Aristotle once said that education is the creation of a sound mind in a sound body. It develops man’s faculty especially his mind so that he may be able to enjoy the contemplation of supreme truth, goodness and beauty of which perfect happiness essentially consist. Education is the foundation of any great society, but if the foundation be destroyed what can the righteous do, so says the Holy Bible. Remarkably, Nigeria mismanaged investment in education is the evidence of her commitment to poverty. The Nigeria tertiary university system has been in shambles for more than a decade, despite government assurances of looking critically into it. The question that many have asked-are; why are Nigeria universities in such a sorry state? Some would say it had to do with just one word: corruption. Sadly this is part of the reason. But not entirely because international online learning centers are of good use in this time if you want more information learn more about huntington learning center by visiting their website.
University worldwide is regarded as the citadel of learning, the fountain of intellectual development and a ground for the production of leaders of tomorrow, but the story has not been the same in Nigeria. The root cause in the fall of Nigeria’s educational system is largely traceable to its history. Dating back from the sophisticated 6-3-3-4 educational system crafted by Legendary Professor Babatunde Fafunwa, the first Nigeria professor of education. The above system embeds technical education for those children who are not academically strong enough to go to university or polytechnic. Such students proceed to the technical college after completing the junior secondary education to learn trade. Such as printing, carpentry, bricklaying etc., the system was to promote the dignity of labour and economic efficiency as the dexterity and innovational capacity widens. But painfully enough this laudable policy couldn’t be sustained due to the corrupted values of most Nigerians. An average Nigeria parent feel that it is a shame to send his child to a technical school despite his low academic performance at the junior secondary school level, the poor enrollment coupled with rampant corruption led to the ruination of our technical schools across the country. There is no doubt that, more and more weak students with assistance of their parents engage in all kinds of fraud in order to enter the university. In the past, most students in tertiary institutions were academically strong enough, while those that were weak went to such institutions were academically strong enough, while those that were not strong went to such institutions as; school of Nursing, school of public Hygiene, school of Agriculture and Nigerian Defence Academy. The recent admission to these weak students has been the major fallout of the university culture, as students became predators for loosed lecturers have resulted to an increasing damage of the university reputation.
As time progressed the fall in the standard of our tertiary institutions became crystal clear, no more rhetorical. And if we go by the report of the Ashby commission on higher education in Nigeria at the time of Independence, and the remark of British educator who shared that commission that recommended the founding of the University of Lagos, after the Eastern region had led off with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and other two region followed suit with University of Ife and Ahmedu Bello University. In addition to the University College Ibadan (now University of Ibadan), Sir Ashby had said that higher education in Nigeria was as good as the best in the world, noting it was harder, at that time, to get into University of Ibadan than to get into Harvard. Then during the regime of General Babangida, in August 1985 he sealed the fate of the middle class by devaluing the Naira leading to a collapse of their living standards and the implemented policies to whittle down the autonomy of universities and economically disempower both staff and students, compromised the quality of the civil service and shackled civil society group. The effect on the academia was particularly severe and it marked the collapse of the Nigerian university system. Professors and solid academics were knocked off their perch, struggling to survive like every poor Nigerian and unable to afford any of the luxuries they were used to. Most of the strong academics left for foreign universities leaving behind mostly the dregs of the system who could not hope to function outside of dysfunctional Nigeria system, as this led to mass exodus of lecturers.The recent call for a critical look into the admission procedure (acceptances fee and Post-UTME) would not go a long way in helping our higher institutions, since the academics would always looked for a new means to extort from students due to lack of satisfactory salary’s. There is no doubt that education is too vital to the survival of any nation that it should be treated as a subject beyond politics or evasive polemics. It is so bad, that the University of Ibadan, was among the first 100 universities globally more than 50 years ago, but today, the same university will struggle to be named amongst the first 100 in Africa. According to the 2019 Times Higher Education world university rankings, Nigeria has two universities in the world’s top one thousand – Covenant University and the University of Ibadan. This compares to nine from South Africa – out of a total of 26 African universities in total – and 11 from Egypt.
In total, there about 150 private and public universities in Nigeria, with a capacity to carry about 600,000 students for a country with more than 190 million people and more than 62 percent of them are 24 or younger, that’s nowhere near enough in comparison with the United States that has over 5,000 higher education institutions and a population of 319 million. This has resulted to overpopulation in the higher institutions in Nigeria. The National University Commission (NUC) recommendation of 40 students to one lecturer in a classroom to what we can see presently at 200 students to a lecturer is inhibiting the free flow of knowledge, meaning that our university population has multiplied times three as Nigeria population increases and government do not have any answer to the big question starring at them. As demand for university places vastly exceeds current capacity. In 2017, 380,000 domestic university applicants didn’t get a university place. It is parlous that federal government doesn’t allocate at least 26 percent of the total budget that is the benchmark of UNESCO.
The factors that led to the plummeting standards in the universities today include; incessant strike, sex-for-grades allegations, corruption, money for marks accusations ( parents are involved), irregular admission, low cut-off marks, poor equipment, overcrowded classrooms, absenteeism of lecturers, cult clash, lack of students accommodation/hostels, poor hostel conditions and falling standard in the school environment culture that negates rigorous study orientation. However, the recent statement by the Executive Secretary of NUC, Professor Abubakar Rasheed, that there are 100 fake professors in our universities has been a mighty blow that further exposed the rot of our universities. When we have fake lecturers we produce fake students and the society becomes a sea of fake/half-baked graduates. We have numerous of issues in our institution especially the sex-for-grades allegation, but the problem is not only about the lecturers and government, but also the students involved, how many of our students read these days and even though they read it is only because of exam. They don’t read to know more or read outside their courses to help bridge the gap between learning and skills; Nigeria has a popular poor reading culture.
I must say this as a student that the system which hinders young and brave minds from studying due to bad school policies, that makes students to assist at private education centers like this Online Middle School. It is not because students are not willing to study or eager for knowledge, but because our system is outdated and we still rejoice that we are best. I remember the Vice-chancellor of a university which I would not like to mention, he was calling names of people who graduate from the institution and are regarded in our present society, but I began to look into those names I found out that none were graduates from 1990 to the present day, so it is an institution relying on its past glory. We have found ourselves in this calamity due to poor funding and lack of vision of our institutions. Students must be in search of skill as we gravitate to a more advanced technological world. According to PwC’s latest global CEO survey, 87 percent of African chief executives were concerned about the non-availability of key skills, including 45 percent who were “extremely concerned”. Admon Mukasa, a senior researcher at the African Development Banks estimates that no fewer than 13 percent in other developing regions are unskilled.
Victor okechukwu is student of the department of Mass communication, university of Nigeria, Nsukka
He can be reached at [email protected] .
Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Victor Uzochukwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”
SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (opinions)