Falling Standard Of Education In Nigeria: Who Is To Be Blame?

INTRODUCTION

The concept ” falling standard of Education” is a relative term because there is no well defined instruments to measure it with utmost reliability and validity. That is why scholars’ views on the concept varies. These scholars view it at different perspectives, depending on the angle each of them is looking at it.

Babalola, A (2006) sees the concept from admission of Nigerian University products in developed countries universities. That the first six Nigerian Universities (University of Ibadan, Ile Ife, Lagos, Benin, Nsukka and Zaria) had their products competing favourably with any other University in the world as their products were sought for by University of Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford and London for admission into their post-graduate courses. That these students record breaking performances and when they graduate are employed by the best multi-national companies and corporate bodies globally unlike today where no Nigerian University is among the top 6,000 Universities of the world (Adeniyi, Bello (2008) in Why no worry about rankings). He sees standard from how universities contribute to knowledge and solving problems besetting mankind.

According to Gateway to the Nation (2010), University of Ibadan is ranked 6,340th University in the world. In Africa, University of Ibadan is ranked 57th, OAU 69th and South African Universities are leading the way in Africa.

He also use written and spoken English as a yardstick for measuring standard of education which University of London conducted a research in West Africa and the result showed that teachers trained by colonial masters were better of than those trained by indigenous teachers.

He also used staffing, funding, foundation, origin and students as standard of education.

Standard of education to Dike, V. (2003) is how education contribute to the public health (or sociopolitical and economic development of a Nation).

Standard of education to either passing or failing of external examinations like WAEC, NECO, NABTEB, JAMB,(NOW UTME) among others.

Teachers without Boarders (2006) looks at educational standard from how the products of schools can be measured in terms of outcome. That is how school leavers contribute to the society in terms of cognitive affective and psychomotor. I will be using students to refer to both students and pupils, I will use head teacher to refer to both principal and headmaster.

Which ever way you may view standard of education, for you to conclude whether the standard is falling or not, you must take into consideration all the aforementioned variables including achieving educational goals.

Equally, for justice to be done while measuring these standards one has to look at reliability where all the schools to be measured must have the same infrastructure, teaching materials, quality of teachers, level and degree of learners, condition within which learning takes place, some methods of assessment and some types of contribution to the society among others.

CAUSES OF FALLING STANDARDS

Haven discussed what makes up standard in education, may I crave your indulgence to some of the established facts that constitute falling standard of education in Nigeria.

(1) Discipline: This is one of the outstanding attributes of education when it is rightly observed.

a. Repeating: school no longer observe repeating as every student is promoted to the next class whether they understand or not gives room for falling standard.

b. Attendance: The 75% of attendance universally accepted as the bases for someone to sit for examination is no longer observed.

c. Late coming: Student that come late are no longer punished, which leads to their losing morning classes.

d. Misbehaviour: Students are no longer punished for misbehavior because of their parental influences (lost of jobs or unnecessary transfer).

e. Cultism: This could refer to rituals, usually under oath binding the members to a common course. They operate covertly in fulfillment of their objectives to the detriment of other people. Thus, planning secondary needs above primary needs.

These cults exist because of over population of students in schools, wrong admissions not based on merits, hence fear of examination failures and selfish worldly gains.

(2) Quest for paper qualification: Nigerians respect paper qualification above performance in the fields. Hence, cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains are supposed to be measured on the field.

(3) Politicizing education: Merit is no longer regarded as it is now ” who you know” and not “what you can deliver” Technocrats (educationists are not appointed Commissioner of education and education board).

(4) Policy problem: Sometimes the type of policies government make on education adversely affects output. For instance, in College of Education, we have National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), competing with JAMB for admission as the two guidelines vary.

Equally, WAEC, NECO, NABTEB, JAMB ( now UTME) compete with qualifying pre-requisites and regulation of entries into tertiary institutions.

