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Nigeria's declining education system

Saturday, 8 February 2020


Francis Weli sits on a wooden bench with his friends at community primary school,Port Harcourt. It is an overcrowded room with 30 pupils squeezing in between themselves to have a glance at the teacher in front of the class.

"I want to be a pilot", Weli whispered to me ." my friend says she wants to be a doctor ". He says. Weli's dream of becoming a pilot can never be achieved in a learning environment like this - broken walls, windows ,leaky roofs and absence of instructional material or learning facilities. This is the state of public schools across Nigeria. For example, thousands of pupils or students like Weli study in environments like this.

Nigeria's allocation for education in 2018 and 2019 budgets according to the National budget office was N605.8bn ($1.646 billion) and N620.5bn ($1.75 billion) respectively, which falls between 7.04 and 7.05 percent. These allocations fall short of United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO's recommendation on allocating 15 to 20 percent to education in budgets of developing countries. These shortage in percentage might be the reason why the country has been unable to curtail the menace plaguing its education sector.

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari decided to stern corruption in all sector during his inuaguration but in doing so, the education sector is neglected forgetting that this sector is the future of any nation. From primary through secondary to the tertiary level, the rot is mind-boggling. It is a decline, which must be arrested if Nigeria’s future would not be jeopardised.

According to an estimation by UNESCO, the number of Nigerians studying abroad hovers around 75,000 per year in 2015 and 2016. This has made Nigeria one of the world's fastest growing market for study abroad because of issues in higher education capacity at home. Also, the salary of an average Nigerian teacher ranges between N15,000 ($41.67) and N47,000 ($128.68). This has made the profession seem non-lucrative.

A lecturer in the Department of Science Education  at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Chrisitain Ugwuanyi said:" I will attribute it to political instability and the negative attitude of the politicians so called our leaders towards education. because actually in the budget, education should have a major share compared to every other thing like security and others that are given more attention. the bad attitude of our leaders led to our downfall in education."

In revamping the education sector, Ugwuanyi said:" The government should totally overhaul the system by allocating adequate amount to education in the budget so as to develop infrastructure. They should encourage a tution free system so people can go to school in order to stop the rising number of out-of-school children. Also, schools should provide more computers and build learning hubs where students can be cuddled in a way to harness its provision for studying or reading.

"Teachers should be regularly trained and re-trained at intervals so they will updated with the current in the ever evolving learning world."
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