Tackling education crises
SIR: Nigeria’s educational system is faced with challenges of underfunding and infrastructure, projectors, computers, libraries, laboratories, etc. Education in Nigeria is also plagued with numerous social vices like examination malpractice, cultism and infant-hooliganism. Nigeria’s education system is rather quantitative than qualitative. What we find as screaming headline in newspapers are cult war, violent initiation of unsuspecting students into cult groups, bribery and corruption, allegation of sexual harassment against teachers, campus prostitution allegedly aided by public office holders who are supposed to uphold integrity and cultural value orientation.
The hike in tuition fees has posed great challenges too. The abysmal allocation to the education must be reversed. According to the United Nations Education and Socio-Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), 26 per cent of the annual budget should be allocated to the educational sector. However, education in Nigeria is allocated less than 13 per cent.
Autonomy and internal democracy are essential to the university system. Unfortunately over the years, government has interpreted the demand for university autonomy to mean that university will be responsible for their own funding; autonomy must be granted to ensure that universities are funded by the states. At the same time, managements of universities, polytechnics, monotechnics, colleges of education, teacher training institutes must be democratised in such a way that elected representatives of the students, workers, parents and communities are allowed in the decision making organs instead of the current bureaucratic manner tertiary institutions are run.
Urgent repair of critical infrastructure is needed at all levels of education sector. This would mean providing latest facilities for learning based on latest technological advancement. To retain the best brains and attract new hands into the sector, a comprehensive policy of improved remuneration of workers of the education sector and genuine pension scheme are urgently needed.
• Sekinat Ibrahim,
Fed. Poly, Bida.