The late great president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” The challenges we face in Nigeria can be addressed if we adopt the right approach to education. Properly harnessed, education will not only preserve the present but guarantee the future.
The importance of the right educational values cannot be overemphasized. Unfortunately, the educational system of Nigeria is confronted with myriads of problems from lack of qualified teachers, insufficient educational materials, and poor infrastructure to rising examination malpractice.
We must invest in infrastructure and human resources, particularly teachers. We must appreciate the fact that the quality of teachers can make or mar the products of the educational system.
Education simplifies complex things, emboldens the people, and creates an opportunity for citizens to know more.
Across the country, many students learn in substandard classrooms, with limited teaching and learning materials. This is not the kind of situation that will build the type of children who will be the leaders of tomorrow.
The government of the day must pay more attention to education. Libraries should be erected, furnished, and equipped. There must be public enlightenment on the necessity of going to study at libraries.
There should be a revision of the curriculum to incorporate the use of technology. Most schools have no facilities for recreation and games.
We must ensure a productive combination of leisure and study. As the saying goes, all work and no play make Jack a dull boy. The government must also tackle corruption in the education sector. There are unqualified teachers in many schools in the country. These teachers are employed because of “connection,” which means they know people in a high government office or because they can bribe officials in the school management system. To confront this problem, there must be proper regulation in the recruitment of teachers. We cannot afford to take the future of our children for granted. There must be rules and regulations and a system to ensure the enforcement of these rules and regulations.
Another big problem is the issue of examination malpractice. All over the country people are parading qualifications they cannot defend. In many institutions, students pay their way through school. Every day, we hear cases of sexual harassment of students by teachers.
We must also incorporate in our school curriculum some of the best practices from around the world. We must create room for gifted children to excel by providing them with the necessary support and infrastructure. We must develop learning in both science and arts and prepare students with the ability to excel in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
Parents must guide children in making the right choices but not decide for them what they should study. To help students have a rounded education, we should encourage skill acquisition.
In conclusion, we must also consider making primary and secondary education compulsory and free so that many of our poor citizens will have access to education which is a building block for success in life.
We must invest in the training of teachers and the provision of the right infrastructure for learning. We need to improve the living condition of our teachers and managers of the education sector. This is the only way we can birth the educational system we desire in Nigeria.