IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF TERTIARY EDUCATION IN NIGERIA

Educational courses

“Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in Education. The human mind is our fundamental resource”. John F. Kennedy

Judging from the cursory glance, it does not seem difficult for one to imagine that Nigeria educational system is nothing to write home about, gnashes many people’s soul, stripped their bones, and even turn them into ashes because it is aching silently, disheartening and even beyond the range our words can adequately describe the state it is but, our heart knows. It turns to be a reflection of decay and a mirror image of its former self. It turns to be quite impressive through the pronouncement of allocated budget but quantitatively deficient.

Our Educational system is buried neck-deep in the grave of demolishment but we are rather seeing it in the pool of Survival. The infant is yet to survive still promising of building a mansion. Tertiary education is yet to be efficiently stabilized let alone getting Quality and the best out of it!!! Then, the journey involves hunting two birds with a stone, with this, the word improvement can roll on our lips.

To start with, according to Malcolm X, he said, “And just because you have colleges and universities doesn’t mean you have education”. This seems to be a current crisis in Nigeria but turns to be breadcrumb; we didn’t bother to cater passionately for it. Every area and fiber of the educational sector is in rot ranging from Primary, Secondary, and even tertiary institutions. It remains the Unbreakable puzzle to date.

Could it be a result of a selfish leader? Or even we followers? Are there Cabals working throughout the day and night to destroy this continuously disgraceful sector completely?

The quality of Nigeria’s Tertiary Education needs to evolve from the back roll of redundancy to the front roll of relevancy. Then, a dire need for improvement, and from this crisis, we are forced either to change or to fail. We capture our past failure to roll with the present situation to get the exact prediction of the future that lies on us.
Moving on, our country runs subsidized tertiary institutions. Our education sector is consistently starved of funds.

Our leaders are robbing us of millions of Naira every day, the whole scenario Is shrieking, our owned universities, colleges and Polythenics turn to be forbidden place for us mainly because It is not an abode for the poor to afford the fees, a nation where Money is diverted to things beyond the capturing of human eyes.

These budgets allocated to each sector are just figures on paper because every other sector is also in a state of comatose. In the 2016 budget, a total of N315.1 billion or approximately $1 billion was allocated to the federal tertiary institutions; N216 billion for the 43 federal universities; N56 billion for the 27 federal polytechnics; and 43.1 billion for the 22 federal colleges of education. The total amount increased to N344.28 billion or $1.1 billion in 2017 and N443.54 billion or $1.4 billion in 2018.

According to the Nigerian University Commission (NUC), “A total number of 1.96 million students are enrolled in the federal universities. With N278.1 billion allocation in 2018, the per capita budgetary spend on Nigerian federal university students in 2018 was N1, 418. Our own Tertiary education becomes an abomination, a sacred place for their children, lecture rooms, and even halls of residence, a plaque to be handled with disdain. But they would rather hover around with their helicopters.

No wonder every Nigerian who is in the right sense wishes to even crumble to attain his or her degree Abroad. Al-Sharpton once said, “There is no reason why children in inner cities or rural areas do not receive the same quality education or opportunities as those in suburbs or wealthy Neighbourhoods.

If we truly believe in giving all citizens a chance to pursue happiness and pursue their goals, then we cannot continue to marginalize entire groups of people”. Could this be the cause of the current disaster troubling our tertiary Education?

Due to these funding constraints, most of Nigeria’s public universities are in a state of Comatose. Many lecture rooms are overcrowded, the student-to-teacher ratios explode, and also faculty shortage is never left out. Out-dated libraries, growling academic facilities, and other University facilities are in the state of demolishing. Public office holders should quit sending their children out of the country for study.

We are one Nation and we can also survive by uniting into one. Government should increase the fund allocated to the education section.

Over the past decades, Incessant strikes have become our annual festival celebrated yearly, an almost ritual occurrence at Nigerian Universities, disrupting lectures, causing delayed school calendar, flooding the low trust in the education system, and even leading to massive brain drain. In 2009, lecturers in public universities across the country embarked on an industrial action that lasted for four months.

