TO WHAT EXTENT HAS EDUCATIONAL MINIMUM STANDARD BEEN ACHIEVE IN NIGERIA; DISCUSS ANY SECTOR
Nigerian educational system has gone through various developments and changes viz-a-viz curriculum issues. The dynamic nature of the curriculum process lead to the history of curriculum development for basic education in Nigeria. Analysis of the Nigerian education sector reveals the challenges of incoherence in policy Formulation and implementation. The selection and organization of curriculum content, curriculum implementation and evaluation, the development, distribution and use of teaching materials, and the relevance of the curriculum to the needs of society Therefore, the need for transformation in curriculum for all the educational levels becomes necessary.
EDUCATION IN NIGERIA
Education in Nigeria is overseen by the Ministry of Education. Local authorities take responsibility for implementing policy for state-controlled public education and state schools at a regional level. The education system is divided into Kindergarten, primary education, secondary education and tertiary education. Education in Nigeria has attracted much public discussion in recent times. Examining the indices of development and practices in implementing Nigeria’s school curricula to determine whether the fall in standard of education is due to the way in which schools are implementing skills acquisition. Poor implementation of school curricula was listed as one of the cause of poor educational standards, which causes inadequate skills acquisition. Areas to be revisited include curricula, school discipline, school ownership, teacher education and awareness levels of the links between education and self-reliance.
FALLING STANDARD OF EDUCATION IN NIGERIA
We believe that the falling standard in education in Nigeria could be linked also to the lost glories of traditional education which inculcates among other things the very important values of hard-work, diligence, integrity, and high productivity. When these are lacking in any production system, education inclusive, the results are often devastating leading especially to poor quality output and wastage which in themselves undermine capacity building and sustainable development. The tertiary level produces the much desired human capital that propels nations from backwardness to modernization. But it has to be fed from the lower levels. A “mal-nourished” primary level would breed a “kwashiokored” secondary level that culminates into a “masrasmused” tertiary level. A survey of the opinions of 5,507 stakeholders was therefore carried out to determine whether educational standards were actually falling in Nigeria and at what level it was most grievous. It was found that standards have fallen at all levels of education, with the tertiary level being most hit, followed by secondary, and least, primary level. Three major reasons found were poor funding of education, poor implementation of educational policies and programmes and poor attitude to school-work. Recommendations included better funding of education adopting UNESCO’s 26 percent minimum of annual budget, inculcation of the tenets of traditional education, and utilization of research findings in managing Nigeria’s education
Generally, when people talk about the ‘standard of education’ in Nigeria, they seem to compare what the products of education could do in yesteryears to what it can do today. For example, it is the belief of people that most things the primary school leavers of yesteryears could do, cannot be effectively done by secondary students of today. For example, products of primary schools of yesteryears could easily write letters, whereas secondary school students of today cannot.
The views of scholars on the standard of education vary. This is because there is no well defined instrument to measure it with utmost reliability and validity, and so, it is a relative term. Scholars view standard of education from different perspectives, depending on the angle each of them is looking at it from.
According to Ifedili and Ochuba (2009), “educational standards set out the quality of education that is acceptable to her citizens. It provides for purpose, direction and criteria for performance evaluation. The government sets the policies and the policies are implemented by the masses. The extent to which these policies are implemented are judged by the standards”. Teachers without Boarders (2006) reported that the standard of education is how the products of schools can be measured in terms of outcome. That is, a measure of how school leavers contribute to the society in terms of cognitive, affective and psychomotor. This is in terms of skills, knowledge and right attitude acquired by graduates the country produces. When the standard is low, half-baked graduates are produced. These graduates go into the market with less than knowledge and less skills and often with dubious attitudes
The government has majority control of university education. The country has a total number of 129 universities registered by NUC among which federal and state government own 40 and 39 respectively while 50 universities are privately owned. In order to increase the number of universities in Nigeria from 129 to 138 the Federal Government gave 9 new private universities their licences in May 2015. The names of the universities that got licenses in Abuja included, Augustine University, Ilara, Lagos; Chrisland University, Owode, Ogun State; Christopher University, Mowe, Ogun State; Hallmark University, Ijebu-Itele, Ogun State; Kings University, Ode-Omu, Osun State; Micheal and Cecilia Ibru University, Owhrode, Delta State; Mountain Top University, Makogi/Oba Ogun state; Ritman University, Ikot-Epene, Akwa- Ibom State and Summit University, Offa, Kwara State.
