By John Simon
Quality education is one which provides learners the conducive environment and capabilities they require to become economically productive, develop sustainable livelihoods, contribute to peaceful and democratic societies and enhance individual well being.
The drop or reduction in the quality of education Nigeria is one of the many challenges that Nigeria faces as a country. If Nigeria will ever become better as a nation; a nation that will progress in all aspects, then the challenges facing the quality of education should be looked into and solutions proffered to save the education sector in Nigeria.
One of the reasons to this challenge is poor implementation of early childhood education. Early education is an important time in children’s lives. It is the period when they first learn how to interact with others, including peers, teachers and parents and also begin to develop interests, that will stay with them throughout their lives. If done successfully, it lays the groundwork for excellence to continue throughout the child’s education. According to the data released by UNICEF, 10.5million of children within age range 5-14years are not in school, only 61 percent of 6-11years old regularly attend primary school, and only 35.6% of children age 2-4years) receive early childhood education. We have so many little children out of school thereby creating a bad foundation for them.
Another challenge, is the fallen standard of education in Nigeria. The fall in the standard of education could be linked to the lost glories of traditional education which inculcated among other things, very important values such as hard work, diligence, integrity and high productivity. When these are lacking in any productive system, the results are devastating leading to poor quality output. The tertiary level produces the much denial human capacity that propels the nation from backwardness to modernization, but it has to be fid from the lower levels. A mal-nourished primary student would breed a ‘kwashiorkored’ secondary level student that culminates into a ‘masrasmused’ tertiary level student.
Poor funding and poor implementation of policies in the education section is another challenge that has reduced the quality of education in Nigeria. Funding is one of the major challenge the education sector in Nigeria is facing. All levels of education; primary, tertiary share this problem. Poor infrastructure, lack of conducive learning environment, lack of educational tools and facilities for proper learning is as a result of low or poor funding. This has caused schools at all levels in Nigeria to embark on strikes thereby disrupting the academics process. Teachers who suppose to carry out their duties effectively are under paid, so they deliver poorly and impact wrongly.
Other issues include, lack of good schools in rural areas, gender issues in some part of the north, security issues.
According to UNICEF, we have a net attendance rate of 47.7% and47.3% of females in primary school, that is to say that more than half of the female children are not in school. The education deprivation in rural areas and northern Nigeria is driven by various factors, including economic barriers and socio-cultural norms and practices that discourage attendance in formal education especially for girls. In north -eastern and north Western States, 29% and 35% of Muslim children recite Quran education which does not include basic skills such as literacy and numeracy. In north eastern Nigeria about 2.8 million children are in need of education in emergencies support. In three conflict states, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, at least 802 schools remain closed and 407 classroom are listed as destroyed, with another 1,392 damaged but repairable. And with the rate of kidnapping of school children by kidnappers, all this is as a result of lack of security and it has led to poor or no education in the affected areas.
Therefore, Nigeria should consider changing many policies in the education sector. If the country will progress then actions should be taken to reduce and if possible eradicate the challenges on the quality of education in Nigeria. Possible solution like, better funding of the education sector and adopting the UNESCO’s 20% minimum annual budget, inculcation of the tenets of traditional education, security of children in school should be prioritized. Sensitization on the need of the educating of the female child, making a policy that every child should be in school recognized by the government and utilization of research findings in managing Nigeria’s education will do a lot of good in gearing the country to progress educationally.
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