• No doubt, 2015 is a decisive year for Nigeria when the citizens will be on the march again to elect leaders for the country. So it is for the education sector as many unresolved issues of previous year will determine the progress or otherwise of the sector this year.

    Though stakeholders in their review of the out-gone year scored the sector below average on many fronts, others are of the opinion that government should consolidate on the gains in some sector, seek new ideas in some areas and fully implement pockets of outstanding agreements with the labour unions.

    In this report, some of the key issues that played out in 2014 that government at all levels, considering their assigned constitutional roles, probably attended to with little drive or left out rightly unattended to are examined.

    Under-funding of tertiary institutions:

    In 2014 tertiary education sector was adjudged the greatest beneficiary in the sector following government’s unprecedented injection of N200 billion NEEDS Assessment fund into tertiary education sector.

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    A close observer of the sector and former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Professor Peter Okebukola in setting an agenda for the managers of the sector observed that the injection of the fund into the system is yet to manifest.

    The dramatic change expected by Nigerians after the 2013/14, 10 months old strike and injection of the fund will begin to manifest in the physical development of the university system, in the re-equipment of libraries and stocking, laboratories, improvement in the learning arena, provision of standard lecture auditorium, faculty and staff training.

    Other issues that may probably make the sub-sector strike-free this year is the complete implementation of other details as contained in the 2009 agreement signed between the Federal government and the unions and the NEEDS assessment report.

    Some facts and findings of the 2012 Needs Assessment of Nigerian Public Universities set up by the Federal Ministry of Education and led by Professor Mahmood Yakubu Committee’s include:

    There are 37,504 academics in the country’s public, 23,030 representing 61 per cent in Federal Universities while 14, 474 about 39 percent teach in State-owned Universities. There are 31,128 male academics representing 83 per cent and 6,376 females resenting 17 per cent of the global figure of the system in Nigeria.

    Only about 16,127 representing about 43 per cent of the Nigerian universities teaching staff have doctorate degrees, instead of 75 per cent that is the standard while only seven universities; have up to 60 per cent of their teaching staff with PhD qualification.

    The assessment also found out that the average ratio of teaching staff to students in many universities is 1:100. In contrast to Harvard University where it is 1: 4; and Massachusetts Institute of Technology- 1:9; and Cambridge-1:3.

    There is numerically more support than teaching staff in the universities with statistics showing that non-teaching staff double, triple or quadruple the teaching staff, while physical facilities for teaching and learning in the public universities are inadequate, dilapidated, over-stretched and improvised.

    Laboratories and workshops equipment as well as consumables are either absent, inadequate or outdated kerosene stoves are being used as Bunsen burners in some Universities.

    Others are; engineering workshops operate under zinc sheds and trees, many science-based faculties are running what is referred to as “Dry Lab,” due to lack of reagents and tools to conduct real experiments and that there are a total of 1,252,913 students in the public universities

    Furthermore, the report also revealed that against the National Policy on Education that stipulates 60:40 enrolment in favour of science-based programmes, 66.1 per cent of them are studying arts, social sciences, management and education courses. The report added that only 16, 6.3, 5, and 6.6 per cent are studying; Science and Science-education courses; Engineering; Medicine, Agriculture, Pharmacy and Law respectively.

    Basic education, insecurity and threat to learning:

    Insecurity that resulted in the abduction of hundreds of school girls and boys from Government Girls College, Chibok, Borno State and other states in North-east of the country will for some time continue to call for attention as many of the captives still remain with their captors.

    Of note are the girls from Chibok who supposedly to be writing a national examination and in the custody of the government. Many schools have closed shops in some state in the geo-political zone of the country while the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has also accounted and confirmed the death of over 70 teachers in the hands of the insurgent Boko Haram sect.

    A Professor of Counselling and Criminal Justice at the University of Ibadan, Oyesoji Aremu, has called on the Federal Government to correct the high level of insensitivity on the part of the government that led to the abduction of innocent school children from their dormitories.

    Emphasising the need for government to redouble efforts and ensure a safer school environment, Professor Aremu called on government to urgently address the issue of insecurity in the North east part of the country that had brought learning at all levels to a near comatose in the three states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

    He stated that beyond the three states, other parts of the country also witnessed the fallouts of the insurgents’ attack on the education sector.

    He advised government to arrest the negative effects of the sect’s activities on the school-going behaviour of the school pupils in that part of the country where government had injected several million of funds to woo young children and youths into the Almajiri system of education.

    “Beyond the safe school project, the government should as a matter of urgency, makes the school absolutely safe and equip the school to truly reflect 21st century challenges. The sector, therefore, deserves all the attention that it truly requires,” he added.

    Calling for review of the curriculum, Professor Okebukola made a strong case for a proper toning up of the education curriculum to which 6 to 15-year children are in the fold.

    He advised the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to tone up the curriculum such that it will prepare the hearts of the young ones against incidences of indoctrination.


    Since indoctrination has become a weapon adopted by the sect in the use of underage school children as bombers, Okebukola said since, “Boko Haram is about ideology and indoctrination, education to tap into education and use it as a potent tool for ideology and indoctrination. He advised government to draw on the potent and positive power of education to counter the jihadist messages of the insurgents.

    He advised the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to tone up the curriculum such that it will prepare the hearts of the young ones against incidences of indoctrination.

    Local government autonomy:

    Another issue that will shape and shake the education sector is the contentious issue of the proposal by the two houses of the National Assembly on autonomy for local government as the third tier of government.

    The move which has been received with mixed reactions has pitched the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) against the respective state governments if the bill is signed.

    Apart from argument that there is no country in the world where there are three federating units, NUT National President, Comrade Michael Olukoya has threatened to embark on a nationwide strike should the proposal is credence.

    According to him, “Teachers had resolved to stay away from the classroom from the beginning of the next academic session. The union cannot afford to close its eyes in the face of the approaching darkness that will soon envelope the country in the event of the abolishment of state-local government joint accounts,” he said.

    He said that while the lawmakers supported local government autonomy and its attendant abolition of the joint account, no alternative platform was provided to guarantee regular payment of primary school teachers’ salaries.

    Other issues that will guarantee a strike free 2015 academic session include; payment of salaries and allowances, effective continuous training for teachers, provision of learning infrastructure, improved performance in the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), National Examination Council among others.

    Capital flight on oversees study:

    Government must improve access to tertiary education to curtail the influx of Nigerian citizens into neighouring and oversees countries for higher education reported to have gulped an estimated N100billion annually as tuition and sundry fees.

    It is estimated that there are over 200,000 Nigerian born citizens studying in Ghana universities thus reducing the capital flight therein.

    The fallen standard of education in Nigeria has started affecting the economy as over 200,000 Nigerian students studying in Ghanaian universities are reported to expend over N100bn annually as tuition outside sundry fees.

    This situation arose because official figures show that out of 1.7 million Nigerians seeking admission into institutions of higher learning, only a little over 500,000 find placements leaving many with no other option but to seek admission in Ghana and other countries in universities questionable standard.

    Former lawmaker and educationists, David Lornem urged the Federal Government to take immediate steps to unbundle the higher education sector in Nigeria by adopting the United Kingdom, American, Malaysian and German models which allows for the establishment of small university colleges by willing entrepreneurs,” the senator advised.

    He added, “It is totally unacceptable to officially shut the door against young Nigerians wanting admission, thereby, leaving them stranded and hopeless”.
    Culled from Daily Independent Newspaper

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