Nigeria At 62: Education Sector Still Wobbling

As Nigeria celebrates her 62nd Independence anniversary, some citizens have bemoaned the decay in the education sector, saying that after over six decades of self-rule, she has yet to get the system working.

They accused the successive administrations of neglecting the sector and “showcasing their “ignorance” of the role of education in the development of countries across the globe.

They, however, urged the government to prioritise education if the country hoped to take its rightful position in the world’s developmental ratings.

According to Prof. Glory Aikeme of Delta State University, the government should implement the UNESCO prescribed allocation of 26 per cent of the annual budget to education in order to revamp the sector.

‘’Nigeria at 62 has not paid enough attention to the education sector; what we should be laying emphasis on is proper implementation of the budget on education,’’ he said.

Aikeme said that the government had failed in areas of budget allocation to the sector while most teachers had lost passion for and commitment to the profession.

“I am a lecturer at the university but we have also failed the students.

“The teachers don’t teach at all, the sector is in a comatose and it needs urgent attention. We need moral discipline so that the actors can sit up.

“If ASUU has an agreement with the Federal Government, they should also show enough understanding.

“The agreement was reached in 1998 and there have been several regimes that have governed the country since then.

“The question is what level of commitment have the successive administrations shown to the agreement?” he said.

Similarly, Dr Matthew Onuh of Wellspring University, Benin emphasised that ‘’it is only when government takes education seriously that we in the classroom will ‘know how far, so far.’’

According to him, it is public knowledge that the nation is not doing well due to the leaders’ neglect of the sector.

“Government should show serious support for education, if not, I wonder where we are going to be in the next century if we continue with this attitude to education,” he said.

Onuh called for improvement in the welfare of teachers at all levels and stressed that this was necessary to get the best for the school children.

Oh his part, a veteran journalist in Benin, Mr Francis Onoiribholo, said that the emergence of the military in governance marked the beginning of education collapse in the country.

He recalled that the sector was thriving in the early days of Nigeria’s independence with brilliant students being offered automatic scholarships to top universities abroad.

Onoiribholo also canvassed for an increase in budgetary provision for education for Nigeria to meet up with the trends in terms of technology and development.

Also, the Dean of the Faculty of Education, University of Uyo, Prof Ntiaobong Ekong, expressed displeasure with the poor state of education from primary to tertiary levels, especially in public schools.

The professor of Agriculture Education reechoed the call for government urgent intervention in the sector.

He equally maintained that there was no country that developed without a sound foundation for the education of its citizens, describing it as the main instrument for national development.

Ekong said: ‘’At 62, I want to specifically say that the education system in Nigeria is not as mature as the country at 62.

‘’ASUU strike is getting to the eighth month now and there’s no concrete solution, no positive focus on ways to resolve the issue.’’

He decried the degree of brain drain in the education sector due to neglect and urged the government to prioritise it in order to enhance the nation’s development.

NAN

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