According to UNICEF, about 10.5 million of the country’s children aged 5-14 years are not in school. Only 61 percent of 6-11 year-olds regularly attend primary school and only 35.6 percent of children aged 36-59 months receive early childhood education.
However, taking a closer look at the situation in the country, especially in the South-East region where basic education has become a luxury for a selected few, against what used to be the norm.
Since the introduction of the Private School system, parents have had to pay through the nose. Families with a large number of children who nearly have enough food to go around would rather have their children engage in street hawking and other menial jobs just to survive, as against what is obtainable in developed countries.
This misnomer is a result of what some have described as negligence of duty by State Actors and educational Boards in terms of innovation, lack of supervision, and non-payment of teachers’ salaries which further relegated our once prestigious schools.
Most government-owned schools in various communities and surprisingly in major cities have become a shadow of themselves and a den for hoodlums. While others have structures on the verge of collapse.
The once prestigious schools and system that allowed quality and free education for all is now history.
A system that inculcated, values of hard work, creativity, and originality is now a mirage, paving the way for “Miracle /Special Centers” where examination malpractice has become the order of the day. The resultant effect is evident in cases of quacks in various sectors and poor service delivery.
Can something be done to address these issues and save our educational system? The answer is Yes. to tackle this quagmire, stakeholders need to urgently address this issue; constant media engagement to broaden views in the area of research and content development as regards the SDG4 goals and also in bringing about social and behavioral change towards achieving the desired goals.
Our teachers should be retrained, while the school’s curriculum has to be up to date.
Let’s all work together to make Basic Education free, safe and accessible for every Nigerian child.