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Addressing Issues In The Education Sector

Addressing Issues In The Education Sector

By Chris Emejuru

According to a survey by the Centre for World University Rankings (CWUR), Nigeria failed to rank among the top 1000 University globally in 2016. Universities such as South Africa’s Witwatersrand ranked 176th, while Uganda’s Makerere University came to 846th, with Egypt to round up 4 schools in the top 1000. Harvard University in the United States ranked number 1. So, the irony lays in the fact that we, as an economic powerhouse, can fall so short in terms of Global Standing when it comes to something so important as education. What are the issues that need to be addressed? What are the solutions to this crisis? Lets face these problems.

Quality of Education remains the backbone of any relevant successful functioning educational institution. Directly it is one of the major contributors to economic output in terms of GDP. Put in another way, a good education can lead to a job and when you work you make money, and the money you make you spend on goods and services which improves the life of the individual, and in turn the country as a whole. So, the education sector is critical. Looking at how the quality of education can be improved, one must look at how funds are appropriated. In the 2016 budget, around 8% was allocated towards the education sector. This can be attributed to certain factors, a lot of it justified. However, the United Nations put a recommendation at 25% towards developing nations budgets saying that should be the standard of funding. Although Federal Government allocation will not solve every single issue concerning our educational system, it should be addressed. For example, due to underfunding, especially at state level, many teachers are owed salaries. Teachers who are not paid their salaries, don’t work and go on strike or if some (not all) continue working, it is in a mindset of either lackluster performance in their teaching duties or engagement in illegal activities with their pupils in compensation for their loss. Also, another way of looking at the detriment of underfunding, is through decreased infrastructural development. This goes back to quality of education. Students need to feel proud of their University. Proud of their classroom. Proud of their libraries. Proud of their Hostels. With decaying infrastructure, how can we perform well. How are Youths expected to compete in a globalized world if Universities aren’t equipped to help students succeed?

The National University Commission (NUC) has approved the creation of the University of Africa in Bayelsa State. Why is this so profound? It is an institution funded in a Public Private Partnership meaning the State government wont be the major contributor financially. It will be mainly funded by the private sector in a fee paying format which provides less stress on state government books. This is the way I believe it should be done, but with a subsidized approach, on behalf of the government at Federal and State level only in certain economic situations. This experiment, if put together well, will definitely help in the desperately needed reform of the education sector that Nigeria needs.

Progressive Youth Advocate, Chris Emejuru is a columnist of Nigeria Today

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