In Nigeria today, we have seen education move from very good to bad and then from bad to worse, its an area of importance and it has not really been looked at. The president made it as one of the seven point agenda, how far has he gone?
Education they say is the bedrock of any development. The present state of Education in Nigeria is pathetic. Quality is a disaster, with secondary school levels at a 13% quality rate, and primary school levels are even lower than this.
Pupils sit under trees to learn. They learn in roofless buildings. Teachers wages are pitiable and it is very difficult for them to look after their health, while they are also not properly trained.
Instead of making education free and compulsory at all levels, they have introduced tuition fees in almost all the public schools with standards dropping on a daily basis. Students pay through their nose to get educated. The majority who cannot afford it have become dropouts roaming the streets with nothing to do.
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 characterises 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.
Most of the struggle of the ASUU union in the past has been for the proper funding of Education. Some Lecturers and Students, of the University of Ilorin to be precise, who participated in some of the struggles, are still under victimization since 2001. Most Tertiary Institutions in the country have no independent Student Union to genuinely challenge this decay and neglect, and where they do exist they act as their stooges, but this is just a matter of time, and cannot last forever.
The literacy rate in Nigeria is presently less than 20%, while in Asia it is 90% and Japan has a 100% literacy rate, and the Nigerian figure keeps dropping due to lack of adequate and proper funding of Education. UNESCO recommends that 26 percent of the national budget should be allocated to Education. One wonders how this present regime can achieve the minimum acceptable international standards of education for all with just 10 percent or less of its budget allocated to Education.
In the past, we have seen a lot of so called funding being allocated to the sector but no measure to check and ensure that the money is being spent properly. The lackadaisical attitude by the governor on the sector must be changed, it has been talk and no action. we must speak out.
Chief Obafemi Awolowo the head of the Western Region of Nigeria nearly 50 years ago allocated 50% of the budget to education and made education free for all. He was able to achieve this because capitalism at that time could still play some progressive role in society.
A festival of mistakes, can be seen clearly in this ministry. 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 led to diverting substantial resources from the educational institutions to other ends.. Owing by the government which pushes these teachers to collect bribe and involve themselves in other malpractices.
Churches also have a major role to play, Nigerians are very active when it comes to things that have to do with the churches, pastors as role models should please use this medium to reach out to their members so students can avoid cheating, teachers and lecturers should also take hide from malpractices. the private sectors to should be made to invest in the educational sector compulsory. The major companies from the telecoms sector, the oil sector and top class construction company should organised competitions, and fund educational programs which will influence the ordinary Nigerian to want to learn. All hands must be on deck because the world is moving faster than a speeding bullet, its time to seat up.