By Tasi’u Aminu
Now in the annals of Nigeria’s history is how excellent the education system used to be. Once upon a time, the education system was well equipped with the requisite instruments for conducive learning. Education, at the time, enjoyed utmost priority from the government and other relevant stakeholders.
The current Nigerian education structure is based on a 9-3-4 system, commonly referred to as the Universal Basic Education (UBE) structure, which replaced the old 6-3-3-4 system introduced in 1983. Today, pupils in Nigerian schools spend nine (9) years in basic school before proceeding to spend another 3 years in senior secondary school and finally 4 years in tertiary institutions.
Today, pictorially, the system is static. And internally, it is degrading, deforming and at the mercy of relevant stakeholders, especially the government. It is not working and the quality of basic education in Nigeria is declining.
The Universal Basic Education (UBE) is falling short of expectations. Pupils do not learn enough to prepare them for senior secondary school. Private primary and secondary schools have taken over the potent basic education, outdoing government owned institutions in providing education at the primitive stage of education.
The genesis of these problems must be apportioned to the government, particularly the ministry of education that bears the responsibility to look after, manage and improve education at all levels. Nowadays, the government is more concerned about building and approving many new learning facilities without investing the requisite resources needed to make the facilities work efficiently.
The powerful elites, who decide how we are governed, build ultra-expensive private schools for the children of the affluent, where an average household cannot afford to send their kids. Pursuing optimal returns on their investment into these schools, they neglect their duty of reviving the government schools that are accessible to all and sundry.
What Is The Way Out?
Thankfully, all hope is not lost. To revive the Nigerian education system, salaries of teachers need to be reviewed considerably to encourage them to teach effectively and make concerted efforts towards imparting substantial knowledge to their students. Some teachers concentrate more on side hustles because the teaching profession is not lucrative enough to cater for their basic needs.
The Federal Government needs to prioritize education by increasing the budgetary allocation to the education sector. They must also adopt strict accountability structures to ensure that the funds allocated reach the target areas without any misappropriation from the parties involved.
There is also a need for the government to revisit the old curriculum which is still being used in the primaries and secondaries. This will enable the government to refresh the curriculum so as to meet up with the current trend of potent basic education.
Teachers must also undergo utmost scrutiny before being employed to teach, instead of the long-legged green-horns, who do not possess the minimum standard of teaching, yet get employed. Such incompetent people do not have the experience and pedagogy to diplomatically employ the comprehensive learning procedures for the students to understand well.
Parents also need to play their role by ensuring that their kids always attend school. They need to encourage their offspring to be good in school, most importantly, by providing them with unrelenting financial support. Most parents, especially in rural areas, do not bother to send their kids to school. Especially during rainy seasons, parents rather have their children take up farm work and other domestic activities instead of school as they do not know the value of the education.
Written by: Tasi’u Aminu, is a 200-Level student of Agriculture at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.