their lessons already.
The intelligent students in private schools are used as advertisement tools, and those that perform poorly are allowed to slide their way into higher classes, because their school fees makes it ‘forbidden’ for them to repeat a class. The students are ill mannered, rude and largely unserious. Teachers are supposed to be stooges, develop thick skin and a really strong nonsense absorbing skill, and pretend like nothing is wrong.
The schools refuse to put real disciplinary measures in place, because to the private school owners, it’s all just business after all and the customer is always right.
Students bribe their way through exams at both secondary and tertiary levels. Examination, they say, is not the true test of knowledge. Nigeria does bring this saying to life. Students in tertiary institutions openly pay for high scores. Some that refuse to pay are failed by irresponsible and greedy lecturers.
Unfortunately, our schools are filled with such people. Most of the male lecturers demand sex for grades; those that will not get it easy result to threatening the students with failure. This is one trend that has cases on the news very often.
Corruption exists at every level in the education system, from the primary to the tertiary levels, from bribery for admittance of unqualified students, to removal and replacement of names, to increasing scores for poor students. Some students in tertiary institutions pay their way through their 4 years or more in school.
The system produces graduates year in year out in their millions, but thousands of them are not employable. From their communication to writing and thinking skills, it all screams failure.
The government seems to be concerned with many other things but the education of its people.
Over 652.94bn has been allocated to education in 2020, which translates to 6.9per cent of the budget and this is low for a country that has the highest rate of out of school children in the world. It is shameful that greed overtakes everything in Nigeria; it is always about ‘what goes into my pocket over what happens to my people’.
Nigeria is supposed to be experiencing free education at the primary level and the Junior secondary level, but the reality shows that parents who are already facing poverty in most parts of the country have to still pay for school supplies.
Nigeria will be 60 years as an independent nation in just few days. This means that we have had just two generations as free people, but the amount of rot and corruption that has rocked her as a nation since 1960 is one that leads one to wonder. I have heard my parents tell stories of how public schools used to be the best in the country. Every child, rich or poor was sent there and secondary education was the springboard for an incredible university education.
Recently, I saw a tweet from a former law student. She gave account of how two of her lecturers who were lawyers, had addressed them and told them how rape was solely the fault of the girls, and they said your dressing singled you out as a victim. I wondered what kind of lawyers such lecturers hoped to produce, and what the future had in store for many victims of rape. Because of the myopic, timid and shallow judgement and pronouncements of so called custodians of knowledge and law.
The so called elite schools – both secondary and tertiary – are a haven of indiscipline and laziness. Most of the students go through the schools without really being prepared to face a sane, respectable and hardworking world. Money simply makes their world go round. Secondary schools and universities have become a cesspool of cultism. Most of the schools are just living on past glory and a strong alumna association.
The image of some schools have been badly tattered that they are presently gasping for air. Their products, a group of students that will prove the failed states of their school wherever they go.
We all know that guns and bullets do not destroy a nation as fast as her educational system does. Every stake holder in the educational system in Nigeria will have to begin to do their jobs. School inspectors will have to refuse bribes and do what is right. The government and private school administrators will have to take their staff welfare seriously; discipline must be enforced at all times by all parties if we have to save our country from the edge of the cliff. We all must do what we have to do: that which is right and fair. Let us not put to vain the labour of our heroes past, for it is education’s power hour.
Imam is Founder of Climate Action Team
Read the original article on City Voice Newspaper