How many schools are in Nigeria?
How many students are enrolled?
How many schools provide learning opportunities?
What is the distribution?
What is the national ratio of teachers to students—qualified teachers? Who monitors teacher training and teachers’ continuing education?
The question could go on…but besides the obvious fact that these questions points at the national plague of poor record keeping in the public sector and the gross unavailability of accurate statistics, the questions are prompted by the seeming incapacity of mass education in this country.
My experiences are varied, but my recent interactions –for close to 8 months—with two categories of young people have constantly shocked me and prompted the questions above as well as many others. One group of young people are at the prime of their secondary education and besides their seeming disregard and disrespect for simple rules exhibit great intellectual poverty that I wonder if they had any education prior and given the way they conduct themselves I fear for our collective future.
The other group are in the prime of youth, they pride themselves to have successfully undertaken higher education…but quite honestly do not exhibit any quality of one who has excelled in learning and character…they show total disregard for positive values, threatening to beat up those with immediate authorities over the and passing sneer comments etc. They know too well that English is the official language here in Nigeria but besides the pidgin version of the language or the more rhythmic waffi version, they cannot make correct simple statements…then one wonders if they received instructions for their degrees in English or waffi.
The government claims to have expended so much on the educational sector. But I ask is she satisfied with the results? Is there even a performance monitoring system in place to map spending and investment in education to products or results obtained? Is the continued apparent disregard for lack of results (and lack of necessary input) into education the way to go?
I have always advocated private initiatives and believe non-profit and private sector involvements in education can bring about enormous improvements in that sector –remember NITEL failed and still does in providing telecom services which the private sector has shown not to be simpler than the science of rockets), but the truth remains only government have the capacity to bring about massive improvement in the necessary proportions in the country.
I pray those saddled with the responsibility of administering the ailing education sector will seat up and stop this mass in-education, rather collaborate with stakeholders to bring about a system that truly empowers the future of this great Nation!
I believe Nigeria will be great again. Do you? Do you not?