Time to Reset: Education Reform as a Priority for Nigeria

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Education is a key priority for Nigeria, like any country that is serious about growth and development. Unfortunately, the last decade has seen no focus or dramatic improvement in education. Our best efforts to address education lag behind our fellow countries on all key development indicators. We inadvertently let the world know that the future doesn’t matter. Education is a basic human right available to all citizens regardless of their socioeconomic status or background.

This is different in Nigeria. Nigeria’s literacy rate, set by Globaldata at 62%, is not competitive among nations and indicates a dysfunctional primary school. No talk, no soundbites, no pretending at this point. Changing the status quo requires radical reform backed by action. The Nigerian government needs to take a holistic approach to education reform, focusing on improving the quality of education, increasing access to quality education, and promoting innovation and technology in education. As we recognize, education is on the parallel list and local government has a pivotal role. The federal government remains responsible for setting the direction of national policy.

As a first step, we will establish a “Special Office on Education Reform in the Office of the President” to work with other levels of government and stakeholders to redeploy education and implement a 25-year “office to redeploy education.” You may need to create a “Marshall Plan”. Plan a measurable implementation strategy. Policy and regulatory frameworks must be established to increase literacy and promote gender equality in education. While the federal government needs to strengthen the regulatory regime of national standards, state and local governments should be measured by academic performance on official exams and evidence of children’s high levels of numeracy and literacy. We need to establish competitiveness standards that

Given the diversity of cultural dichotomy and geopolitical differences in both access and quality of education in Nigeria, aggressive action by state and local governments is desperately needed. There are too many different standards in the Nigerian system, with state-to-state differences, regional geopolitical differences, and public versus private institutions. Educational challenges in the Muslim North are uniquely different from those in the South. Instability in the north complicates matters.

Nigeria’s education statistics are terrifying. Nigeria faces many challenges in providing quality and comprehensive education to its large and diverse population. Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world, with approximately 10.5 million children aged 5 to her 14 years old out of school. According to World Bank data, Nigeria’s literacy rate is as low as 65.1%, with wide disparities by gender and region. Gross enrollment in primary school is low at 68.3%, with 22.4 million children in public primary schools and 4.2 million in private primary schools. According to the World Economic Forum, Nigeria ranks 124th out of 137 countries in terms of quality of primary education. The primary education completion rate is 63%, the secondary education completion rate is 44%, and the upper secondary education completion rate is low at 17%.

Only about 5-6% of the federal budget is allocated for education, well below the 15-20% of the national budget recommended by UNESCO. Education expenditure as a percentage of GDP is also low at 1.95% for him.

Furthermore, to highlight the crisis in our education sector, only 450,000 to 550,000 of the 1,761,000 JAMB applicants in 2022 were admitted to college. These 450-550,000 are her 0.013% of the 40 million young people aged 15-24 who are eligible for a college education (2020 data). This lag in higher education opportunities is part of the reason we are crawling as a nation. The relative increase is evidence of disparities in college education, but not necessarily in terms of quality or affordability.

Aside from access issues, Nigerian universities are plagued by poor teaching and learning quality, and the need for more skills, cognitive and critical thinking abilities will put Nigerian university graduates out of work. generations. This gap can be attributed to the quality of basic education under the jurisdiction of local governments. The research output of Nigerian universities and Nigerian academics, a major criterion for ranking universities globally, is relatively low, lagging behind countries such as Botswana and South Africa. The accumulation of knowledge leading to capital formation and economic development gives developed countries an advantage over developing countries. Our low research output partially explains why our growth has stagnated and our rentier economy is thriving.

Conversely, an estimated 5-7% of experienced academics leave Nigeria each year to go abroad for a better research environment. Several previously initiated special NUC intervention schemes have been abandoned or discontinued. Liaisons with Professionals and Academics in Diaspora Schemes (LEADS) designed to attract Nigerian scholars in the Diaspora, Presidential Scholarships for Innovation and Development (PRESSED) for top graduates, and boosting foreigners Innovative schemes, such as the Transnational Education Scheme (TES) to make investments and partnerships between Nigerian and foreign universities have not had the intended impact on our higher education sector.

