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Nigerian education system in a critical state

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By Mercy Kelani

China has massive investment in education and higher literacy rates.

Recently, a data released by the United Nations disclosed that India is at the verge of surpassing China as the most populated country in the world. This is said to be an expected result owing to China’s previous One-child policy. Regardless of this population outgrowth, the economic success of China outweighs that of India’s. An article published in the New York Times stated that China’s rise to economic power is owing to its massive investment in infrastructure, education.

Between the late 1940s and mid-1970s, under the leadership of Chairman Mao of the Chinese Communist Party, China channeled massive investments to improvement of education. Resultantly, its literacy rates increased and more people have finished grade school, high school, and college, in comparison to India. Although, India is globally recognized as a home to various leading services and software development companies around the world, it does not have as much investment in education as China.

Global highest population of out-of-school children, Nigeria.

There are diverse benefits for a nation that invests in education. They include promotion of social cohesion, improved levels of economic growth, higher average incomes, reduction of inequality and reduced unemployment rates. Despite these advantages that accompany robust education systems, Nigeria lags behind in the various markers of education, including school enrollment, number of out-of-school children, and quality of educational institutions (primary level – tertiary level). In a recent survey of the world’s university rankings, the University of Ibadan appeared at 1000+ position and was the first Nigerian university to appear on the list. In Africa’s rankings, the same university appeared at a good position (top 30).

Data released by UNICEF has also revealed that Nigeria now has the highest population of out-of-school children in the world as there has been an increase in its statistics from 10.5 million to 13.2 million. Many of these children are aged 5-14 residing in Northeastern states like Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. Consequently, the educational system of the country is in a critical condition and it needs urgent support. The crisis ongoing in the country’s educational institutions is a result of the inefficiencies in other sectors which include corruption, absence of accountability, bad work ethic, and others.

Deficiency in education has its root in primary education.

The current state of education in Nigeria began with the deteriorated state of primary education. Students who have bad primary education automatically have major deficiencies even before graduating into secondary schools. Secondary school teachers try their best to correct these deficiencies but are unable to do so effectively. Consequently, these students find their ways into the university where lecturers also try to correct an inadequacy that began in primary school to no avail. The change which the system needs should begin from the primary level.

Also, there should be more concentration on educational reform to foster improvements of tertiary education. This is because it is responsible for determining the final outcomes on educational investment for graduates and the country at large. There should also be a radical change in the curriculum as students are being taught outdated materials that are insufficient to prepare them for intellectual and professional environments and difficulties of this century. Materials that enhance critical thinking and problem-solving aptitudes are needed in the curriculum of tertiary education.

University rankings do not bear a 100 percent truth.

Additionally, there have been a call for improvement on the evaluation of academics’ performances and their teachings/research output. Concerning the position of Nigeria in rankings, it was affirmed that university rankings has no utility beyond the capitalist and academic elitist impulse, although is shows the level of rot in Nigeria’s educational system in some ways. It was likewise said that rankings are usually rigged by wealth and corrupt university administrations and as a result should not be regarded as dependable indicators of academic excellence.

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