I wrote this article last year and I still find it relevant to the quagmire we face in the tertiary institutions and the recent protests by various higher citadel of learning.
“Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development”, these are the words of Kofi Annan the former secretary general of United Nations. Also many scholars believe that the development of a nation depends on how well it has developed it’s education sector.
According to Nelson Mandela “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
It is derisive that Education sector in Nigeria continue to wallop in the inglorious days it has found itself in recent years, the sector is fraught with a plethora of problems ranging from neglect by the government admission racketeering, poor hostel facilities, poor state of educational facilities, and unconducive environment for learning. Public schools, most especially tertiary institutions have been bastardized as a result of the rot in the sector which has deprived the children of the poor/masses who constitute the majority of public school students qualitative and sound education.
The insect which has find its way into the deep root of our education sector has paved way for private institutions which is only affordable by the Otedolas or the rocker fellers in the society. The toffs who our education is in their hands have taken education away within the reach of the already improvised poor and make the children of the rich to enjoy the sweetness of the land. Students that are produced as a result of the bad system are not up to standard and cannot compete with their mates from other countries through out the world.
In recent years, tertiary institutions all over the country continue to increase their school fees without any result or improvement in these schools. Students now attend classes in a lecture theatre that is over crowded, practical activities has reduced due to unavailability of practical instrument, poor state of our lecture theatres and other educational facilities. It is plaintive that most of our educational institutions are now in poor state compare to what it used to be during the days of our founding fathers. Pejoration in standard of education has also take us backward as no Nigeria university can be found among top 1000 universities in the world. This make our country to be lampoon by scholars and also students from other countries.
Unfortunately, new universities are been established by the federal government without any improvement on the facilities of the existing universities. The addition of universities only contribute to decline in the education problem that is been faced by students who are at the receiving end. Half baked students is what they call our university graduate now. Engineering students now graduate without adequate or no practical experience due to unavailability of materials, our laboratories are now in a ‘sorry State’, we’re now in those days where students buy one by one the instrument they need into a laboratory. The present condition of some hostel is dishearten, most of our hostels are now like ‘Poultry’, students now live in a condition where there’s no light, no water, no improvement in the facilities, costs of living has increase and the masses that can’t buy their way into the university are now been deprived their privileged of a qualitative education.
Over years this facilities continue to deteriorate drastically, lectures continue to take place in spaces never intended as class rooms, such as laboratories, sport centres, drawing studio, workshop, open field etc. This affect students negatively and also contribute to academic performance. Toilets are not functioning effectively, existing edifice continue to suffer due to inadequate maintenance, paints peeling from wall, crumbling plasters and sits inside the lecture hall are no where to be found.
The federal and state government must realized that our tertiary institutions need reformation, students still make of use equipment which cannot even go in line with present day technology, instruments used are outdated, no wonder UNESCO assessed Nigeria education sector over the last 15 years and assertively stated in its outcome of the assessment that, Nigeria education system is one of worst education systems in the world. I vehemently concur to this because as a student I can see the education sector is close to collapse.
At this stage and position we find ourselves, it is expected of the government to take it up as an important task so as to tackle the bane in the education sector. The government should improve in increasing the money proposed for education which fell short of UNESCO’s 26% recommendation.
It is dishearten when people we voted into power do not show any interest in solving or removing this canker worm that has taken it toll in the sector, like in the case of the former Abia state governor who claim education which is a tool of national development is a ‘Money Gruzzler’ and they all spend extravagantly on irrelevant and anti-masses projects. It was also revealed that last year by former CBN governor and Emir of kano Lamido Sanusi that our lawmakers gulp 25% of the country’s total budget and 10.7% of the 4.6 trillion national budget of year 2014 was allocated to education sector. It is high time we all shift attention to improving public education in a country where all of us can’t afford prohibitive fee been charged by private universities, or travel abroad to Oxford, or MIT for qualitative education.
This article was written by Durodola, Abiola Nurudeen A.K.A Eportal, a political enthusiast and a student of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.