Nigeria’s education infrastructure is old, dilapidated, poor and sometimes the worst. Successive governments have failed to build new public schools that meet the needs of communities. Or even if they did, no real investment was made in the infrastructure and facilities. Most public schools have poor conditions and no one wants to study there. The school building and grounds are “not fit for purpose”. Negligence in education is extremely common. Teachers are poorly trained and unmotivated. Private schools are private businesses, squeezing the light of life from most parents who struggle to pay for private education. The curriculum emphasizes cognitive knowledge (memory-oriented learning) aimed at passing exams rather than the skill-based, analytical and independent thinking necessary for mental and financial progress. Theory takes precedence over practice. Teaching technology is largely unavailable in most schools.

Government neglect of education at all levels is a critical indicator of a failed nation. When nations fail or are failing, effective education systems are privatized and public facilities become increasingly dilapidated and neglected. Teachers and others working in the education sector are ignored or relegated to the background and ignored from reporting to relevant ministries.

We must thank Dr. Obie Ezekwesiri for her efforts as Minister of Education under President Obasanjo to undertake comprehensive educational reform, but this was quickly scrapped when the government collapsed. At the local level, Ekiti State under Fayemi, Ed under Oshimole, and Kaduna under El-Rufai, attempts to initiate a reconfiguration of education by improving the quality of teachers have been organized. resisted by labor and other entrenched interests. Unfortunately, this is the dilemma.

Recently, the federal government has devised various initiatives to address education issues in Nigeria. These include the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Program, Education Tax, Safe Schools Initiative, Teacher Professional Development (TPD) Program, National Education Policy, and Private Sector Participation Program. These initiatives have, at best, had minimal positive effects on our education sector. No wonder education statistics still evoke fear reading.

I call for a state of emergency and a complete reset of education. This means a holistic education reform that positions our education sector as an engine of social and economic growth. The Asian Tigers mention Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea among others, whose successes have been attributed to investments in education as well as research and development that have enhanced human capital development to improve workforce productivity. can be attributed to the fact that we expanded across all sectors. Nigeria should do the same. The new government should prioritize rebuilding the entire education system to bring it in line with modern education technology.

Improving education in Nigeria requires a multi-pronged approach involving government, businesses, educators, parents and the wider community. Governments should first devise means of sustainably funding education and allocate a significant portion of the national budget to this sector. Second, improve teacher training and professional development to ensure teachers have the skills and knowledge they need to teach in her 21st century classroom. Third, make expanding access to education a priority. This is especially true in rural areas. Fourth, prioritize science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and invest in vocational and technical education to equip students with practical skills relevant to the job market. Fifth, advocate for curriculum reform by reviewing and updating curricula to ensure they are appropriate and responsive to the needs of the country and the global economy. Sixth, embrace digital learning and promote the use of technology in education. And finally, improve monitoring and assessment to assess the quality of teaching and track achievement of academic goals.

The benefits for Nigeria of a robust education sector that offers good access, quality, skills and practice-driven education are clear. A good education sector can contribute to economic growth by meeting job market needs, attracting foreign investment and creating a skilled workforce with the ability to boost economic productivity. Quality education is a powerful tool for poverty reduction, promotes better health and promotes social cohesion by fostering national identity and shared values. Education can also promote understanding and tolerance between different ethnic and religious groups, thus reducing ethnic and religious tensions and insecurity. Nigeria by fostering innovation and entrepreneurship by providing individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary to start businesses and develop new technologies, while creating a skilled workforce capable of competing in the global market. strengthen the international competitiveness of We therefore plead with the new administration not to play Russian roulette in our education sector. must be

Views expressed by contributors are strictly personal and not those of TheCable.

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