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FEATURE: The falling standard of education in Nigeria today: Whose Fault?



Over the years, education has proven to be the fulcrum facilitating national development in any state. Through education, knowledge is accrued and in turn dictates the tempo of development, because, through the creative process of the mind, innovation is made.

However, it is pathetic to see the falling standard of education in Nigeria today. The failure in students’ academic performance nowadays is alarming. Many students perform poorly in both internal and external examinations. The massive failure in both WAEC, NECO and JAMB, among others, can simply attest to the dwindling of educational standards in Nigeria today. This has left graduates helpless on the streets due to lack of self-reliance and over dependent on government and private owned jobs, even after attaining necessary skills that could make them independent from their respective educational institutions.

This perplexing issue invites questions, such as; What could be the causes? Why are the issues persisting? And how can these issues be curbed?

Education is the process of acquiring knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes through various formal and informal methods. It is a lifelong journey that begins in early childhood and continues throughout one’s life. It empowers individuals to understand the world around them, make informed decisions, and participate actively in society. Formal education typically takes place in schools, colleges, and universities, where students follow structured curricula and are guided by teachers and educators. This type of education provides a systematic and organized approach to learning and covers a wide range of subjects.

Informal education, on the other hand, occurs outside traditional academic settings and involves learning through daily life experiences, interactions with others, self-directed learning, and various activities and hobbies in the society.

Historically, the success of Nigeria’s independence was as a result of the enlightenment people got from those who were knowledgeable about their fundamental human rights, through education. Colonialism and slavery was as a result of higher level of illiteracy. The emergence of western education in Nigeria by the colonial masters and missionaries was to fulfill their own objectives. That is, the colonial powers saw education as a means to exert control over the local population. Also, Christian missionaries established schools and educational institutions to spread Christianity and also provided basic literacy and numeracy skills to the local population.
Over time, the educational system expanded beyond its initial colonial objectives. After Nigeria gained independence in 1960, the Western education system remained in place, with English as the official language of instruction and administration. It became the foundation of Nigeria’s formal education system and has continued to evolve since then. Despite its historical roots in colonialism, Western education has played a significant role in shaping modern Nigeria. It has produced a highly educated workforce, professionals, academics, and leaders who have contributed to the country’s development and progress in various fields.

Today, the standard of education in Nigeria has been eroded by many factors influencing its essence. it results from a combination of factors involving various stakeholders, including the government, educational institutions, teachers, and parents.

The government plays a central role in setting and regulating education standards at the national, regional, or local level. Its responsibilities include:
Curriculum and Standards Development
Governments establish curriculum frameworks and educational standards that outline what students should know and be able to do at each grade level. These standards provide a clear roadmap for educators to follow.
Policy Formulation and Implementation
Governments create education policies that address various aspects of the education system, including funding, teacher qualifications, assessment methods, and more. Effective policies can drive positive changes in education quality.
Funding Allocation
Adequate funding is essential to provide quality education. Governments allocate budgets to schools and educational institutions to ensure that they have the resources needed for effective teaching and learning.
Quality Assurance
Governments monitor and assess the quality of education through standardized testing, evaluations, and inspections. This helps identify areas that need improvement and supports continuous enhancement of education standards.

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On their part, teachers are in the frontline of education and have a significant impact on students’ learning outcomes. Their roles include:
Curriculum Delivery
Teachers implement the curriculum and educational standards in their classrooms. They design lesson plans, select teaching methods, and create learning environments that engage and support students.
Individualized Instruction
Effective teachers recognize the diverse learning needs of their students and adapt their teaching approaches to cater to different learning styles and abilities.
Assessment and Feedback
Teachers assess students’ progress and provide constructive feedback to help them improve. Regular assessment helps identify areas of strength and areas that need further development.
Role Modeling
Teachers serve as role models for students, demonstrating values, ethics, and a love for learning. Positive teacher-student relationships can inspire students to excel academically and personally.

In the same vein, parents play crucial roles in supporting their children’s education and promoting a conducive learning environment. Parents provide a foundation for learning by creating a supportive home environment. They can assist with homework, encourage reading, and engage in educational activities outside of school. Regular communication between parents and teachers ensures that both parties are aware of a student’s progress, strengths, and challenges. This collaboration helps identify areas where additional support may be needed. More so, Parents advocate for high-quality education by participating in parent-teacher associations, school boards, and community initiatives. Their involvement can influence education policies and resource allocation. Parents play a role in instilling values, discipline, and a strong work ethic in their children. These qualities contribute to students’ overall success in education.
While the government, teachers, and parents generally play positive roles in education, some scenarios and actions can inadvertently contribute to a decline in educational standards. These stakeholders could unintentionally contribute to a fall in educational standards through the following.
The Nigerian government on one hand has influenced the standard of education today. This act of irresponsibility includes: Inadequate Funding, Misaligned Policies, Overemphasis on Testing, Lack of Teachers, Support, and Inconsistent Quality Assurance, among others. Sometimes in the past, several educational institutions including the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), had gone on strike due to a lack of adequate facilities and lack of proper funding for the educational sector, which in most cases prevented both students and teachers from covering some areas and left them untreated. More so, many state-owned primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions are going into extinction due to a lack of appropriate facilities for proper teaching/lecturing of pupils/students, and nonpayment of teachers’ salaries as well as lack of proper security to safeguard students and their tutors. This ailment has led to the closure of some schools mostly in rural areas and some parts of urban areas, and restrained less privileged people from getting the much-needed education.

On the order hand, teachers and educational institutions contribute to the falling standard of education in Nigeria today, these illicit acts include Lack of Engagement, Resistance to Change, Ineffective Classroom Management, and Lack of Professional Collaboration, among others. Corruption has eaten up some educational institutions and among teacher/lecturers. Some schools are known for bribery and corruption, teachers engage themselves in providing answers to internal and external examinations to students after being paid off. In the same vein, some lecturers in various tertiary institutions are victims of these malicious acts. Thereby making students lazy about their academic pursuit.

Parents as well, contribute to this malady in ways such as Lack of Involvement, Overemphasis on Grades, Undermining school authority, and Lack of Communication. On the other hand, most parents today are less concerned about their children’s performance in school, and are desperate to see their children passing out of schools even with low performance. In most cases, parents do not comply with teachers and the school authority, but want them to do according to their will. To an extent, some parents fortunately make their ward skip some classes and assume that the little they know is sufficient for them to go to higher institutions, which on the other hand leads to many students’ poor academic performance in various higher institutions today.

In surmmary, both government and private owned institutions are to provide conducive learning environments, and proper educational facilities for practical purposes for students, as well as proper discipline of students in order to take their academic pursuit serious. Societal, personal, and national growth is dependent upon the level of literacy acquired from good educational standard; that is, both formal and informal education. To improve educational standards in Nigeria, collaboration, open communication, and a shared commitment to quality education among the government, teachers, and parents is essential.

By Alhassan Jonathan

Jonathan writes from Prince Abubakar Audu University, Anyigba, Kogi State.

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