(5) Teachers not being part of the examination bodies. One wonders whether the continuous Assessment submitted by these teachers are used or not.

(6) Accessibility of Schools: The Nigerian population boom has outnumbered the existing schools as the existing schools have to over admit.

This point can be practically seen in the following areas:

(i) Teacher / Student ratio of 1:25 is no longer there as in my class, it is 1:3900.

(ii) Students / books / Journals ratio of 1:10 is no longer feasible.

(iii) Politics of admission: Schools can no longer set targets for admission to conform with their facilities as powerful notes from above will force the school authorities to either over admit or find themselves in the labour market again. Yet it is those that are giving these notes are suppose to build more schools or provide needed infrastructure etc. to accommodate those collecting these notes.

(7) Over-dependent on cognitive domain: Schools do not give regards to affective domain that will mould characters of our young ones. Little attention is given to psychomotor while no attention is given to affective domain.

(8) Shortage of qualified teachers: Some schools in the rural areas only have the headmaster as government employee while the rest that may be secondary school drop outs are PTA staff. What miracle can these staff perform? Dike, V. (2006) observed that only 23% out of the then 400,000 primary schools in Nigeria have grade II even when NCE is now the minimum qualification for teachers at primary and Junior Secondary schools.

(9) Teachers welfare: It is no longer news that

(a) Politicians do not have negotiation council to negotiate their salary increase.

(b) There is no disparity among political office holders from the federal, state and local governments.

(c) Their salaries are increased at astronomical manner.

(d) Their salaries are increased any time without recourse to whether the nation’s economy can bear it or not.

(e) But for teachers, they must negotiate the 10 to 20% of an attempt to increase their salary with consideration of the economy of the nation. How can these teachers contribute and perform miracle when their family members are in the hospitals and the O.S. syndrome is written on their cards by pharmacists while they do not have money to treat.

(10) Constant Strikes: This is an impediment to smooth covering of syllabus. Oefule (2009) explained that one Nigerian guest asked a question on strike at Oxford University community but the vice chancellor could not even remember about strike, only the registrar remembered it for 17 years back. This is what governance means to the people.

(11) Long rule of the military; Education was not properly funded by the military regimes as according to Babalola, A(2006) Obasanjos administration inherited many left over problems of the military such as non- payment of pensions and gratuities of retired University staff, poor remuneration of university staff, dilapidating buildings of schools, libraries with outdated books, obsolete laboratory equipments, bad campus roads, inadequate water and power supply among others.

(12) In the secondary and primary schools levels, schools do not even have buildings talk less` of furniture’s, equipments and reading materials. This is the level where the foundation of education should be laid. Any faulty foundation will lead to faulty structures. What do you expect from the tertiary level?

(13) Lack of training of teachers: Teachers are not trained to update their knowledge with latest discoveries based on research, then how can they give what they don’t have?

(14) Poor state of Educational teaching facilities: Dike V. (2006) reported that research result shows that over 2015 primary schools in Nigeria do not have building but study under trees, talk less of teaching materials.

(15) Corruption: leaders of the schools and some Government officials either connive to buy equipments with loan money that cannot be of any use to the school or take such loans and do not even do anything with it.

(16) Poor budgetary allocation to education: A research work of 2001 shows that Nigeria only, allocate less than 20% to education it further reveals that Nigeria spends 0.76% to education as against Uganda 2.6%, Tanzania3.4%, Mozambique 4.1%, Angola 4.9%, Coted Ivore 5% Kenya 6.5% and South Africa 7.9% among others.

WHO IS TO BE BLAMED?

We have seen the causes of falling standards and from these causes we can deduce that the following are to be blamed:

1. Government suppose to carry the lion share of the blame because all the other variables are dependent variables to it.

2. Teachers also have their shares of the blame with regards to their diligent duties.

3. Parents: feeding has to be provided by parents. This is because parents do not leave schools to operate without interference.

