Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Crisis in Education Sector!

I recently came across a caption on a friend’s Facebook page. It was titled “Two percent passed WAEC (West African Examinations Council) Exam in Oyo State”. After reading the caption, the questions I asked the poster were, how many of supposed successful candidates ‘bought’ questions prior to sitting for the exams. How many wrote the exams by proxy? How many colluded with examiners to have their results manipulated? For me these are reasonable questions to ask considering how desperate Nigerian students have become recently. Anyway, that’s not the issue here.

From east to west, north to south, evidence of the deplorable state of our education system are very glaring. Just like other sectors, the nation’s education system has been on a steady decline in the 20 years. Both the quality of teaching and infrastructure have been severely impacted by the comatose state of the education system. As we know, incessant school closures due to strike action have been the norm of the day. In fact, it will be considered unusual not to have schools shut down in any given academic year.

Also, most of the classrooms in Nigerian schools are dilapidated, sub-standard and unfit for human habitation. There have been cases of school buildings that have collapsed killing children in some parts of Nigeria.

Whilst the performance of Oyo state candidates looks very depressing to say the least, the fact remains that no state of the federation holds the monopoly of poor education performance. Lagos state is also not left behind in the race towards educational failure.

According to recent statistics released by the Lagos Ministry of Education, there’s been a decline of about 43 per cent in the enrolment figure between public primary and senior secondary school students, while there is about 31 per cent drop in the enrolment figure of primary school pupils by the time they move to junior secondary schools. The question one will ask is, where do these pupils go when they drop out of secondary school?

Only few weeks ago, WAEC noted Nigeria's performance in the 2009 SSCE as only 25 per cent(!). However, Head of WAEC National Office, Iyi Uwadiae was quick to point out that, we can take consolation in the fact that, Nigeria’s performance is the best among member countries, which include Ghana, Sierra Leone, and The Gambia. According to Iyi Uwadiae, "In our excellence award, Nigeria dominated. Nigerian candidates are doing very well,"

With 25 percent performance, it’s very disappointing to hear the Head of WAEC saying “Nigerian candidates are doing well”. So what exactly is the benchmark for measuring examination success? Why are we so fond of celebrating mediocrity? I consider Mr Uwadiea’s statement ludicrous.

Mr Uwadiae can say whatever he likes. As one will expect, he has chosen to be ‘patriotic’ rather than been objective in his comments. His statement however does not take anything away from the fact that our education system is comatose. Can his statement be accepted as evidence that our education system is better than that of Ghana? For me, the answer is No! If we do indeed outperform our neighbours, then why are Nigerians sending their wards to Ghana for secondary school education? Why have places like Benin and Togo, all of sudden become a destination for Nigerian students?

The result is a strong indictment of our education system. It exemplifies the rot in the education system. Is it not pathetic that our standards have now fallen so low, that the nation’s foremost assessing authority now considers 25 percent performance as “success”.

With the current state of education system, it doesn’t come as a surprise that 23million Nigerian youths are unemployable. As they say, “knowledge is power”. No nation can excel without investment in quality education aimed at economic growth. The lack of investment in quality education is putting our youths at a huge disadvantage. The world is now a global village. Nigeria is not just competing with, Gambia, Ghana and Sierra Leone.

But with the continuous decline in our education system, how can Nigerian youths compete with their counterparts from other parts of the globe?


Anonymous said...

could you give your full name. in case of references.

Melisa Marzett said...

Unfortunately, crisis in education sector leads to the fact that Nigerian youths are unemployable today. What a pity! After reading this article (available at, I finally understand the importance and significance of this issue!