Topics: Higher education, Education, Secondary education Pages: 8 (3014 words) Published: February 20, 2013
The dwindling quality of education in Nigeria is a cause for great concern and also calls for a prompt action by all stakeholders to salvage the trend. The current situation is, to say the least, disheartening. A lot of computer science graduates of Nigeria’s tertiary institutions, for instance, fail recruitment tests for their inability to switch on a PC. Some of them are obviously getting to touch such machines for the first time. Mass Communication graduates struggle to make simple and correct sentences. Engineering graduates who ought to have conducted researches in the course of their studies, culminating in inventions, get to touch most of the elementary engineering tools for the first time, after their graduation. This is a near hopeless situation for a country that targets to be one of the world’s leading economies by 2020. The implication of the existing trend is that even though there is a high graduate unemployment rate, most of the university and polytechnic graduates in Nigeria are not employable. The loss of confidence in Nigeria’s education system is evident in the amount of money that Nigerians who can afford it, spend on their education in other countries. According to Exam Ethics International, a non-governmental organisation, Nigeria loses N1.5 trillion annually to education tourism. N160 billion of this amount is allegedly spent by Nigerian parents on their children and wards’ education in Ghana alone while N80 billion is spent on the same purpose in the United Kingdom. President Goodluck Jonathan should be commended for allocating the highest budget to the education sector in the 2013 budget. However, there are other issues that require urgent attention. The emphasis on paper qualification and theoretical knowledge at the expense of competence or practical knowledge and entrepreneurial skills is a big challenge to the sector. The result is that most products of Nigeria’s tertiary institutions are mere certificate carriers and are not qualified to be addressed as university or polytechnic graduates. It is the combination of the ineffective education system and the decreasing white collar job opportunities that have further compounded the nation’s unemployment problem. The diminishing quality of education in Nigeria is indeed, disturbing. Literacy is a human right recognised in the Universal Declaration of Rights and it goes beyond the mere skill of reading and writing. It is a process of transformation that empowers the individual, broadens his critical thinking and provides such individual with the ability to act. The much emphasis on paper qualification has however encouraged fraudulent acquisition of highly graded certificates at the expense of true knowledge acquisition. Some students go to the extent of bribing lecturers or having sex with them to obtain high grades. Government agencies and private organisations further endorse emphasis on paper qualification above competence and skill by discriminating between a polytechnic and a university graduate. This trend has to change. If Nigeria must move at the anticipated economic growth rate, then, the country must learn from great examples like China which derived the strength of its speedy economic development from skills acquisition and technical education. Giving more focus to the development of technical education and skills acquisition will also complement the targeted provision of regular power supply across the country and drastically, reduce unemployment rate. Objectives of the Universal Basic Education Scheme, the 6-3-3-4 Senior Secondary School Education system and some other education policy initiatives have not been achieved. As a matter of fact, Nigeria has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. According to the United Nations’ Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation, 775 million people are still considered non-literates and 85 per cent live in 41 countries including Nigeria. About 40 million adults in Nigeria are illiterates...
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