by Alexander O. Onukwue
Nigeria’s education system has arguably never been at a lower state that it is today.
There are quarrels over what religious subjects should be on the curriculum for secondary schools, as though the country’s moral standard depends absolutely on that. Thousands of students of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Ogbomoso have been at home for more than fifteen months due to the inability of the Governments of Osun and Oyo to do their duties. The Houdegbe North American University in Benin Republic, Cotonou, announced the other day that 90% of its students – undergraduates – are Nigerians.
And within the space of three years, numerous attacks of violence and abduction have been afflicted on schools all over the country, from North to South. The wait for the return of the remaining abducted Chibok girls has exceeded three years by almost two hundred more days, while the clock for the six boys abducted in Igbonla draws towards the 60-day mark.
It paints a dark picture of the future of education in the country, not helped by the fact that the Ministry under the leadership of Adamu Adamu, seems to have no map to where it wants to go.
The peculiar case of the inefficiency of basic education must be disturbing to parents. Families that are well to do and can afford it have taken the option of flying their wards abroad (US, UK, etc) to get the best education available in those countries, where there are better guarantees for practical teaching delivered in safe environments.
However, lower middle-income families may not that luxury. These parents who understand the value of education, based on the ones they got, will be worried that their children cannot get the same value of what they got and those families, in places like Epe and environs, would not even rest easy with the security challenges presently obtainable.
Homeschooling is not a common option, and it is not convenient for many as well, with the need for parents to fend daily under the often unfriendly Nigerian economic climate for their bread. But for those families who can make it work, one wonders how long before it becomes a serious consideration.
Times are changing. Degrees and accredited certifications are important, but there are expanding opportunities for learning outside confined physical spaces of schools and classrooms. Online video courses and lessons are helping young people find a footing in self-development and taking a place of relevance in the society.
They will not replace the other values and fruits of physical interaction that come with learning in schools but if Nigeria’s education system is giving lemons, lemonade may become the new fruit juice.