Back to ESSAY CONTEST: How the Nigerian Educational System Can be Improved from its current State

How the Nigerian Educational System can be improved from its current state.

 

Introduction

According to a Chinese Proverb: If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.

The aim of education, world over, is to instill cognitive and non-cognitive skills, knowledge, attitudes…, in people. Sadly, it is a glaring fact that educational system in Nigeria is deteriorating at an unprecedented rate, at all levels especially in government owned schools. The system is being marred by a variety of problems that threaten to collapse educational system in the country.

What is Education and Educational System?

According to Wikipedia, Education is the process of facilitating learning or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs and habits. It is the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgement, that will enable man to solve his problems and improve the quality of his life. A good education is one that provides all learners with capabilities they require to become economically productive, develop sustainable livelihoods, and enhance individual well-being. While an Educational System refers to the economic and social factors that typically make up the public schools at the federal, state or local community levels. Such factors include public funding, school facilities, staffing, compensation, employee benefits, teaching resources etc.

However, the reality of the condition of the educational system in Nigeria (which follows a “6:3:3:4” pattern) is quite disturbing; marred by assorted issues including: shortage of qualified teaching personnel; influx of unqualified teaching personnel; infrastructural decay; lack of dedication by teachers; social vices like malpractice, corruption and cultism; startling decline in reading culture; degradation of norms and values of the educational institutions; inadequate classrooms and teaching aids like computers, laboratories and libraries and recently, myriad of security breaches as student are being kidnapped across the country etc.

The overall cost of these problems is a nation with its future threatened. Consequently, necessary steps need to be taken in order to revitalize, restructure, improve, and save the educational system in Nigeria. Accordingly, possible panacea may include:

Provision of adequate, well-equipped world standard infrastructures: The Government (at Federal, State and Local levels) must as a matter of imperativeness provide better, advanced and adequate educational facilities with well-furnished classrooms, libraries, laboratories, play fields, work-shops, meals, school farms and gardens and other necessary facilities as well as provision of portable water and electricity in order to entice the students into not just wanting to go to school but also to give keen attention to their studies while imbibing the satisfaction and joy of learning.

Increasing of expenditure in respect of the education sector: To attain world standard, there is need to inject the education sector with ample resources. UNESCO recommended 26% of a nations’ total budget to be allotted to the education sector. This will facilitate efforts towards improving (for the better) the current state of education in Nigeria.

Curbing Corruption and Malpractice:  These are twin problems that continue to wreak havoc unabated in the educational system. Whether it is students (and even their parents) going to any length to ensure they pass their variety of examinations (from primary to tertiary institutions), or the teachers, who engage in and facilitate those vices. These problems are major contributors to students’ decline in reading (why should they read or study when they can pay for their results?), degradation of norms and values of the institutions by both students and teachers (engaging in academic fraud), graduation of half-baked or unseasoned students etc. consequently, the government needs to mitigate or curtail these activities through joint efforts with institutions’ councils and examination regulatory bodies by sanctioning person(s) or institution(s) found wanting.

Engaging qualified teaching personnel and provision of welfare packages for both teachers and excellent performing students: A significant way of rejuvenating the quality of educational system is through increase in salary of teachers with periodic incentives and special allowances. If fully implemented, it will make teachers not only enthusiastic towards their job but will also change the attitude of young brilliant people towards the teaching profession as “a poor man’s job” and youth will eventually study to become teachers. On the other hand, students who performed excellently should be rewarded with prizes or scholarships in order to motivate them to push higher while also kindling the seriousness in other students.  

Up-to-date curriculum: A complete review of the curriculums across all schools, colleges and universities across Nigeria is imperative for enhancement of education, as they will provide teachers, students and administrators with blueprints or road maps to follow for academic success. Tested, trusted and effective curriculums that are practical and researched based will significantly improve the education system in Nigeria.

Other possible solutions include: Granting of bursaries and scholarships to well performing students; Provision of more vocational and technical education centers and the existing ones should be properly equipped and staffed. More modern learning aids such as computers, internet websites, projectors etc should be provided. Embedding teachers with current educational thoughts and practices through seminars and workshops on regular basis.

All the aforementioned solutions would be futile if the lives and properties of students and teachers are not protected. Thus, security is a non-negotiable necessity in pursuit of national development. 

Conclusion

Conclusively, education, the world over, remains the biggest instrument for academic, social, economic, political, technological progress and development of any country. The shortfalls constantly detected among many undergraduates and graduates alike are as a result of the inadequacies associated with the primary and the secondary educational institutions in Nigeria. Being the biggest enterprise in the country, it is pertinent that the Government along with their agencies across all levels (in conjunction with relevant stakeholders and corporate bodies) ensure that the level of education in Nigeria is improved through: adequate funding, provision of advanced learning facilities, qualified teaching staff with appropriate welfare system, bursaries and scholarships to deserving students, instructional aids and materials... while curtailing social vices in a generally safe working environment.

When these recommendations are put into actions, we will be able to witness actual positive improvement in the educational system in Nigeria.

 

By: Id001