As Nigeria celebrates her independence from Great Britain 52 years ago, her education sector has not fared well as expected, especial as it concerns the tertiary institutions. The basic education level that should address the teething challenges of primary and secondary schools also, have been mired by one accusation or the other, leadership succession squabbles and lately, poor performance by contractors handling projects in the sector.
The Decline in the standard of education, deterioration of infrastructures, recurring examination malpractices, mass failures in public examination, and several other challenges are some of the malaise besetting Nigeria’s education today. The situation calls for an in-depth study and critical attention aimed at addressing them squarely.
In 1998, during the 45th meeting of theNational Education Council (NEC) held in Katsina, the then Minister of Education, the late professor Babs fafunwa in an address stated that stakeholders in the education sub-sector and “Those who do not know the extent of the rot in the sector, should sit and parley with us in order to understand what has gone wrong with education in Nigeria” He further added that, he believed that if Nigerians who matter know exactly the trouble which education is passingthrough they will be shocked to their marrow because ‘’Nigeria’s education has reached a level,which deserves the declaration of a state of emergency’’.
In this regard, conscious effort is needed byall the stakeholders in the educational sector, Government at all levels, school heads and teachers, even the students, to address the downward slide of Nigeria’s education.
In many of these schools, classrooms, libraries and laboratories, are nothing to write home about, as there is equally decline in academic standards.
Attention must be focused on revitalising educational institutions to get us out of the woods and this is onlypossible through adequate funding.Since 1986 when the federal militarygovernment introduced the structural adjustmentprogramme SAP, allocation of financial resources to the educational sector has been on steady decline till date.
Consistent with the above development, is the dwindling level of procurement of imported technical and scientific equipment, books, journals and other instructional needs in the educational system.
It is a well- known fact that the inadequacies always noticed among many undergraduates and graduates alike is as a clear reflection of the poorest level of inputs from the primary and the secondary education system in Nigeria.
It is pertinent that the government of the day should design suitable plan for funding education. For instance, UNESCO has recommended that 26% of the total budget of a nation should be allocated to education. But Longe Commission of 1991 observed that the percentage of recurrent budgetary allocation to education in Nigeria hasnever exceeded 10%. Though, the system isexpensive to keep afloat, quality however in anyform is partly a function of the total fund made available to the system and judiciously utilized forthe purpose to which it is meant for.
Funds are required and necessary to maintain both thehuman and material resources of the educational system in order to achieve the desired goals. Also there is the need for an effective monitoring of the management of fund presentlybeing allocated to the sector, and all effort should be intensified to improve on what is currently being allocated to the system.
The efforts of the present ministers of Education in addressing the rot in the sector, deserves every commendation as they have remained tireless and should be encouraged.