Problems of Education in Nigeria and Possible Solutions
The educational sector in Nigeria has been severally lampooned for failing to contribute to the development of the nation. In return, educators and stakeholders in the sector have listed several reasons for the failings in the educational sector. In this article, we will highlight the major problems facing the sector in Nigeria and possible solutions to surmount these challenges.
1. Poor Funding
The most prominent problem facing the educational sector Is that of funding. It will be a grave mistake to mention any other problem that doesn’t have to do with funding. At all levels of government in Nigeria, education is not funded adequately. Take, for instance, in 2020, Nigeria’s education budget is far away from the 26 per cent of the national budget recommended by the United Nations.
2. Poor Governance
Another problem bewildering the educational sector in Nigeria is bad governance and mismanagement, which has affected every other sector in the country. There is quite a neglect for the educational sector in Nigeria, and this reflects heavily in the low amount budgeted for education yearly. At the local, state, and federal levels, more attention is given to other sectors which are not as important as the educational sector whose activities affect the society more.
Without saying much, corruption affects the cradle of all activities in Nigeria, and the educational sector is not left out. In tertiary institutions, there are cases of lecturers collecting bribes from students to pass them; students pay senior colleagues to write exams and tests for them. This also happens at the secondary school level, where students pay a lump sum to get examination answers or be taught during exams.
Also, funds meant to be used to pay salaries of workers in the educational sector are used for something else or mismanaged.
4. Lack of Responsibility and Control
A major problem of the educational sector in any country where there is no central control for the educational sector is the lack of control. However, this problem is not peculiar to Nigeria alone. Take, for instance, some primary schools are under the control of local governments, while some others are under the control of the state and federal governments. This is a problem for the basic level of education. Without a particular level of government taking full control of the sector, it will be difficult to hold anyone responsible for the failings in the educational sector.
5. Politicization of Education
In addition to the lack of control and responsibility, there is a form of competition by all the different levels of government to outdo each other, especially at the state level. This leads to an establishment of several institutions which will be difficult to manage. This results in a reduction in the quality of education being offered to students.
Also in a bid to outdo each other, state governments especially give people who are ill-equipped opportunities to own private schools.
6. Lack of Infrastructure
A major consequence of inadequate funding for the educational sector is the lack of infrastructure. Over time, many schools in Nigeria have collapsed due to bad infrastructure. Many tertiary institutes do not offer the level of practicality being offered when students go abroad to study.
It would not be untruthful to say that majority of the educational facilities from the public to the privately-owned are no conducive for learning. Libraries in schools are not adequately equipped, and even those who have textbooks are filled with outdated information.
This is evident in cases of examination malpractices we earlier mentioned under corruption. Indiscipline is now rampant in schools that secondary school students have started joining cultist, thus expanding the fight against cultism, which so far has proven to be far from over. Almost every day, there is a record of cult killings in schools, which has moved the educational sector concerned about academic excellence.
8. Poor Parenting and Guidance
Parents are meant to provide the basic needs needed to meet the challenges of life, but many parents do not even show enough care or support. All they want is for their wards to excel irrespective of the means.
This lack of proper guidance for their wards leads to encouragement on their part to engage in exam malpractices and even going as far as paying for “special centres” for their wards.
We have also heard stories of parents following their wards to schools to fight or harass teachers all because their wards were cautioned.
9. Lack of Good Teachers Welfare
The ongoing strikes occasioned poor welfare packages for teachers also contribute greatly to the problems of the educational sector. Due to the poor welfare packages for teachers, a lot of them have sought other means to augment their income which ultimately affects their performance level in class. Some others don’t show up regularly to teach their students. In addition to the above points, the low-level salary being given to teachers have pushed away professional teachers from the educational sector.
10. Lack of Teaching Aids
Apart from the poor pay given to teachers and lecturers, the lack of teaching aids including audio, video, books, DVDs, Projectors, computers etc. used to improve the instruction being passed to students also contributes to the decay in the educational sector.
11. Unwillingness to Study Education in Schools
Unlike many other disciplines in tertiary institutions, very few people apply for educational courses. According to research, in 2015, of the more than 1,700,000 applications for university admissions, less than five per cent applied for courses in education. These data point to the lack of interest of candidates for a career in the teaching profession.
Many of the teachers we have in the educational sector nowadays are now professionals in the field, as teaching is seen as a job of last resort in the country. Hence, these teachers do not understand the nuances of teaching and some others have the problem of communicating with their students, thus affecting the education sector.
12. Education coverage
One of the main problems of the Nigerian educational system is that it does not guarantee education for the majority of citizens. This is the reason why there are communities that throughout their lives, do not receive basic education, a fundamental human rights, and much less even have a high school certificate.
The most common factors of the lack of educational coverage are related to social and economic variables:
- Many families, both in rural and urban communities, require all their members to perform paid work to achieve a minimum survival income.
- There are remote communities, mostly indigenous, that do not have nearby educational options, and so only those who have the opportunity to travel to other communities daily receive a formal education.
- Although it is less and less frequent, in families, there is still the custom of limiting the educational scope of girls, focusing efforts only on the academic preparation of boys. This has as a consequence not only the female educational lag but that girls present a lower performance in subjects such as mathematics and natural sciences.
Solutions to Challenges Facing Educational Sector
The problems we have highlighted so far are some of the challenges facing the education sector in Nigeria, below, we have highlighted some possible ways to surmount these challenges. Find the recommended solutions to the problems below.
The background of the myriads of problems facing the educational sector in Nigeria is funding. With adequate funding, there would be an acquisition of quality training facilities, renovation of schools and provision of other infrastructures to ensure conducive learning for students. Also, funds should be properly managed to avoid embezzlement, which leads to decay in the educational sector.
There is a need for government at all levels to come together and coordinate responses and activities in the sector. Governments at all levels need to be committed to delivering a competitive and high quality and standard of education across the country.
Others possible solutions include:
- Include preschool education in compulsory basic education, to facilitate access to this educational level for vulnerable populations.
- Propose curricular changes that encourage greater educational equity between boys and girls.
- Prioritize the learning of indigenous communities.
- Create regularization programs to combat educational backwardness.
- Focus on combating the relationship of the socio-economic level with academic achievement.
- It is equally important to provide teachers with options for continuous updating and training opportunities, from complementary courses to postgraduate courses relevant to their teaching areas and pedagogical techniques.
Education is a determining factor of change for the development of any country; therefore, it is of the utmost importance that there is a generalized commitment towards its improvement. We can all do our bit, from governments with better public policies, teachers with continuous training and citizens with close monitoring of issues related to education.