First year entry requirements into most universities in Nigeria include: Minimum of SSCE/GCE Ordinary Level Credits at maximum of two sittings; Minimum cut-off marks in Joint Admission and Matriculation Board Entrance Examination (JAMB) of 180 and above out of a maximum of 400 marks are required. Candidates with minimum of Merit Pass in National Certificate of Education (NCE), National Diploma (ND) and other Advanced Level Certificates minimum qualifications with minimum of 5 O/L Credits are given direct entry admission into the appropriate undergraduate degree programs.
Students normally enter university from age 18 onwards, and study for an academic degree. Historically, universities are divided into several tiers:
First Generation Universities
Five of these Universities were established between 1948 and 1965, following the recommendation of the Ashby Commission set up by the British Colonial Government to study the necessity of university education for Nigeria. These universities are fully funded by the federal government. They were established primarily to meet a need for qualified personnel in Nigeria and to set basic standards for university education. These universities have continued to play their roles for the production of qualified personnel and the provision of standards, which have helped to guide the subsequent establishments of other generations of universities in Nigeria. Universities in this tier include the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and the University of Ibadan.
Second Generation Universities
With the increasing population of qualified students for university education in Nigeria and the growing needs for scientific and technological developments, setting up more universities became imperative. Between 1970 and 1985, 12 additional universities were established and located in various parts of the country.
Third Generation Universities
The need to establish Universities to address special areas of Technological and Agricultural demand prompted the setting up of 10 additional Universities between 1985 and 1999.
Pressures from qualified students from each state who could not readily get admissions to any of the Federal Universities continued to mount on States Governments. It became imperative and urgent for some State Governments to invest in the establishment of Universities.
In recognition of the need to encourage private participation in the provision of university education, the Federal Government established a law in 1993, allowing private sectors to establish universities following guidelines prescribed by the Government.
The typical duration of undergraduate programs in Nigerian universities depends largely on the program of study. For example, Social Sciences/Humanity related courses are 4 Years, Engineering/Technology related courses are 5 Years, Pharmacy courses are 5 Years, and Law courses are 5 Years, each with two semester sessions per year. Medicine (Vet/Human) degrees take 6 Years and have longer sessions during the year.
The importance of education to human beings cannot be over emphasized. Education is a human right that should be accorded to all human beings solely by reason of being human. Education is an important factor in every individual’s life; it is the key to a better future. It is generally believed that the standard of education in Nigeria is falling. This is because most of the things a primary school leaver in the years gone by can do, cannot be effectively done by secondary school students of today. An example is letter writing. The problem of education emerged from the neglect which the sector suffered from in the 1980s leading to the gradual erosion of the system. A research was conducted to find out if the standard of education in Nigeria is really falling using the survey method. 50 questionnaires were distributed to students in 5 universities, 3 private schools namely; Caleb University, Covenant University and Babcock University and 2 private schools; university of Lagos and Ogun state university. After a careful analysis of the data gathered, it was discovered that 76% of the students agreed that the educational standard in Nigeria is falling while the remaining 24% said nothing is wrong with the educational standard in Nigeria is not falling. According to the students; most of the causes of the falling standard of education are things that can be controlled. Inadequacy of funding, lack of teaching tools and modern classrooms, corruption, constant strikes, poor numerations and the acute shortage of qualified teachers, have all contributed to the fall in the standard of education in Nigeria. Every student has his own opinion concerning the reason for the falling education standard. One of the respondents, a student of Ogun state university said Government is largely responsible for the falling standard of education. Government change policies concerning education frequently, leaving both teachers and students confused. They also do not equip classroom and laboratories appropriately to enable effective learning. Corrupt officers who misuse institutions funds go unpunished. Exam malpractices, which is one of the major causes of falling standard of education has not been tackled by government.
UBEC. “About UBEC. Universal Basic Education Commission”. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
“Nigeria Education Profile”. U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
“World data on Education” (PDF). UNESCO-IBE. 2011. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
“Vocational education in Nigeria”. UNESCO-UNEVOC. 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
Schultz, T.P. (2002). “Why Governments should Invest More to Educate Girls” World Development, Vol. 30 No.2 Pp 207 – 225.
Nussbaum, Martha (2003) “Women’s Education: A Global Challenge” Sign:: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 2003, vol. 29, no. 2 Pp 325 – 355.
Aliu, S, (2001). “The Competitive Drive, New Technologies and Employment: The Human Capital Link”. A Paper presented at the Second Tripartite Conference of Manpower Planners. Chelsea Hotel, Abuja.