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EDITORIAL

Need to stem low basic education enrolment

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ABOUT 10.5 million Nigerian children are out of school. This is worrisome.

THIS is according to  a recent United Nation’s story which states that 60 per cent of  out-of school children are in the northern part of the country. The report names states with the highest number of basic school drop outs as Kano, Akwa-Ibom, Katsina, Kaduna, Taraba, Sokoto, Yobe, Zamfara, Oyo, Benue, Jigawa and Ebonyi.

 

MANY factors are reportedly  responsible for the development, chief of which is high rate of poverty across   country. This  has made it difficult for poor  parents and indigent  families to  send their children and wards to school. Another is  what  experts believe is the effect of the neglect of    basic education for many years which has resulted in unimaginable decay of infrastructure and systems’ failure in the sector.

 

They are also of the belief that if past governments at all levels in the country had taken proper care of the sector , the country would not be witnessing decay in facility and dis-enchantment for the basic education sector.

 

THERE is  no gain saying that basic education is  vital  to the survival and growth of both secondary and tertiary educations and by extension, the country. Former Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Peter Okebukola captured this when he said in a paper he presented during the 2019 edition of Lagos State University, Faculty of Education’s Distinguished Lecture Series.

 

HE CHARGED governments at all levels to pay greater attentions to teachers’ preparations, welfare and happiness and in improving the quality of education .  THE former NUC boss also advised governments at all levels to improve funding and close up the huge infrastructure deficit in the sector.

 

ACCORDING to him, proper funding of education would ultimately translate to good quality of  education in the country.  ANOTHER stakeholder in the education sector , Nurudeen Akinyemi, however, hinted that the situation may not be as bad as some sources claim. He  noted during a media  interview that there is always the tendency for older people to be nostalgic when commentaries are made on the falling standard of education in the country.

 

BUT he added that poor assessment may be a factor. “Governments of today tend to forget that high standards were maintained yester years because of sustained investment in the education sector. It is regrettable that a country with its first primary school established in 1843 had allowed this magnitude of rot in education.

 

“THE general neglect of the sector has continually given credence to the series of lamentations on the general falling standard of education in the country. Consequently, it would not be out of place if the various authorities go beyond rhetoric and seasonal interventions and declare a state of emergency in the sector in order to address the challenges without further delay”.

 

Given  federal government’s  awareness of the importance of basic education with the infrastructural decay in the sector, as well as the now embarrassing  low enrolment across country despite establishment of  the Universal Basic Education (UBE) in 1999. The question is “has the UBE lived up to the expectations of Nigerians?

 

IT IS a heartwarming development that several states in the country had put in place various intervention mechanisms to address the issue of out-of-school children, with intent on how to improve  infrastructure, enhance interest in the teaching profession, among other problems.  Those intervention organs will  hopefully  make things better in the education sector.

 

ON HER part, the federal government had for some years now, given supports to states to spur them to improve their standard of basic education, in order to meet the goals of the defunct Millennium Development Goals, now replaced with Sustainable Development Goals.

 

In Kano State for instance, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, during a visit to the Minister of Education, Alhaji Adamu Adamu promised to harmonise the Almajiri education system into a modern academic system. He said that education should be made free at all levels in the interest of the Nigerian child.

 

IN KADUNA, the state’s  Basic Education Board mobilised 2,000 education stakeholders as part of activities to kick start the 2019 enrolment campaign. Same was the case in Enugu, Oyo, Ebonyi, Jigawa, etc where  state governments had put machineries in motion to address the problem of enrolment, teachers welfare and infrastructural decay.

 

THESE measures a very noteworthy development  but the question is, how long will they be sustained? The problem is not always making good policies, but how to implement them.

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