When the Nigerian education sector is x-rayed, one quickly notices the problems that bedevil it. Our education truly needs holistic remedy to make it what society expects of it.
According to British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) English Dictionary, education encompasses teaching people various subjects at a school or college. Education is also the process through which a person is taught better ways of doing something or even a better way of living.
Hence, education means any form of learning which transforms and adds value to an individual’s life which should lead to the benefit of his family and society at large.
The fact that our institutions of higher learning run courses that are not accredited speaks volumes of the administrative anomaly in our schools.
However, most students enroll in various schools to study law, engineering, medicine and economics etc. Perhaps, they see these courses as the best selling professions, that is, a profession that can lead to gainful employment after graduation. This is so because most Nigerian students believe that the Nigerian environment only favours certain professions.
Meanwhile, there are other selling professions like those in the environmental option like estate management, surveying which could enable graduates become self-employed. For instance, a person in primary school could say he wants to become a doctor without knowing what is required of him before he could be qualified to study such a course later in a tertiary institution. Such a child, when he later gets admission into a secondary school, may not be able to cope with the science subjects that would enable him pursue the career he initially wished for.
Today, much emphasis is placed on trained teachers to teach in schools, that is, teachers with relevant educational qualifications. This has caused many people to bribe their way through schools in order to obtain certificates. Yet, not all trained teachers have the knowledge of teaching. This eventually promotes bribery and corruption which has become the order of the day.
However, to create the much-needed social balance and beat unemployment that is now ravaging the youth, there is need to upgrade technical schools to offer training in various skills.
It is toward breaking the youth unemployment yoke that the learning environment for acquisition should be encouraged with foreign partnership. This will go a long way to decongest the population of students enrolling in our universities, in addition to reducing the number of unemployed youth.
According to a scholar, Robert Owen, environmental conditions determine individual destinies and to improve the lot of the individuals, any reformer must start with recreating the environment to favour the individual.
Now, how do we recreate the environment in our various institutions of higher learning to favour these individuals bearing in mind that facilities in schools make up what is referred to as the environment? How do we put ASUU strike under control knowing full well that strike is a right of every labour union?
In juxtaposing the view of an English clergy, Rev Thomas Malthus, in his book: “Essay On The Principle Of Population,” where he asserted that the population was growing more than the rate at which food is supplied, it becomes clear that our students’ population is growing more than the available educational facilities.
The fact that students’ population is continuously outgrowing educational facilities in Nigerian universities and other institutions of higher learning brings with it economic backlash, as many are unemployed. These unemployed persons, in order to obey the natural law of survival, go into crime as the only way to keep food on their table. This goes a long way to slow down government policy of the day.
As a result, poverty keeps increasing and when proper measures are not taken to correct this imbalance, then, Darwin’s ‘Theory of Succession’ sets in such that it is only the strongest that survives. The big question is, what should be done to correct this imbalance whereby the Nigerian students’ population grows faster than educational facilities?
In Nigeria, birth and death lack proper registration or documentation. This accounts for ghost workers being paid salaries, while many persons including graduates remain unemployed.
However, should birth registration be done electronically alongside finger prints and passport photogragh of Nigerians in such a way that their data become accessible through the internet in similar way information is sourced through Google, this would help to reduce fake declaration of age of workers in government ministries and parastatals and other firms, and create room for youth employment.
Wonukwuru writes from Port Harcourt.