Education and development in Nigeria

Nigeria

Nigerian Flag
Nigerian Flag

Introduction

To those in developed nations,the mention of education,particularly Western education,may not be a 'big deal'!I mean,who can not see the relevance of education in all it's ramification?However,if you come from a developing country such as mine where a majority of people had for a good part of their lifetime wined and dined with illiteracy and and ignorance and their attendant consequences,then you will appreciate why the importance of western education can not be over-emphasized!It may surprise you to know that even in this twenty-first century,there are communities in most of Western Africa where western education is viewed as a 'taboo' and resisted with passion!The not so recent case of 'boko haram' crises in the Northern part of Nigeria in 2009 is a clear example.If it is not sheer ignorance,why would anyone who has tasted the dividend of western education oppose it?We are taught how to read and write,electricity,improved agricultural turn out,pipe-borne water,good and improved governance, the internet,transportation and GSM technology,to mention but a few are land marks of education.True,there are values in our traditional and cultural norms but how far and well would it take anyone without the refinement that western education brings?If you consider the precolonial ,colonial and then a post colonial Nigeria then you'll be able to appreciate where I'm coming from and what point I intend to drive home;that no one can for whatever reason undermine the contribution of education to the vast developmental stride Nigeria has taken since independence.Yes,as a nation we have one lapse here and there(what country does not?) but embracing education in all totality would be a landslide achievement in deed.

I must commend the Nigerian government for her efforts to take education to the grass roots;even the 2009 President Umar Ya'adua's 7-point agenda still emphasized it.The acceptance and implementation of the Universal Basic Education(UBE) by the Nigeria government speaks volume.Kudos to her,but a lot more has to be done if the existing educational structure must stand the test of time and achieve set goals.


Curruption:The Bane of Educational Advancement and Development

Education is multifacetted;a multiple-edged sword.Both the policy makers and implementers(Government) and the general populace(the end-users so to say) have a role to play for effective entrenchment of education in Nigeria.From the way things have been going one seem to wonder if the so-called elites donot require re-education as far as policy making and implementation towards education is concerned.They preach about the relevance of education and enlightenment but turn around and stamp on it when they encourage tuggerry in their campaign to get to power!Is that what education teach?No.A million times no.

If we say the masses do not have access to qualitative education then it is equally pertinent to ask whether or not the government have actually made adequate provision for such 'quality' in the education sector!I mean how steady is the education sector?A student gets into college to run a four-year course and ends up spending six yeare or more because of one form of strike or the other.The welfare of teachers is hardly catered for,contibuting to the hiccups in the nation's education sector.Year after year, billions of Naira is ear-marked for the improvement and advancement of of education for the purpose of grass-root and nation development.It is ,however,obvious that only a little(if any at all) is actually channelled appropriately while the bulk of such money ends up in individual pockets!Yet it is a common phenomenone to see,hear and read in the media of so-and-so tremendous achievement of so-and -so leader in the educationl sector,whereas in reality less than nothing is done.How sad.

Misappropriation of educational funds,encouraged by the lack of probity and accountability on the part of Nigerian leaders has left several bullet holes in the ship of eductional advancement and development and I dare say that if nothing is done to salvage this situation we might as well be heading for a shipwreck!The politics in Nigeria is such that you may find someone without any qualifiction or experience but is made to head sensitive position just because he/she has the wherewithall.Curruption is a canker worm that is gradually eating into the fabric of national development,and like cancer it should be tackled as an emergency because the consequenses are lethal!If knowledge is power,as it is generally said,and education is the fountain of knowledge,then the strength and vitality of our great nation is at stake.This calls for a mental and moral reawakening on the part of all Nigerians.To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Who is To Blame?

It is ,most often than not,normal to point accussing fingers when things go bad.Accepting responsibility for failure is hrd work!Those who point accussing fingers should know that four other fingers point towards them!The government or policy makers are not the only ones guilty of sinking this ship;everyone else is invoved.Afterall who makes up the government?We are all stakeholders in the educational sector and must join hands in all that encourages it's growth and reform.How about the uncountable number of times when schools,provided by government for the purpose of advancing education are burnt down by the very people for which they were meant?How often have students turned out to become a menace by indulging in different social vices rather than concentrate on studies?How many  times have eductional facilities been raved down by rioting students?Who then is innocent?The parent or guardian?Obviously not.It must be pointed out that even though many parents go all out to see that their wards are properly educated(and this is hard work considering a challenging economy such as ours where unemployment is an issue and wages are poor),it is still noticed that some parents misappropriate their children's education funds;converting such funds to personal or family use.Who then is free?The teacher or lecture?It is a coomon thing to notice the absence of a teacher or lecturer when he/she is due for class but will insist that students buy readind materials from him/her or fail the subject.Yes.It is that bad!

All these instances are amongst others too numerous to mention.What then?Is there hope?I think yes!If all Nigerians will embrace the better- late -than- never attitude.

Where Do We Go from Here?

    Education is like a blueprint or a recipe for praparing a special meal(says I).It has been handed over to us by the West.All that is left is for us to follow the set of instructions and guidelines;all the MOs and the SOPs and the desired result will be tremendous.If it is working for western advancement and civilization then it should work for us!Wherever one is on the face of the earth,mixing an acid and a base will produce  salt and water!We must however be ready to wake up from our unconsciousness brought about by curruption and moral bankrupcy,and team up to make a greater and better Nigeria.We must oppose all forms of cultural or religious norms that stand in the way of education;it is the key to greatness!

  In conclusion,I will say that the beauty of a painting is in the combination of individual strokes of the paint brush.If we all work together in unity of purpose,we can achieve anything,I mean anything!One shall chase a thousand but two shall chase tens of thousands.Nigerians,let us join hands!!!

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