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Friday, October 27, 2017

Saving our education system

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Since the 1970s, the educational system of the Yorubaland has been gradually deteriorating. Standards have been falling with buildings, infrastructure poorly maintained, and teachers poorly remunerated. However, the pace of the deterioration picked up in the 1990s because of the military government poor policies and the corruption that had taken over governance in the country.

Our major factor that helped the deterioration of public education system in the region was the forceful takeover of privately owned schools by the federal government in the 1970s. Schools that were previously maintained by the tithes and fisebililah money of congregants suddenly found themselves at the mercy of the inconsistent government. Of course, Nigeria was swimming, though some would say, ‘drowning’ in petrodollar in the 70s and the early days of the forceful takeover were rosy. The government had money to splash around and even ordered a nationwide increase in civil servants' salary across boards. However, things took a turn for the worse in the 1980s when the oil prices crashed and since then the schools that were forcefully taken over and those originally owned by the government have seen their fortune gone down.

What is the way forward for our education system? Alternatively, are we going to fold our hands and watch it become a centre of wasting time? How long are we going to continue churning out secondary school graduates who can barely write their name? Now, public schools have become the last option for the poorest of the poor. Private schools have taken over education for the working and middle classes of our society. This will further widen the gap between the various classes of our society. I have observed repeatedly that so many public secondary school students cannot compete with private school kids in a primary class. If we continue along this line, we are setting up our society for a serious fall.

What is the way forward? I think we need to restructure our schools, one school at a time. The government should adopt a primary school and a secondary school per every local government every year and turn around their infrastructure. A community management board consisting of teachers, parents and community leaders should be constituted to manage these overhauled schools. The board must be allowed to levy charges on community members and pupils to maintain the facility and procure materials if necessary. The board should be able to hire, reward and reject teachers based strictly on performance and competence. Allow individual schools to set its test and termly examinations while the sessional examinations will continue to be state-wide.  Companies and organisation can also be encouraged to adopt a school and take care of some of its need during a certain period.


We need to take radical decisions to bring public school at par with private and I hope that my article can begin a conversation on incubating ideas to do just this.

*Contributed by Adisa Kabiru Adeniyi, could be reached via: adisakabiru@yahoo.co.uk
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