How education can help fix Nigeria
“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful. Education is education. We should learn everything and then choose which path to follow. Education is neither Eastern nor Western, it is human.” –Malala Yousafzai.
Sir: We could join hands in demanding for quality education to make this life a better place for everyone. The developed countries attained their goals and technological advancement today by investing in education yesterday. China, Japan, UK, America and others are taking the lead in the world economy; they are prioritising their education system. It is annoying for a country like Nigeria, since independence to date to have its educational system unstable.
In the early 2000s in primary school days, I was among the best students who could read and write in Hausa, yes I mean in Hausa! I’m not trying to put my primary school in shame but at that moment, we were taught almost everything in class using Hausa Language. Few of us that paid for the lessons are taught in the English language.
Education has gone beyond management. Developed countries have taken it to the level of governance; developing frameworks, implementing and monitoring its effectiveness, investing massively in the system, as well as partnering with private institutions in areas of lesser influence.
According to findings, Nigeria’s total budget since 1999 till date is N35.133 trillion, with education taking N3.128 trillion. This represented 8.28 per cent of the total budget. The lowest allocation was in 1999 (4.46 per cent) while the highest was 2006 (10.43 per cent). The more concerned area is the basic education because they’re the backgrounds for studies. It gives one shock to know even now in Nigeria, our politicians still campaign with roads, hospitals, schools and electricity.
Funding is another big problem that affects teachers and students. Teaching on an empty stomach is problematic. A teacher with hunger and poverty won’t birth a good knowledge. In places where education is valued, their system is “teacher first,” the welfare of teachers is the topmost priority of government business and the best brains are the best paid, that is the reason they are educationally advancing. But here reverse is the case, the worst brains are the best paid.
There is a need to take our educational sector seriously. One way of doing this is by adequately funding the sector and putting safeguards in place to stem the tide of massive corruption that has stymied the growth of the sector in recent years.
Proper training of teachers with current and up to date materials and technology also will improve the condition of education in Nigeria. Necessary vetting measures should be taken to make sure that only qualified teachers are employed. Admissions into tertiary institutions should be based solely on merit. Reduce the number of students in the classroom and set some limits. These will help in solving problems facing the educational sector.
Usman Abdullahi Koli.