4. Students: students who do not abide by school rules and regulations nor pay attention to their studies also contribute to falling standards. Students also seek for paper qualification and disregards to performance they also participate in cult activities that derail the progress of the academy.

5. The society is not left out as it is the way it sees and respects the products of these schools that recycles back again.

SOLUTION

Based on the problems or causes identified above, the following solutions are proffered: Schools should respect and restore back discipline to bring back the lost glory of our educational standards.

Performance should be regarded and respected more than just paper qualification. Equally, education should not be politicized for whatever reason.

Policy makers should be mindful of policies that affect education .eg JAMB(UTME) regulation in admissions.

Teachers should be involved in examination activities and examination bodies should always publish examination reports and distribute it to various schools for them to hold school workshop for training of subject teachers on their areas of weaknesses observed in the students’ scripts with regards to following the marking scheme.

More schools should be built to increase accessibility by all. Cognitive, affective and psychomotor domain should be used for assessment of students.

Teachers’ welfare should be given priority by government to avoid unnecessary strikes in our educational sector while more qualified teachers should be employed to curb the present shortage of teachers in our schools.

Our civilian government should prove to the people that they are better than military government.

Teachers should be trained so that they can meet up with any new challenges Educational facilities should be upgraded to modern standards while teaching facilities should be adequately provided.

Corruption should be eliminated to the barest minimum by all stakeholders while government should increase its budgetary allocations to education to improve the standard of education in Nigeria.

The Importance of Christian Education in Today’s World

Christianity has been of the greatest importance to the USA since the time when the first settlers stepped on the Plymouth Rock. Ever since the USA has upheld the Christian values teaching them as mandatory in schools and even conducting witch hunts. At present the church is separated from the State to assure the normal functioning of other religions, while being no longer mandatory, but rather optional for studying. In the following essay I am going to speak about the Christian education as always being the option for the citizens of the USA and to explain the importance of Christian education and the role it plays in our society.

Christianity has constantly played a great role in human education in Europe as well as in the USA. The first schools in both Europe were Catholic that taught high moral standards and compliance with the God’s rules. After the Protestant reformation, the role of Catholicism was drastically reduced. When the first settlers arrived to the USA, the religion they were teaching in schools was Protestantism. Christianity educated people in schools while placing certain limits on the human development. Unlike Catholic and Orthodox churches that highly believed in God’s dominance and written scrutiny and therefore rejected various sciences that are anti-religious (genetic engineering, nuclear sciences, etc.), protestant churches considered good deeds and helpful behavior to be of the ultimate importance to God. Protestant churches believed that God created any sciences possible; therefore it was a human duty to study as much as possible as well as proclaiming God and expressing God in all human achievements.

Christianity if taught at schools leaves a great stigma on the students. The statistics say that students who study Christianity and Christian values at school are much less likely to engage in illegal activities such as underage drinking, promiscuous sex, and carrying arms. In US schools from all students who engage in the illegal activities only 12% of them are students studying Christianity or are engaged in Christian schools.

On a more personal level I believe that Christian education is of great importance to the whole country. Students in their teens are only forming their future character and certainly need various people to take example from. It is no wonder that in poor schools and in what we call bad neighborhoods, the crime rates are much higher–children that grow up in violent environment are in my opinion are going to be violent. It is a common fact that boys that grew up in families where fathers beat up their wives are more likely to also beat up their future spouses like their fathers. All these examples indeed show us the importance of education in the early years of human life and make us understand that education should be of great value to the society. Christianity on the other hand discourages arms, sex before marriage, as well as drinking. When exposed to Christian morals, students are more likely to develop personal attitude that would allow them to resist the peer pressure, engage in profound studying and strong desire for excellence. This shows the important role of domestic security that the Christian education provides for the society that promulgates Christianity in schools.

