What has education become in Nigeria? What has university education which is top of the ladder of education become in Nigeria today?
Even though who constantly repeat that ‘school na scam’ secretly know that if Nigeria is to ever escape the pit into which it has fallen, education will play a stirring role. Education will be like a strong rope thrown into a deep pit so that a country languishing there can get a strong purchase and be hurled out. Education is a lifeline and a country that is walking dead can do with every lifeline it can get now.
The situation is a dire one indeed. From the foundational levels of education in Nigeria, many children on setting out for their first day in school experience the drudgery that education is in Nigeria. Even in Abuja, Nigeria`s capital, where one would expect proximity to power to count for something no matter how little in the standard of education, the scale of the disrepair casts the situation into such stark relief.
In many public primary schools within the Federal Capital Territory, the state of the buildings immediately raises palpable fear for the safety of pupils. This is well before one takes into consideration the absence of proper sanitary facilities and the other paraphernalia that make education complete.
With the foundation already flawed, the situation does not improve as one climbs up the ladder. In many secondary schools within the Federal Capital Territory, classrooms have fallen into disrepair with the furniture so broken up that it does not take a soothsayer for one to know that they are unfit for quality education. Many times, it appears the students are their own worst enemies as there is evidence that they deface the classrooms and break the furniture themselves. They to constitute shoal of saboteurs shooting Nigeria in the foot.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been on strike since February 2022 in what has become an annual spar with the Federal Government. While those who make up the government are having a swell time clinking glasses and picking up forms worth hundreds of millions of naira to contest elections, and ASUU member enjoy their vacation at home like snakes sunning themselves, it is Nigerian undergraduates that are stuck at home with frustration and desperation dealing them heavy hands.
If public primary schools in Nigeria showcase like a display window the roots of the problem with education in Nigeria, Universities make an elaborate fair of the exhibition.
In spite of its ocassional flippancy, ASUU always seems to have a point when it laments the state of educational infrastructure in Nigeria. For without the right implements, even the expert farmer can only go so far. Some of its demands have included funding for the revitalization of public universities and calls for the poor funding of state universities to be addressed.
A country`s ability not just to keep its head above the water but to rise above others in the comity of nations has a lot to do with how educated its citizens are and how much those educated citizens are able to contribute to national development. It figures that countries that deliberately set out to reverse their national fortunes begin by revamping their education sector.
The Times Higher Education (THE) formerly the Times Higher Education Supplement is a British magazine reporting specifically on news and issues related to higher education. It releases an annual ranking of how universities around the world have performed in the previous year.
A record 1,524 institutions from 110 countries and regions participated across the rankings on 2022 representing a 23% increase on the previous year.
According to the rankings, for Africa, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi Ghana, was ranked the best university in Africa in terms of quality education. The KNUST placed 14th globally on the ranking with a score of 83.7% trumping every other university in Africa. For Nigeria, the Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) came top with Covenant University and the University of Ibadan placing second and third respectively.
The rankings show that Nigerian universities have to do more. There is now a disturbing propensity to proliferate universities in the country. While nothing serious is being done to improve the state of existing universities in Nigeria, more universities, gleefully midwifed by indecisive legislators and dubious legislations, continue to mushroom all over the place like weeds. The net effect is that university education in Nigeria continues to retreat deep into the weeds.
In Nigeria`s corruption-ridden clime, no one can also categorically say that the palms of those who should root this charade out of existence do not get greased from time to time so they can conveniently find the entire exercise slippery.
The problems we have with university education today is not only affecting the present, like cancer it is slowly but terminally eating up the future.