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THE FAILING STATE OF NIGERIA’S EDUCATION SYSTEM – Olakunle Agboola

The 6-3-3-4 education system as championed by the late Minister of Education, Professor Babatunde Fafunwa, was introduced in the mid-1980s by the Ibrahim Babangida led the government to replace the 6-5-4 system in place. This system was designed to bring about functionality by producing graduates that can make use of their head, heart and hands.

6-3-3-4 system of education has been implemented for more than 30 years and it has continued to generate a lot of concern for Nigerians, most especially the graduates, and educationist who feels the system ought to be addressed and wellseasoned to cope with the reality of the 21st Century.

Doctor Segun Babalola of the department of Education from the University of Ibadan is of the opinion that 6-3-3-4 system has failed and will continue to fail unless the government and education tacticians take a drastic measure to revamp the system.

In his words: “The methodology of teaching and studying in most Nigerian Universities has become a huge concern. We are running a system known as “note memorization” also known as “la cram la pour” and this is a system where students memorize their school notes for exams and give it back to their lecturer word for word. After the exams, everything disappears, and they are on to another level to prepare for note memorization. There is no research from the part of the lecturers and notes are never updated to disparage existing knowledge”.

The system does not allow creative thinking, analyses, and critical approach to solving problems. When we say graduates are not employable, this is the root of the problem because they are not thought to solve problems, rather they are conditioned to memorize their notes and going outside those school notes is a total failure. The United States does run almost the same system, but they ensure that students understand the concept, issues and critical analyses to solve problems. We are running a failed system, which I am a by-product. I am hopeful something will be done to get rid of the ache in the system of making graduates”

Mr Taye Benson, an entrepreneur in Lagos said, certificate syndrome has led to the lack of qualified technical manpower and he feels Nigerians and employers of labour need to de-emphasis the issue of certificate syndrome and be practical in their approach of getting the right person for the job.

In his words: “I have seen a situation where most of the oil companies in Nigeria bring in foreign welders, artisans, electrician as a specialist, they call them expatriates. This is because about 2. 5 million Nigerian undergraduates are busy competing for 200,000 admission space in tertiary institution, instead of learning better trades that will give them instant jobs. There is just a missing link with graduates that are churned out of our higher institutions and the reality of the real world. When most graduates come out of school for jobs, you are even more disappointed and angry with the system because they are not employable. The system is faulty”.

Mrs Benson Adeoti, an education consultant in Ghana is of a different opinion and she feels the 6-3-3-4 system borrowed from America is not the problem but the implementation and tactical seriousness of the government to make education what it ought to be in Nigeria.

In her words: “Governments at the national and state levels would have to accept the obvious and apologize for their failure in the educational sector. Anything short of this means that the government is not remorseful and introspective. We have had several governments insensitive towards education and obvious reasons they don’t send their kids to any of the Nigerian Universities, rather they are sent abroad to school while a shameless set of people post pictures of their graduation on social media. This is just a total failure of the system if the government’s officials can’t have their kids in Nigerian public schools.”

Chelsea Clinton was registered in public school when his father, Bill Clinton was the Governor of Arkansas. How can you be committed to what you don’t make a conscious effort to develop and that is the position of education in Nigeria? I think there should be a policy for all government officials to have their kids in public schools and if you can’t then you don’t have any business in public office. If Nigeria wants to be on par with countries that celebrate prosperity in education, there must be a total overhauling of the sector”.

The abject neglect of governments has resulted in why many schools lack basic equipment for conducive learning, most especially for science and technology classes. Not only that, the libraries in schools are lacking the needed books, journals and magazines. Also, an effective curriculum provides teachers, students, administrators with a measurable plan and structure for delivering quality education. It acts as a roadmap for teachers and students to follow the path to academic success and not only that, it gives a road sign of solving societal problems. A lot of schools in Nigeria are still running the British curriculum when it is necessary for Nigeria to come up with their own curriculum that will focus on Nigeria’s needs and problems.

It is up to the government, education minister and ministry of education across the country to do the needful and deliver a competitive and high-quality standard of education. There is no better system of education if the one at hand is not well implemented to correlate with the reality of the 21st Century.

Olakunle Agboola

U.K. Certified Digital Story-Teller/Journalist

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