At the same time, Christianity being only optional provides the necessary freedoms to students of other religions, or even atheists who do not want to be influenced by the religious thought. The freedom or choice, makes the Christian teachers compete for the students and therefore not to abuse the Christian moral as it happens in areas of the world where Christianity is dominant (e.g. in Serbia and Horvatia Christianity prompted the people to eradicate the Muslims from the Christian land).

In conclusion I would like to say that the Christian educational option in fact provides a wonderful complementary material to students in the USA. The statistics that show reduction in violence, loose behavior or engagement in illegal activities corroborate the practical importance of Christian education, while the separation of church and state assures that no single religious leader can take control of the political life in the USA. The role of being the crime reducer that the Christian education represents the true need of such education in the society.

The Education Enigma

Title: The Education Enigma

Author: Bruce Deitrick Price

Publisher: Word-Wise Publishing

ISBN: 1-4392-3035-8

ISBN-13: 978-1439230350

The Education Enigma is a book of essays pertaining to America’s education system. The question Price poses is: What Happened to American Education? Price proclaims, “The simultaneous decline of American education and the language used by America’s educators is a historical fact.” Over the years I have done some research on this topic, in particular through editing and proofreading of college papers. I found this book very interesting and agree with much of what Price states.

The main crux of Price’s essays deal with the failure of our teaching methods to actually teach children to read. He explains the difference between teaching children to read using whole word strategy and phonics, favoring phonics. According to Price, “When we examine education throughout the 20th century, we see a puzzling array of unproductive ideas. But no failure is as primal and destructive as the inability of American public schools to teach reading-the one essential skill.”

Through his essays Price also touches on the subjects of math, history, science and art. In addition, he provides a history of the American education system along with its downward turn referring to it as the “dumbing down” of America. From John Dewey to Maria Montessori to Rudolf Flesch to Gilbert Highet, Price explains their philosophies and the affects on this country’s education system. He concludes, specifically in regard to Dewey and his followers, “Make no mistake, this was a secret conspiracy.”

Along with this Price argues an excellent point that I always disagreed with: children need to memorize facts and figures even if they can look the answers up, whether in a book or online. I always believed that as long as children were taught where and how to look up answers there is no need for state tests that cause stress for many of our children from fourth grade up. His comment toward this kind of theorizing is: “But will they? No, people usually muddle through with what they actually know in their heads.” I do tend to agree with this point even though I still feel there is too much emphasis placed on state tests.

The Education Enigma is full of information and history pertaining to the American education system. Through some of the titles of his essays it’s easy to see that Price has a sense of humor: Jay Leno: Educator of the Year; Phooey on John Dewey; and Educators are Best Understood as “Ignorance Engineers.”

It is important to mention that Price is not hurling these jabs pertaining to the ineffectiveness of the school system at the teachers in the trenches. It is aimed at those in control of creating and enforcing inadequate teaching strategies. In Price’s words, “When I speak of “educators,” I never mean teachers. I mean that small group of managers at the top, with Ph.D.’s, who effectively control the public schools.”

A final quote from this book that I especially liked: “…Another famous government report, A Nation at Risk (1983) concluded that our public schools seem to have been created by an enemy power. Exactly. An enemy that would want Americans to read feebly and count inaccurately.”

About the author: Bruce Deitrick Price is a novelist, painter, poet and education activist. He graduated from Norfolk Academy and Princeton (with Honors in English Literature). Throughout his career, Price was writing about education. Aside from the arts, his main passion is Improve-Education.org. Price is a member of PEN and Mensa.

Pros and Cons of Bilingual Education

Bilingual education has become very popular lately, with perhaps the most compelling reason for bilingual education being the concept of equality of education in our country. How is it possible for someone to obtain a great education when he or she doesn’t fully understand the language the lessons are being taught in? Isn’t that student going to become a second-class citizen? Should we just allow that to happen or should we teach them in their native language and worry about assimilation at some later time? The fact is that there are a lot of pros and cons about the subject.

