By Sadiq K. Dangogo
With the end of nine-month ASUU strike and the recent kidnapped and released of Kankara students in Katsina, one can only imagine the state of education in Nigeria. It is clear that education has not been giving the deserved priority attention by those in authority, in terms of adequate funding and security.
The quality of our schools is dwindling. This is unlike when today’s leaders had the best of education in the past. Sadly, its future leaders are now contending with poor quality of education.
Decades ago, public schools were the only option for quality education, but today only those who can’t afford private schools can access such quality of education.
For those with resources, leaving the country is their only option to ensure proper education for their children, because even with private schools quality education is not guaranteed.
The way education keeps declining will make one think whether it is actually deliberate. Because its failure has created a window of opportunity to make money by setting up private schools, giving people the impression of better education, which comes with a higher price tag.
It is regrettable to note that, Nigeria is believed to have the highest number of out-of-chool children. Some believe it is a problem that is more rampant in the north, but from a general point of view it’s a problem for the whole nation. The more people lose faith in formal education, the more impoverished we become, leading to frustrations that will manifest into violent crimes, drug abuse and lawlessness.
Since the outbreak of insurgency, education has been the number one target. Pupils and students have been on the receiving end of it. They are the ones being kidnapped, raped and killed. Looking back at the Chibok girls abduction, and how it turned out and now the Kankara students suffering the same fate, it is clear that the government is not doing enough.
Though, insecurity is a contributing factor, Nigeria’s education sector has been facing many problems, long before the insurgents started making waves. Schools are poorly constructed, with close to zero facilities, and highly-unqualified and understaffed teachers.
From 1999 to date, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been on strike for about 51 months and still counting. This, alone, is a clear representation of how much failure education is.
If an average citizen has no access to proper education then will the future of the country be anything to look forward to? Will the future be any better than the past? Will the country achieve any meaningful development?
We all seat and wonder why our country is going up in flames when we have abandoned the establishment of a proper foundation upon which a country is built. Until we wake up from our slumber and fix our education system, the country will continue to remain the butt of joke in the comity of nations. Now is the time for the government, most especially, to salvage our decaying education system. And it is surely not an onerous task, if only we will tell ourselves the bitter truth.
Sadiq K. Dangogo, a Photo Journalist writes from Abuja