Education is essential for a sustainable national development of any nation. For the Nigerian society to achieve a sustainable national development, the quality of its education needs to improve. In this post, we highlight some of the challenges to education in Nigeria and suggest way on how to address these challenges. Some of these challenges include inadequate funding, gender inequity in education, insufficient teachers, inadequate infrastructures, overcrowded classrooms, among others.
Education constitutes a vital tool for addressing virtually all global problems. Education is the greatest force that can be used to bring about transformational changes in the society.
Indeed, the greatest investment a nation can make for the development of its economic, sociological and human resources is that of education. This is because any fundamental change in the intellectual and social outlook of any society has to be preceded by an education revolution.
According to UNESCO, education refers to the total process of developing human ability and behaviours. It is an organized and sustained instruction designed to communicate a combination of knowledge, skills and understanding value for all activities of life.
Education refers to what man can use to solve his problems and improve the quality of his life and make it comfortable. It is one of the several ways that man employs to bring change in to his all round development.
There are several challenges facing education in Nigeria. They are as follows: inadequate funding, insufficient of teachers, overcrowded classrooms, inadequate infrastructures.
1. Shortage of Quality Teachers:
It is a well-known fact that no educational system in a nation can rise above the quality of its teachers. In other words, the success of the system rests on the availability of good and qualified teachers who are internally motivated. Teachers are the way to improvement since they are the final brokers when it comes to educational policy. Lack of qualified teachers was responsible for the dismal performance of Nigerian students especially in mathematics and English language.
In a particular year, when the National Examination Council (NECO) released its SSCE results, only 126,500 of the 1,260,765 candidates, just 10 percent of those who registered for the body’s exams passed five subjects including English and mathematics. The statistics also showed that only about 234,682 out of the 1,260,765 candidates who sat for the exams made five credits in five core subjects the minimum requirements for the university admission in Nigeria. Nigeria is in dire need of competent, capable and motivated teachers to enable the nation’s educational system succeed.
The introduction of Universal Primary Education (UPE) brought with a sudden population explosion in schools in Nigeria over blowing the teacher-pupil or student ratio.
Consequently, overcrowding in the classroom has become the order of the day from Primary to university level. Because of the overcrowded classrooms, there are usually not enough places for the number of students in class/lecture rooms. This type of atmosphere is un-conducive for effective teaching and learning process. This is because effective teacher/student relationship is impossible in an over-crowded classroom. This probably explains why teachers in higher institutions of learning resort to the use of handouts.
3. Inadequate Infrastructure:
By infrastructure, we mean physical and spatial enablers of teaching/learning such as classrooms, computers and other teaching and learning aids, libraries, laboratories, workshops, play fields, school farms and gardens as well as provision of water, electricity, and sanitation. The provision of these enablers has been grossly inadequate in schools across Nigeria. For effectiveness, there have to be of the appropriate quantity, size and quality to meet the minimum standards for promoting any meaningful and functional teaching and learning.
4. Funding of Education and Corruption:
It is no more news that primary secondary and higher institutions in Nigeria are in grossly under-funded. This is evident in the degree of dilapidation that characterizes the primary and secondary buildings in parts of the country. The non-payment of teachers’ salaries and allowances, which most times result in strikes.
From primary to tertiary level of education, there is lack of necessary teaching and learning materials. Finally, the mismanagement and diverting of substantial resources from the educational system to other ends. Even when funds are provided for school administrators, most of them divert the funds for private use and personal benefit.
The under-funding has been criticized and attributed to several factors ranging from military rule, diversion and mismanagement of funds and lack of focus.
Some of the recommendations include:
1. There is the need to increase budgetary allocations for education. This will ensure provision of enough funds to various educational institutions;
2. There is the need for monitoring and supervision to ensure implementation of project designed for a particular developmental program in schools;
3. There is the need for school administrators across Nigeria to utilize available funds for the provision of infrastructure to support functional learning. Pupils, students need to learn under a conducive environment. Therefore, stakeholders need to ensure that the dilapidated infrastructural facilities in schools across Nigeria are replaced with new ones;
4. There is the need for government to address the issue of low wage for teachers at all levels. If teachers must cater for the needs of students under their watch, the teachers must be empowered to first meet their personal needs. Hence, teacher’s welfare need to be given priority, otherwise they would fail to give the students the best training they deserve.
Education is the cornerstone of achieving a sustainable national development. Undoubtedly, achieving sustainable national development is the goal of all nations, Nigeria inclusive. Therefore, there is the need to invest, more time and resources to ensure that the next generation of leaders obtain the necessary skills that will help them function well in the society.
Therefore, there is the need for government, parents, caregivers, religious leaders and all stakeholders to ensure that our children receive a functional and meaningful education.
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