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The Nigerian Educational System & Solutions
The Universal Primary Education:
In 1976, the nation embarked on a free primary education
programme. The programme took off but before long, collapsed on
account of poor planning, faulty statistics and inadequate
funding. The programme was proposed during the days of Nigeria's
"oil boom" but the days of economic recession caught up with it.
As a result, the programme collapsed.
A lot of harm was done to this country Nigeria, as a result of
the generally low quality of teachers recruited to man the programme. The trainees were rushed through short-term, often
ineffective, training programmes. The Universal Basic Education
programme launched in September 1999 was designed as an
improvement on the Universal Primary Education.
Some Problems In the Nigerian Education System: The Nigerian
educational system is faced with a number of problems which
lack of access
And low funding
Problem of Inadequate Access: All Nigerian children who should
be in school are not in school. In the eastern (especially lgbo-speaking)
parts, one prevalent problem is the boy-child drop-out syndrome.
The boys, for economic reasons, refuse to go to school, and
those who enter primary schools drop out prematurely. They
refuse to complete primary and secondary education because of
the economic problems encountered by the educated in society.
Many boys are found in mechanic villages as apprentices to
crafts masters, in various types of businesses, or in other
engagements outside the school.
In the northern parts of the country, the problem is that of
girl-child drop-out from school, for reasons ranging from early
marriage to cultural values opposed to female education as well
as ignorance. Thus, there are more boys than girls in schools in
that part of the country.
Specialized programmes have also been designed for such
disadvantaged groups as the nomads and migrant fishermen and for
the disabled, especially blind or visually impaired. These
groups, for environmental and economic reasons, cannot benefit
from formal education offered in the normal schools. So it
becomes necessary to extend access to them.
Combined efforts of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEP),
the Federal Ministry of Education and State Agencies for Mass
Education have been directed at providing Non-formal Education
Curriculum and the associated reading materials development for
the out-of-school learners. The Universal Basic Education
programme, launched by the Obasanjo administration will, it is
hoped, help solve the problem of access to formal education
for many school-age children.
Problem of Indiscipline: This is
one seemingly intractable problem in the educational system.
Indiscipline manifests in such areas as examination malpractices
and secret cult menace, unprotected sex, unwanted pregnancies,
bribery and corruption.
Crises in the universities has led to "brain-drain" syndrome.
Academics drift away from the universities in search of greener
pastures in other sectors of the Nigerian economy or outside the
country. If the trend is not checked through improved working
conditions for academics and appeals to their patriotic spirit,
the result could be disastrous for the country. Schools that
will change the life of students is the next resort, Christian
universities like covenant university is the best option.
Problem of Inadequate Funding of Education: The managers of
primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in Nigeria are in
consensus that these institutions are grossly under-funded.
Evidence exists on the degree of dilapidation that characterizes
the primary and secondary school buildings in parts of the
country; the non-payment of teachers salaries and allowances as
a result of which strikes are the order of the day; the lack of
necessary teaching and learning materials at all levels of the
educational system; poor working conditions of all teachers in
the country, among other indices. It has also been argued that
financial mismanagement and lack of accountability by officials
lead to diverting substantial resources from the educational
institutions to other ends.
Two issues are relevant: need For enough funds and the need for
responsible and proper management of the funds. How to achieve
these two is a major problem in the Nigerian educational system,
and achieving them holds the key to educational development in
Obviously, the western educational tradition has remained the
most functional in Nigeria's educational history, although the
others, indigenous and Islamic education, served the needs of
the various communities where and when they existed.
There have been remarkable advances in the nation's educational
system at all levels, although several problems have continued
to plague the educational system. If the proposed Universal
Basic Education scheme takes care of the problem of access,
those of discipline and funding are yet to be seriously
addressed, and addressing them should be one of the major policy
thrusts of the present democratic dispensation at both state and
Undoubtedly, education must be adequately funded if quality must
be guaranteed. In pursuing the ideals of quality, the Nigerian
Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) should be
strongly supported in its efforts at curriculum reform towards
greater relevance. Accountability must be enshrined in our
socio-economic philosophies and policies. The anti-corruption
crusade initiated afresh by the Obasanjo-led administration
deserves to be widely supported.
Abolarin Damilola Oluwatobi
Ibadan, Oyo State