(1) The year 2010, also experienced another setback for students studying in public universities in their academics as ASSU embarked on another indefinite strike that lasted for over four months.

(2) Despite all these, another ASUU crisis resurrects in 2011 which lasted for 59 days and was called off in 2012. In 2013, public universities were paralyzed for strikes which lasted for 5months, 15 days.

(3) Currently, the strike is still ongoing despite the pandemic. Three consecutive years!!! The question is what causes all those strikes? The answer is not far-fetched. Funding inadequacy.

This problem is an adult baobab tree, no single person or institution can accommodate it with both arms deployed. Not only hands but all the body. It is right and necessary that Government increases its funding of Tertiary education in the country; it is also well-said that we explore additional funding models from private sectors.

What is needed is some measure of Innovation, creativity, and fresh vigor.
Despite the limited fund allocated to Nigeria’s Tertiary education, the sector is particularly vulnerable to corruption. This is a covert activity that is difficult to measure let alone ascertain, potent cancer that has mercilessly eaten Nigerians to a state of stupor.

Is our Government also behind it? We, Nigerians need to be trained on human empathy, fairness in dealing, and emotional intelligence for both the leaders and the followers. We will build our nation together and protect dignity. Together we can achieve that. Let’s stand against corruption… Arise O compatriots!! As corruption scholar, Ararat Osipian noted in 2013, “limited access to education [in Nigeria] has no doubt contributed to the use of bribes and personal connections to gain coveted places at universities, with some admissions officials reportedly working with agents to obtain bribes from students.

Those who have no ability or willingness to resort to corruption face lost opportunities and unemployment.”

(4). Corruption had become our daily balanced diet. In 2013, Transparency International reported that about 30 percent of Nigerians surveyed said they had paid a bribe in the education sector.

(5) Most applicants offered admission are either through Connection or “Pay for Slot”. What a detriment!!. The less privileged with potential is rendered helplessly. Any resultant effects rather than producing unfit graduates into the labor market. Australian scholar Tracey Bretag summarized the conditions when describing Nigeria as a country where “academic fraud is endemic at all levels of the educational system, and misconduct ranges from … cheating during examinations to more serious behaviors, such as impersonation, falsifying academic records, ‘paying’ for grades/certificates with gifts, money or sexual favors, terrorizing examiners and assaulting invigilators”.

Although the need for adequate funding is essential if the aim is to improve, nevertheless let’s look through the other side of the coin by installing a robust anti-corruption mechanism into the education sector so as not to expand the edge for “Chop and Go” when the budget is increased.

Behind the scene, our education system is deeply buried in the grave of mechanistic Theorisation. We possess an engineer who does move near the engine and also our doctors are never left out of the scene. Our lecturers theoretically use their Undergraduate notes for lecturing. What about “La cram la pour” ?.

The best way of getting through first class is without being creative nor Innovative. We turn ourselves into Job searchers, joining the pool of Unemployment without being creative. The saddening truth is that the subsisting relic of colonial education that only prepared us for white-collar jobs is no longer in form but rather, let us recalibrate our Education system to technical, vocational, and entrepreneur. Gail Godwin said, “Good teaching is One-fourth preparation and the three-fourth pure theatres”.

A large proportion holds a smaller affection. Let’s subject our hypothesis to an experiment. Praticalising the theory-based principle gives more room for creativity.

We expect changes every day, we live in dilemma waiting for Messiah thinking everything can just be smoothly run without a strike or any detriment that can erupt delay in our studies but to date, still planning on embarking on another strike.

Helmut Schmidt once said, “The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement”.We have to step up the standard, re-calculate our steps also get rid of the weevils causing rapid destruction to the beans before the explosion. If we act differently, then we will surely see positive changes.

More funds need to be tucking into the education sector without any form of hive-off. Swami Vivekananda said, ‘we want the education by which character is formed, the strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded, and by which one can stand one’s own feet.