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Falling Standard of Education in Nigeria

No chairs for pupils to sit and learn
Education is the fulcrum of the nation's development. It is the foundation upon which all other sectors are built. If the foundation is faulty, what can the righteous do?  The foundation of the Nigeria's Education is weak and if nothing else done to rebuild it, the hope of our unborn children cannot be guaranteed. The educational structure of Nigeria has experienced earthquake, only the crumbs are left. Gone are the days of free and quality education. Corruption has eaten up the country, National budget allocated to the educational sector is reducing day by day. The little amount of money available is developing unseen wings and flying out of the nation's pocket.

The Constitution is being reviewed to favour those in power at the detriment of the poor citizens. The bourgeoisie are exploiting the proletariat. The rich, politicians are sending their children to study abroad sponsoring them with the nation's resources. The children of the poor citizens are struggling and competing for the available pieces of the junk and remnants of the National cake. No wonder Karl Marx said that the society will always be in status quo. The rich will become richer while the poor poorer. Occupants of the upper social class are protecting their children from witnessing the consequences of their actions leaving the innocent ones to bear the brunt.

The standard of Nigeria's education has collapsed. The major cause is corruption. Financial resources are not used for what they are meant for. The allocated budget for the sector is being embezzled for personal use. Government no longer focus on the educational sector, much attention has been diverted to the oil sector. There is no more free education and even the so-called free education is not actually free. Exorbitant money is paid as school fees and all sorts of levy fees. Some people drop out of school as a result of inability to pay fees. Students lose admission into tertiary institution due to lack of financial resources. Scholarships are reducing with a rapid rate. The scholarships that are meant for the less privileged are being channeled to the rich. There is politics in the educational sector. Schools have turned to financial institutions and business centers.

The infrastructures are nothing to write home about. Some buildings are at the verge of collapsing while some turn to swimming pools during raining season. There is inadequate care and renovations are not done. The working condition is bad, classrooms are small, broken chairs and tables litter the floor. Walls are now used as chalkboards. There is overpopulation as new students are admitted every year with no adequate plans for erection of buildings and facilities. Ventilation is poor. Teachers go to classes with towels and handkerchiefs to wipe sweat from their brows and faces coupled with hand fan to aid ventilation. The staff rooms are stuffy. Both the students and teachers sit on woods in some schools. The environment is not conducive for learning and teaching.

The poor working condition and the absence of motivation and remuneration reduce teacher's commitment.  Salaries are not paid regularly, teachers are only motivated with their intrinsic values, and that is for those who love teaching. Absence of the extrinsic values in terms of regular and high salaries, good working condition, and promotion at the appropriate time drains the teacher's morales to teach. If they are not motivated, they will not give their best and only the God-fearing ones will go to classes to teach, and if teachers dont teach, the appropriate learning process will not take place. The students come to school with nothing new to learn. The standard of education has fallen to the extent that students and pupils promote to the next class without examination.

Teachers go on strike in order to make demands and negotiations. There is always conflict between the Union leaders (ASUU and NUT) and the government as to the problems encountered by the educational sectors. Schools are closed down for months and the government will not move an inch in trying to resolve the disagreement. There lackadaisical and selfish attitude is so because their wards and children are not schooling in the country. Negotiations are made after a long period of time. During the closure of the school, some female students become wayward and they engage in prostitution, they might be pregnant and even increase the rate of transmission of deadly sexual diseases. The males are influenced badly and are engaged in different forms of social vices while some might completely drop out of school.

All these problems are mainly found in government schools where token of money are being paid as school fees, damages or PTA's fee. Private institutions are expensive and are mainly for the rich leaving the majority of the masses helpless. The serious students thrive on their own to learn and the lazy ones among them make use of the situations to foster their wayward ways of life and as an excuse of becoming juvenile delinquents.
Inadequate preparation and the negative attitude of students to their studies account for the high rate of failure and poor academic performance among students. Examination malpractice is no more news, microchips, carrying of ’expo’, writing of answers on body parts, the use of mercenaries during examinations is now seen as normal thing in Nigeria. Law enforcement agencies no longer enact laws to curb the rate of these bad practices.

The standard of education is crying out loud for a saviour. Corruption should be reduced to the minimum. Political leaders and the rich should stop sending their wards out of the country for studying. By this, more attention will be shifted to the sector and revenues will be allocated for infrastructural development. Buildings with well-ventilated class rooms and staff rooms should be constructed. Adequate renovations should be done. Stationery and writing materials should be provided.

Education system should be reviewed, affordable and be free for all citizens. School fees in private and missionary schools should be subsidized. Experienced teachers should be employed. Motivators like regular payment of salary, good working conditions, bonuses, promotion when due. There should be consensus between the union leaders and the government. Anyone caught cheating should be sanctioned and punished. This will serve as deterrent to the lazy students. Students with excellent academic performances should be encouraged through scholarships, monetary rewards and the likes.

The rise of the educational standard to the zenith should be the primary goal of all. The government, political and spiritual leaders, parents, elders in the community should work in unity so as to restore the lost glory of education in this country.

I know we can achieve this, let us all work together.

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