Posted August 18th, 2006

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Problems OF 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 include:

  • lack of access

  • low discipline

  • 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 the country.

    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 federal levels.

    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 
    LeadCity University
    Ibadan, Oyo State

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