2.3 Identify at least three issues affecting education in Nigeria.
Issues of Education in Nigeria
Religious groups, mainly Christian missionaries from Europe who used them as tools for proselytizing and converting the Nigerian, originally established the country’s schools. The curricula were faith-based and overwhelmed by religious indoctrination, dogma, and brainwashing. Education was used to convert the Nigerians to embrace Christianity or Islam. It was not an avenue for self-realization or intellectual growth.
The Nigerian government took over all the schools in order to instill secular ideals and values into public education in the 1970s. But the Nigerian educational system has retained its religious character-Islamic in the North and Christianity in the South. The government’s secularization project never achieved much. Therefore, Christianity and Islam have maintained their influence on Nigeria’s schools and students, allowing no space for free, independent, and secular thoughts to thrive and flourish.
Consequently, most educated Nigerians are intellectually inclined to blind faith. The current educational climate is not only repressive but also dangerous. For over a decade, Nigerian schools, colleges, polytechnics, and universities have been bedeviled by the actions of cultists and criminals. Tertiary institutions have been scenes of violence against students by other students. School authorities have often attributed the problems to students’ lack of faith, godlessness, or religious indifference. Some have turned to religious leaders for help, and they now flock to the campuses to hold crusades, prayer sessions, and revivals. This has not solved the problems either.
Other problems have been created. Nigerian campuses have been turned into religious places and the education system has become more sectarian. Religious meetings are conducted virtually everywhere in schools—in libraries, lecture halls, and even in laboratories. A number of lecturers have abandoned teaching and researching to become clerics and evangelists. There is no longer any clear demarcation between religious duties and academic work.
Nigerian schools have been turned into breeding grounds for religious militants, terrorists, and bandits. This has been the result of continuous involvement of sectorial conflicts between the Muslims and Christians in their quest to control education. Since the 1980s there have been recurring instances of crises and violence-at the University of Sokoto (1986), the University of Ibadan (1987), Queen Amina College Kaduna (1987), Ahmadu Bello University Zaria (1988), Government Vocational Training School Markafi (1990), Government Girls’ College Jalingo (1992), Kaduna Polytechnic (1992), and many others. Many incidents have been sparked by efforts to introduce and implement Islamic law in the country. In February 2003, Muslim and
Christian students clashed in some secondary schools in Oyo State over the wearing of the Islamic veil. Even though religious groups may have something positive to contribute to Nigerian education, such offers are complicated by the extremes of religious fundamentalism, militancy, and rivalry in the schools.
Despite Nigeria having a lot of resources such as oil, coal, tin and Zinc the proceeds have not been used to develop education in the country. The government has over relied on oil and neglected other sectors of the economy such as agriculture, education and health for the local people. There is inadequate funding by the federal, state and local governments. The funding of education for effective management and administration is poor. The entire education system in Nigeria is under funded. The problem of funding is reflected in poor teachers’ remuneration, shortage of infrastructure facilities as well as misappropriations of the available funds. The inadequate funding is not in line with the rising population and inflation trends. Economic hard ships among the teaching staff have encouraged moonlighting. This is further complicated by lack of materials, no incentives for research and writing and use of out dated notes by lecturers. Recently there has been violent protest in the oil rich region demanding part of the money to be invested in the local areas where oil is drilled.
This has led to low standards of education due to poor funding of the education system. More over the education system is no longer relevant since the colonial heritage and mentality still persisted. The education system lacked relevance in meeting the pressing economic, social and local cultural needs of the nation in favour of foreign ones.
Poor leadership has affected the Nigerian system. The education managers are not result oriented, are ineffective and they lack managerial and administrative skills required to successes in the execution of educational policies and programmes. The Nigerian educational administrators have progressively moved away from generating knowledge into political arena where they have become centers of political actors.
The use of examinations criterion as the primary sorting device to schools and universities has led to widespread cheating among faculties at all levels especially at secondary and post secondary levels.
The teaching of English language beyond primary schools had reached poor levels that faculties complained that they could not understand the written works of their students.
Access to education has been affected by cultural and religious factors. In the Muslim dominated areas in the north the education for girls has been neglected. There are cultures that have discouraged the participation of girls in education. In some regions due to economic problems a large population could not access education.
- Discuss at least three issues that are affecting education in Nigeria since independence.
- Outline four reforms that have been introduced in Nigeria from 1990 to date.
- Describe the educational structure of education in Nigeria
- Nigeria has three types of education that has been used to cater for the large population. Discuss the eligibility of using each type in the modern world filled with information communication and technology.
- Discuss the rationale used by Nigerians in devolving higher education.
- With over ten communities in Nigeria discuss the role played by the “unitary schools” in the development of national cohesion.