Nigeria’s education sector crisis

Education can be considered as the process by which an individual acquires or formally transmits basic knowledge to another. Its ultimate goal is to help a person navigate life and contribute to society once they reach adulthood.

If all children in low-income homes could learn basic reading skills before leaving school, society as a whole could change dramatically. Indeed, education helps to eradicate poverty, hunger and also gives the individual the chance for a better life.

However, according to the The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), about 70% of children in Nigeria experience learning crisis syndrome.

UNICEF statistics further indicate that 53% of Nigerian children within 10 years will not be able to read or write.

Recently, the Nigerian government itself acknowledged that the country has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world. He further says that there are approximately 10.5 million children who are out of school.

It is no longer news that millions of Nigerian children have never set foot in a classroom and it is very worrying especially in the 21st century.

Education actors attributed the blame to cultural factors, nomadic communities, banditry and terrorism which continues to ravage parts of the country.

There is no doubt that the education crisis in Nigeria is affecting children across the country. However, some children are more likely to be affected than others: girls, children with disabilities, children from the poorest households, in street situations, or affected by displacement or emergencies, and children from geographically remote are all disproportionately affected by the education crisis.

Also, research has shown that some states are educationally backward in Nigeria. States like Zamfara, Yobe and Ebonyi have at one time or another been classified as educationally backward states.

It is no longer news that millions of Nigerian children have never set foot in a classroom and it is very worrying especially in the 21st century.

Perhaps more tragic is that the high number of children who make it into a classroom but never make the transition from primary to secondary school, cutting off their chance of having a secure future is increasing.

An estimated 35% of Nigerian children who attend primary school do not attend secondary school.

According to the UNICEF report, Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world! A full third of Nigerian children are out of school and one in five out-of-school children globally is Nigerian.

Also Read: Tackling the Learning Crisis in Nigeria’s Education Sector

The report also states that half of all Nigerian children did not attend secondary school in 2021. The reason is not far-fetched. The incessant banditry, terrorism and other signs of insecurity that befall the country are driving students away from schools.

In 2021, there were 25 attacks on schools. 1,440 children were abducted and 16 children killed. As many as 618 schools were closed in six northern states (Sokoto, Zamfara, Kano, Katsina, Niger and Yobe) in March 2021, for fear of attacks and kidnappings of students and staff.

In the southeast, the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) have imposed a sit-at-home order every weekday Monday, limiting school days to just four. In fact, this infamous act has prevented many children from writing certain papers in the West African Secondary School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE).

There is a great need to deal with this university pandemic that is ravaging the country. And in doing so, we vehemently advocate that government at different levels ensure that children are safe while in school, that no child should be afraid to enter a classroom or that his school is attacked and/or he is kidnapped.

Additionally, we urge educationally disadvantaged states to collaborate with others in terms of educational materials, human capacity building, among others. If Lagos State under Akinwunmi Ambode could partner with Kebbi State to produce LAKE Rice, then the states can also borrow ideas from each other and in doing so develop their education sector .

States should also rely on the vision of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to educate their people. The fundamental principle of UBEC in Nigeria is that everyone should have access to equivalent education in a comprehensive and mixed manner.

On that note, we totally agree with Peter Hawkins, who said: All Nigerian children deserve a fighting chance, no matter who they are or where they are. And this must necessarily include a good and solid education. It’s not just their right; it is the smartest and best way to secure the future of Nigeria as a whole.

Comments are closed.