By Grace Kubai Yatai
Education is a fundamental right which every child must acquire in any decent society. It is important to the development of individuals and societies. Education which is of greater value in our society can be seen as the art or science of transmitting culture, norms, traditions, values and ethics of a society from one generation to its succeeding generation. It is seen as catalyst to modern successes and productive future; it kills the disease of ignorance and superstition. Babs Fafunwa in 1974 defines Education as the aggregate of all the process by which a child or young adults develops the abilities, attitudes and other forms of behavior of positive value to the society in which he lives.
Highlighting the Nigeria’s falling standard of education; teachers without Boarders (2006) reported that the standard of education is how the products of schools can be measured in terms of outcome. That is, a measure of how school leavers contribute to the society in terms of cognitive, affective and psychomotor. This is in terms of skills, knowledge and right attitude acquired by graduates the country produces. When the standard is low, half-baked graduates are produced.
These graduates go into the market with less than knowledge and less skills and often with dubious attitudes. In a bid to know whether an individual is learned or knowledgeable, the criterion to use is to measure the standard of such individual’s education.
More so, t is a common saying that the standard of education is falling in Nigeria technically speaking the standard of education if properly look at from the global view of what education entails can be argued and said “ not to be falling” the school of thought that believes the standard of education is not falling is of the opinions that there are three domains of education viz
Cognitive, psychomotor and affective. However, if the standard of cognitive is seen to have fallen, how about that of psychomotor and affective?
It is argued that any learner that excels in psychomotor or affective domain but is found wanting in cognitive cannot be said to have failed to acquire the needed standard of education but the cognitive aspect of Nigeria education has given it a different look though it is obvious that the speed at which students learned centuries ago is not the same now.
As it stands, in Nigeria, students churned out through the system are not literates graduates but bunches of inadequately trained under the umbrella of being graduates. This problem does not begin at this higher level of learning but from the primary level which is the foundation of learning.
The following can be challenges for been responsible for the lapses of standard education in Nigeria: Pupils/students, Parent, Teachers, Government, and the Society as a whole. In particular, judging the cognitive performance our educational standard has fallen and still seems to be because of the attitude of pupils to school.
Some will go to school but fail to attend class because of peer group influence. Majority of students do not have time for their studies.
They prefer to play games, watch cartoons on television and films at the expense of reading their books. In the higher institution of learning especially, some students engage themselves in cultism.
Another reason for falling standard of education in the tertiary institution is the problem of wrong choice of academic specialization by students. In this aspect some students do not marry their competence with their choice of discipline as they do not possess the natural endowment demanded by such course of study and also fail to contact a counselor who will guide them in choice of course.
Coupled with this is the corruption that has eaten deep into the fabrics of the society which motivates students to feel that it can be easy for them to lay hands on examination papers. Students are the centre of examination malpractice; they have various techniques of examination malpractice. At the secondary schools level mostly private schools some schools have become miracle centres where schools make students pay to be helped in examinations.
The craving of Nigerian youth to acquire paper qualification at all costs is another reason for the falling standard of education in Nigeria. Some desperate youth will go far as to pay various sums of money to be awarded degrees by unaccredited educational institutions.
On the part of parents, most parents do not care about their children’s education as some parents feel their means of livelihood is more important to them than the achievement of their children. Most parents refuse to buy necessary school materials for their children.
Poverty drags some parent or guardians to involving their children into hawking which sometimes is usually done in the morning making the children late to school.
Apart from the above the greatest censure on the falling standard of education is directed to teachers who cannot successfully exonerate themselves because of the fact that some of them have refuses to discharge their duties attentively. The divide their interest as they engage in other businesses when they are supposed to be in their classes teaching such teachers travelled as far as to neighbouring countries when their students and pupils are suffering for lack of teachers in class. The worse is a situation where some teachers are deeply involved in politics at the expense of their primary assignment. So how do you want the students to learn?
Nevertheless, the government can be held to be responsible for the falling standard of education in Nigeria. A situation where a merit is jettisoned at the recruitment of teachers into schools is quite appalling and does not help education sub sector. The government professes free education but practically denies schools the basic necessities that can make teaching and learning smooth. Also the government do not equip classrooms, laboratories and workshops appropriately and adequately to enable effective learning. Corrupt officers who misuse institutions’ funds go unpunished. Exam malpractices, which is one of the major causes of falling standard of education has not been tackled by government.
Furthermore, the system in which our education of today finds itself contributes to it sub-standard. In those days, possession of certificate was an asset to it’s holder. Employment was abound, hence pupils and students alike were studious and as much faced their studies meticulously whereas the learners of the present day seen to feel like losing nothing if they fail to face their studies squarely since those regarded as genius and gurus find it difficult to secure jobs after graduation in spite of their excellent performance.
By and large, to some extent the government is doing its best by fashioning out good education policies, building some structures and renovations of some dilapidated structures as well as providing textbooks and teaching learning aids, yet there is still opportunity for them to improve especially in the area of teachers’ welfare and non teaching staff. Similarly stakeholders in the child education programme such as pupils, parents, teachers and the society at large must ensure that the play their roles so as to ensure that the standard of education in Nigeria rise up for the future generation.
Grace Kubai Yatai is a 400 level student of Mass Communication Department, Bayero University, Kano.