By Afonta Perpetual Chizoba
Education is said to be the bed rock of any developing country, as it serves as a spring board to the well being of any nation. It also serves as the hub through which all sectors of any economy are powered. Unfortunately, the reverse is the case in Nigeria.
The recent result of the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) where about 4,500 students passed English and Mathematics out of the hundreds of thousands, who sat for the examination, is clear evidence. This is totally unacceptable and hence, an urgent radical solution is imperative.
The standard of education is falling in Nigeria and this is largely due to corruption. Corruption has been an epidemic in all sectors of the countryâ€™s economy which has infiltrated and debilitated the education system in Nigeria.
Corruption is the bane of education system in Nigeria and has eaten deep into the fabric of the society. The young and old are corruption-infested and a few example will buttress this assertion.
Imagine a situation where literate parents would cut corners or assist their children to cheat during examinations. This usually starts at the post primary level up to the post secondary level.
Some parents pay people to write the Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (SSCE) and also the University Matriculation Examination (UME) for their wards. The result of these untoward acts is that such children cannot be appraised in an aptitude test on their own merit because they have nothing to offer. They are as empty as they are blank.
To curb this menace, the Federal Ministry of Education under Mrs. Chinwe Obaji introduced the post-UME examination in 2005 to really ascertain the level of intelligence of each child before being admitted into the university.
Even at that, allegations of corruption still abound. Those who are really qualified are often not admitted and in their place, less intelligent candidates who are ready to pay or who have â€˜long legâ€™ are offered admission, they are often branded as â€œfriends of the Universityâ€.
Sometimes, one tends to ask how a particular dull student got into the university?
Even in tertiary institutions, students also cut corners or indulge in various examination malpractices to pass examination. What will such a student offer the wider society if he or she eventually graduates? The resultant effect is the mediocre and unemployable graduates our Universities churn out yearly.
The Nigerian statutory system recommends 6-3-3-4 educational system, yet after the 16years of hard learning, graduates are said to be half-baked. What a shame!
The truth remains that most students do not read and this can be attributed to lack of proper guidance.
Students are very good and busy at listening to pop music and watching movies rather than reading their books. The kinds of English they speak and write also speak volumes about their level of intelligence.
On the other hand, some lecturers and teachers are also guilty of polluting the educational system. One may tend to wonder why those who are supposed to be mentors to these students corrupt them the more.
Some scholars attribute the engagement of some lecturers in education malpractice to their poor salary, while others argue that it is the Nigerian way, where corruption is seen as a normal and welcome practice
The truth remains that the salary structure of teachers in the country needs to be raised by the government and proprietors of private schools should also do same to curb the high rate of examination malpractice and also to stop the incessant strikes by teachers because it contributes immensely to the decline of education in Nigeria.
The government should also be held responsible for the decline of education in the country because successive governments have failed totally in providing the basic facilities needed for educational development.
Owing to the lapses in the Nigerian educational system, there are currently thousands of young Nigerians studying abroad. Many in Ghanaian and South African Universities.
The current educational challenges confronting the nation are a clear call to Nigerians and the Federal Government to tackle these problems for national development.
No nation can attain its developmental goals by neglecting its educational sector and little wonder UNICEF admonished developing countries to appropriate 26% of their annual budget to the education sector. Any government that watches while its educational system is raped and bastardized will definitely reap chaos and anarchy as dividend.
Deliberate efforts should be made by the Federal Government and educational institutions at all levels to revive the falling standard of education and improve academic excellence in all fields of education in the country.