Nigeria Desperate To Improve Basic Education

In Nigeria, improving basic education is a pressing issue and many states are dealing with problems such as dilapidated structures, old teaching methods, and a shortage of qualified teachers.

These shortcomings are directly affecting the academic performance and psyche of pupils, especially in public primary and secondary schools. Many primary and secondary school buildings are in shabby states, write Samuel Awoyinfa, Josiah Oluwole, Femi Atoyebi and Akinwale Aboluwade of Punch Nigeria.

In many schools, some teachers are still teaching with Grade 2 certificates that were obtained in the 1980s while teachers who have relevant qualifications are not exposed to modern trends in the teaching profession, either locally or at a global level.

Both Federal and state governments have continued to pay lip service to education, consequently the average Nigerian child still learn in an environment not conducive for the exercise.

Miserable structures in schools are also major concern. In October 2013, the walls of a community primary school in Adiye Owe, Ado Odo/Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State, collapsed and killed one pupil while four were injured. The incident occurred just 24 hours after the Education Committee of the Ogun State House of Assembly criticized the poor state of facilities in public schools across the country.

The lawmakers had condemned what they described as the allocation of huge state funds to the construction of model schools across the state at the expense of the existing public institutions. Also the same month, pupils of Alaka Grammar School, Ozoro, headquarters of Isoko North Local Government Area of Delta State, marched through the streets of the community protesting the neglect of their school by the authorities.

Many primary and secondary schools need modern and comfortable buildings. There also is a need to upgrade school's furniture and toilet systems. Lagos State has taken some steps to address the issue of providing modern blocks of classrooms. But still there is more room for improvements.

Secondary schools, including Ikeja Grammar School, Bolade Oshodi; Iloro Grammar School, Agege; Ewutuntun Grammar School, Mafoluku; and Fagba Junior Grammar School, Iju Road, do not have sufficient furniture for students.

In Esure-Ekiti and Ipaho-Ekiti, schools are very small in size, but the classrooms appear favorable for learning. The toilets, however, in few schools require regular cleaning to prevent outbreak of diseases.

The Commissioner for Education Kehinde Ojo said the only challenge confronting education in Ekiti State was paucity of funds. The commissioner, who described limited funding as a global challenge, said, "We have a dynamic society; so, there are challenges. There is paucity of fund, which is a global thing.

Recently, the West African Examinations Council announced the November/December West African Senior School Certificate (WASSCE) results. More than 70% of candidates failed to obtain the required credits in five subjects, including English and Mathematics, according to the WASSCE results.

12 28, 2013
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