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|Education In Nigeria: Bridging The Gap by MolaraFoundatn: 11:27am On Oct 17, 2022|
Let's understand the Nigerian education gap
Nigeria’s education system has been broken for years. To make matters worse, not enough is being done to repair it. The stats from the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, project the dire education situation in Nigeria. According to their data, one in every five of the world’s out-of-school children is in Nigeria. They say about 10.5 million children between the ages of 5-14 are not in school in Nigeria. Only 61 percent of 6-11 year-olds attend primary school regularly, while only 35.6 percent of children aged 36- 59 months receive early childhood education.
What Can we do to Bridge the Nigerian Education Gap?
With the problem staring us squarely in the face, we have to ask what we can do to bridge this gap that threatens to enforce a vicious cycle of poverty. How do we mend this broken system to ensure a better future?
1. Enactment of laws that allow for free and compulsory education for all Nigerian children: Even though primary education is supposed to be free and compulsory under the Compulsory, Free, and Universal Basic Education Act, it is only so on paper. One in every five out-of-school kids in the world is in Nigeria. There are so many out-of-school children in Nigeria, especially in the North. For the girl child, it is even worse. More than half of the female children in the northeastern and northwestern states are not in school. An enforced compulsory and free universal basic primary and junior secondary education guaranteed by the constitution is necessary to achieve poverty alleviation, gender equity, and socio-economic rights in Nigeria.
2. Substantial increase in the budgetary allocation to the education sector: Nigeria’s annual budget to public education is still less than 10% of the overall budget. “Despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s promises at a recent international forum that allocation to education would be increased by at least 50 per cent in the next few years and by about 100 per cent by 2025, allocation to the sector in the 2022 budget estimate still fell short of stakeholders expectation as N1.29 trillion or 7.9 per cent was allocated to education out of N16.39 trillion appropriation bill presented to the National Assembly.” - Guardian. The Nigerian government needs to increase their budgetary allocation to the education sector. They should aim to follow the 26% budgetary allocation benchmark set by UNESCO for education annually.
3. Provision of incentives for both teachers and pupils: Providing incentives to encourage teachers and students will help bridge the education gap in Nigeria. Special salary increase for primary and secondary school teachers will be a start. Increasing the number of mandatory service years from 35 to 40 years will also incentivize teachers and education graduates. Other incentives to drive teachers include low-cost housing for teachers in rural areas and provision of loan facilities. For students, rewards for academic feats will encourage them to take their studies seriously. Also, by offering to support their secondary and tertiary tuition, students can be incentivized.
4. Improvement of the infrastructure in schools: The conditions of school buildings in Nigeria is appalling. It is an eyesore. Out of the 1.1 million classrooms surveyed by Educeleb in 2019, about 315,579 were in bad condition. Federal and state governments need to work hand-in-hand to improve the infrastructure of schools across Nigeria. Standard infrastructure will improve the learning conditions and comfort of students. Better infrastructure will also help overturn overcrowding and lessen teaching burdens.
5. Effective public-private partnership is one key to bridging the gap in the Nigerian education system:
Improving Nigeria's education system may be hard but it is possible.
While the current state of Nigeria’s education sector should trouble us, it is not totally irredeemable. If Nigeria is to close its education gap, the government must move radically with huge investment or risk failing the future of Nigeria woefully. The government must also be ready to address the systemic barriers that hinder the implementation of an effective education strategy.
All children deserve access to quality education in a safe learning environment where they can gain skills and knowledge. There is an urgent need for private-public partnership and for heavy investment in education in terms of infrastructures, technology, teachers, funding of research if we are serious about bridging this education gap. It is daunting, but it is possible.
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