On the positive side, there are many benefits of students learning another language at a very early age. It has been proven that children who learn to speak another language early in life have an easier time grasping the vocabulary, grammar, and nuances of both languages. It has also been shown that these same students will be able to move on to learning third and fourth languages just as easily. The reasons for this are varied, but one of the principal reasons is that many languages have their roots in a single ancient language such as Latin or Greek. As the nationalities have developed, their languages changed but kept a lot of the same words and word structure. Also as the world shrinks and everything becomes more global in nature, it is going to become ever more important to be able to communicate in more than one language.

There is no denying that bilingual education lessons should be taught to students at the elementary level. Waiting until high school will only make it more difficult on the children. Once a student becomes familiar with a second language it is much easier for him or her to master it as they grow older. It is also a good thing when students learn about the culture of different countries, which is enhanced by learning the language. Studies have proven that the ability to speak multiple languages does not confuse the mind. In fact, it helps to develop it faster and lead to a well rounded future.

On the negative side, there are people who feel that bilingual education is a bad idea because it takes away our sense of national identity. The United States has always been known as a “melting pot” of cultures where everyone is treated equally and every culture becomes assimilated into the primary culture of the United States. Historically, newcomers to this country have been forced to learn our English language and many of our ways, all the while contributing parts of their historic culture and making the entire culture better as a result. The argument is that by retaining the language of their old country, they are no longer as easily assimilated into this country.

Bilingual education is a concern in other countries as well as in the United States. For example, there is currently a movement underway in France to ensure that French remains the dominant language and that all citizens learn to speak French. Similarly in the United States many people feel that we as a country have gone too far overboard in making all the other cultures comfortable by printing everything in their home languages. The problem that is brought up is that, by printing everything in multiple native languages, the newcomers don’t have to learn English. And if they don’t learn English they will never be fully assimilated into the United States. By thus creating nationalistic cliques some people say that we are potentially creating the same type of societal issues that are found in other parts of the world and that those who are immigrating to the United States are frequently running away from. My personal belief is that children from other cultures who may speak other languages at home need to become familiar with English and that English should be the required language for all governmental affairs.

In summary, bilingual education is not a way to take anything away from American students. In fact, it is just the opposite. Language is an important part of the learning process. Young students are in position to learn a second language early on, which will benefit them greatly in the future. This is why so many school districts are implementing bilingual education criteria at lower grade levels. However, let us all recognize that there are issues to be faced in bilingual education and our schools and our society will need to face these issues fully.

The Role of Technology in Education

In the current age we live in, technology has become an important component. Every day there is some new gadget or software that makes lives easier and improves on the technology and software that already exists. Making lives easier is not, however, the only role technology plays in our lives.

Technology is playing an increasing role in education. As technology advances, it is used to benefit students of all ages in the learning process.

Technology used in the classroom helps students adsorb the material. For example, since some people are visual learners, projection screens linked to computers can allow students to see their notes instead of simply listening to a teacher deliver a lecture.

Software can be used to supplement class curriculum. The programs provide study questions, activities, and even tests and quizzes for a class that can help students continue learning outside the classroom.

Technology has also become part of many curriculums, even outside of computer and technology classes. Students use computers to create presentations and use the Internet to research topics for papers and essays.

Students also learn to use the technology available to them in computer and tech classes. This ensures that after graduation they will be able to use the technology in a work setting, which may put them ahead of someone who didn’t have access to a particular technology or software in their own school setting.

As technology advances, students have better access to educational opportunities like these. When something new and “better” is revealed, the “older” technology becomes more affordable, allowing it to be used in educational settings, even when schools are on a tight budget.

Technology has also advanced to help children even before they’ve started school. Educational video games and systems for young children helps them prepare for school and in some cases get a head start on their education.

There are people who may say children are “spoiled” by technology. Instead of being able to add a long column of numbers in their heads, for example, they turn to a calculator. Regardless of these arguments, technology is an important part of today’s society. By incorporating it into the classroom, students will be better equipped to transition from the classroom to the work place.