– By Ajisafe Paul Mobolaji
“With an estimated 13.2 million children out of school, high illiteracy level, infrastructural deficit and decay, unqualified teachers, and inadequate instructional materials, to mention some of the challenges, we can clearly see the effect of decades of neglect that the education sector has suffered. “We are determined to turnaround the sector for the better. We are already making appreciable progress in this respect. – President Buhari at the Education Summit in 2017.
Education is one of the primary ways to build and sustain individual and society’s development; upgrade the living standard of citizens and enable individuals to become better and more productive citizens but it is a cry of the heart that Nigeria education is an inverse of what education is supposed to be due to crisis in the education sector, strikes ranging from lecturers/teachers to students’ unrest, lack of expertise in the educational sector and much more which has then jeopardize the state of education in Nigeria.
After the subsequent revision of Universal Primary Education, the Universal Basic Education came on board to cater for the education of school children on a free and compulsory basis affording numerous low profile citizens to send their children to schools to receive qualitative education of which large numbers of our leaders are beneficiaries.
In the 21st century where science and technology have been the weapons of developed countries, Nigeria, being the giant of Africa is still suffering from the rare disease of poor education which makes her possess the first position of the largest population of ‘out of school’ youths in the world.
As part of this, President Muhammadu Buhari was given the mantle to lead the country out of this mess of improper, unserviceable, unworkable educational system which does not only cause havoc to the state of the country economy but also to the health of the individuals and the social rest in the society. President Muhammadu Buhari with the motto of CHANGE, made people shout for joy and depart to their homes in happiness to see a positive Nigeria with good and affordable education.
During the past years of his tenure, the President must be praise for his pursuit of the looters of the country’s resources and for prosecuting them no matter how influential and powerful they can be in the society. But the Education sector is quite lagging at a one million meters from where it should be. Academics and Non-Academics Staffs in Universities, Secondary and Primary Schools embark on industrial strike actions due to non-payment of salaries or gratuities thereby distorting the academic calendars of the schools. Students also agitates for a better welfare in the schools to facilitate learning but all these have been abortive and thereby a major concern to the President, who promise to turnaround the sector for better.
“With an estimated 13.2 million children out of school, high illiteracy level, infrastructural deficit and decay, unqualified teachers, and inadequate instructional materials, to mention some of the challenges, we can clearly see the effect of decades of neglect that the education sector has suffered. “We are determined to turnaround the sector for the better. We are already making appreciable progress in this respect.
Federal and State Universities in the country are now in a state of mêlée as most of these Universities which are supposed to serve the citizens with good and qualitative education are suffering from poor infrastructure and poor payment of workers among others which are expected to facilitate learning and teaching process. These essential needs has made most of the public higher institutions to raise a hike in the tuition fees and also in the accommodation fees in which they render to the students at almost a give-away price before due to the good intervention of the government.
The 6.14% allocation to Education in the 2017 budgets was criticized by Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi (ASUU President, 2017) in an interview with the Guardians. He used the statistics to claim that the President Muhammadu Buhari led regime is doing below par in the education sector.
“It is no longer news that budgetary allocation to education remains the lowest in the last five years. For instance, in 2013, 8.77 percent of the federal government budget was allocated to education. This rose marginally to 9.04 percent in 2014 and again, 11.29 percent in 2015.
“However, it came down to 7.98 percent in 2016 and 6.14 percent in 2017. This is no doubt, a far cry from the UNESCO’s benchmark of 26 percent annual budgetary allocation to education sector, noting, that patterns paltry budgetary allocations and releases to education sector has also been observed over the years,” He said.
Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi words can be claim to be true looking into the Premier University, the University of Ibadan which is mostly regarded as the First and the Best not only for being the first Premier University in the country but also produces numerous intellectuals who are worthy in character and learning thereby contributing immensely to the growth of the country and the world at large. This citadel of learning for the past few years have been a city of war as protestations rise day by day which led to the proscription of Students Unionism in the Campus. This week, the school administration through their website ui.edu.ng releases the fees for the 2018/19 session with a 293% hike in the school fees of the medical students in the University College Hospital owned by the School and also a terrific hike in the accommodation fees of the students both in the main campus and UCH with Prof. Olayinka led regime opinion that the hike occurred for the betterment of the Nigerian students.
This problem does not only occur to this Premier University alone, it is also experienced in other universities such as Adekunle Ajasin State University just to mention a few which then calls for the intervention of Mr. President to the weighty need in Education so as to give room to the large population of the poor to send children who are ready to learn to go to schools which is one of the basis of the Universal Basic Education.
The President with the high calibre of people in the educational sector should please wake up from their slumber to give Nigerians good education as promised by them during their manifesto. If not, this promise of a thing will surely kill us and it might kill the education system in Nigeria if nothing is done to resuscitate it.
Ajisafe Paul Mobolaji is a Student from the Department of Human Kinetics and Health Education (Finalist-to-be) and a member of the Union Campus of Journalist, University of Ibadan Chapter