QUALITY EDUCATION: BRIDGING THE GAP by Onyekachukwu Ejiofor
In etymological terms, the word Education is derived from Latin word educere,
educare, and educatum which means “to learn”, “to know” and “to lead out”.That is,
education means to lead out the internal or hidden talent of a child or person. Education is
the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, morals,
beliefs, habits, and personal development.
According to Swami Vivekananda ‘Education means that process by which character is
formed, strength of mind is increased, and intellect is sharpened, as a result of which one
can stand on one’s own feet’.
Quality education can therefore be referred to as one that focuses on the whole child,
the social, emotional, mental, physical, and cognitive development of each student
regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or geographic location. It
prepares the child for life, not just for testing.
Education in Nigeria is based on a 6-3-3-4 system, which involves three levels of
institutional learning processes, the primary school level, the secondary school level and
the tertiary level. According to UNICEF, at least 10.5 million children are out of school in
Nigeria, the highest rate in the world. Nigeria’s educational system is in assorted crises of
infrastructural decay, neglect, waste of resources and sordid conditions of service. There are
many factors responsible for the decadence in the educational system in Nigeria,some of
which will be discussed below.
- Bad governance/Funding
In 2018, only 7% of the national budget was allocated to education, far below
UNESCO’S recommended 15% – 26%. In 2020, it was worse as education got 6.7% as
allocation. Public schools, which are funded by the government, are generally cheaper
but they typically lack quality facilities, learning tools and condusive environment. In
tertiary institutions, most lecturers are not well paid or most times owed allowances
which have led to incessant academic staff union strikes, therefore, making students
spend longer than expected in school. This is one of the major problems of education in
Nigeria. Therefore, for an effective education system, enough resources need to be
deployed to the sector to empower the teachers and equip the classrooms with modern
In 1955, the government of Western Region of Nigeria introduced a free primary
education programme. That scheme, which featured prominently up till 1966, suffered
a major blow following the military take-over of government in that year. Even if the
government cannot afford to make education totally free, it should be made affordable
considering the 30,000 naira minimum wage, so that the average citizen can afford it.
the essence of public schools is for its affordability but a lot of people cannot afford to
pay for these schools and end up being drop outs. In Nigeria, about 10.5 million are out
of school, with finance being a major reason.
- Unavailability of qualified teachers
In Nigeria, the poor working condition, poor remuneration and allowances the teachers
are subjected to, have discouraged capable and qualified teachers from taking up
teaching jobs, they rather apply for other better paying jobs than teaching, while the
few teachers who have taken up the teaching profession did so due to lack of better
jobs, hence, their low level of dedication as they are always on the look out for greener
pastures. This directly affects output as the quality of education is drastically reduced
by this menace.
The above factors are some out of so many that are eating up the education system in
Nigeria. Some recommendations are
- Government should take funding of education more serious at least meet 50% of
- Teachers need to be trained and retrained periodically.
- Teachers should be provided with quality and up to date instructional
materials. Teachers’ salaries need to be improved, this will serve as a motivation for
them to be more effective and dedicated.
- Students should be admitted into school based on merit and not sentiments or
In conclusion, education, in every part of the world is the bedrock of development. The
development of any nation depends, to a large extent on the quality of education it
provides. According to Malcolm X, education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow
belongs to those who prepare for it today. For education to thrive, it must be funded
properly. The numerous problems must be faced with so much sacrifice and injecting the
right attitude, adequate finance and human and material resources. Only then can we reap
the benefits of national development.