Shamble Education Can't Save Young Nigerians!

by L.Chinedu Arizona-Ogwu

The collapse of the education system in Nigeria is indicative of the general collapse and retreat of the state. A strong influence of the state’s political and economical affairs! That same decay is found in the health sector, where our people are suffering the indignity of feudal diseases such as cholera and tuberculosis. No wonder our life expectancy is now 34 for women and 37 for men; statistics that are only rivaled by nations.

Besides the typical inputs for production – land, labour and capital – education has long been one of the factors that decides the volume and extent of growth with similar amounts of input allocation in a number of countries. It was evinced convincingly, when analyzing the path to economic prosperity of different countries, including those in Africa, that heavy social expenditure, especially in education, had been one of the common factors behind their emergence as strong economies. Along with this emergence, in terms of economic growth, came human development. Human development is understood to be the expansion of the realm of choices available to an individual. While income accounts for one of the factors, the other two are considered to be education and longevity. These two factors, education and health, contribute the most to help the general masses graduate to a higher standard of living and live a better life.

It is the collapse of the public education system that is unpardonable, cruel and totally criminal. Education is at the core of the dignity and decency of any nation. Education is that fundamental foundational matrix that a new future and a new Nigeria can be built. This regime understands this more than anyone else, which is why in the first decade of Independence it spent in real terms 3% of its GDP investing in education. The result was massive enrolment of students and extensive capitalization, particularly in the rural areas. The net product is that in Nigeria, with a literacy rate of 85%, is second only to Tunisia and has more degreed citizens per capita than Kenya, or Ghana.

Sadly, the crème de la crème of our education system has been sucked up in the diaspora. You will find a Nigerian at the UN, at Goldman and Sachs and at virtually every decent university in the world. That this regime can therefore be allowed to kill the education system is unacceptable. When one considers that the majority of these pedagogy terrorists have their children in schools and universities outside Nigeria.

What is indeed most unacceptable is the fact that for five years the education Minister; Mr. Sam Egwu has been allowed to run amok, dabbling in quasi-fiscal activities. These activities have seen him become the de-facto education minister of the land. The Academic Staff University Union (ASUU) went on strike on June 22, 2009 after a warning strike, pressing for a number of demands among them, university autonomy, adequate funding, enhanced salary structure and stemming brain drain. These are the quartet that is bogging our universities down. A nation that jokes with its ivory towers will not progress as they are the sources of manpower. After I have received many catalogues from two universities in USA, a public university and a private one, I sober everyday in that Nigeria has the opportunities to build and equip universities of my experience, but we chose madness without method. The best university in Nigeria is no better than a community college in USA.

Where did he get the N120 million that was spent on that wild goose chase? Will the senate allow this to pass and becomes another business as usual? Will these (dis)honorable men and women in Abuja not press for Egwu’s sack? On 27th April 2009 at COMSAT, hear him say,” I pledge to fashion out new policy that would enable education sector emerge from its declining status” yet Nigeria’s N185bn education budget has not created a shape inside over 150 million Nigerians paying to be educated. He also spent millions of dollars bankrolling to obstruct ASUU campaign .In short, his hands have been seen everywhere where clienteles is an issue. For instance, he spent huge amounts buying the project vehicles, generators and satellite dishes.

While, Joy Emordi, the Senate Committee Chairman on education is growing gray hair on the rot in our university system, Sam Egwu is masturbating himself with happiness, laughing at the ASUU struggles as fetish and foolish. A man, who is supposed to be in agony that our children are out school and their future at the precipice, and rolling steadily towards a cliff hanger, is however not bothered a bit. What manner of a country is this, that a public servant will be engrossed in an irresponsible behavior with impunity, to throw a lavish bash while Rome burns?

Inconsistency of education in Nigeria sentences young citizens to menial jobs, street-corner hustling, illicit activities, fathering children out of wedlock, drugs, gangs, crime, prison, violence, death and worse – these young Nigerians are literally being prepared to destroy the Nigerian communities in which they live. Inability to achieve becomes hopelessness, punctual graduation deter. Young Nigerian students kept roaming the streets jobless. Jobless turns them hopeless. Hopelessness becomes despair. Despair becomes destruction.

The roaming student loses self-confidence, becomes discouraged, decreases effort, and fails further, continuing a downward spiral from which there seems to be no escape. If unchecked, the roaming child eventually enters

Out of school annihilates the concept of family in the Nigerian community because young citizens without school degrees seldom become good providers for their families and strong anchors for their communities. The fabric of the Nigerian community becomes unwoven. This is an unnatural disaster and a national disgrace with little-to-no effective response from this government or the Nigerian society where this destruction is taking place.

The regime seems not concerned with the peoples plight. They do not care if people starve or die from disease because of a lack of medicine. They only care for the comfortable niche they have enjoyed for years.

from the multitude of comments I read each day, I have concluded that the majority of Nigerians don’t want a flawed agreement. They have suffered to get this far…they seem prepared to suffer more. Nigeria4betterrule participants say those with elastic patience should bear this in mind, otherwise an enormous number of people will have suffered in vain.

it is not just a moral obligation of the state but also a prudent decision in the crude financial terms of ‘return on investment’ for increased expenditure in both education and health. Furthermore, given that the state is obligated to provide for education and health, besides other basic needs of all Nigerian citizens according to the constitution, the government is also legally bound to ensure that the masses have a reasonably acceptable level of access to quality education. It is rather alarming then, that the finance ministry of this government finds no justification in spending several billions of Naira on equipment purchase and repair work of non-government educational institutions.

We can only wonder how the finance ministry fails to find justification in expenditure for education since for every well-spent taka the country is likely to reap dividends that are several times higher. Not only do we find the current regime’s faculty direly lacking as far as rational reasoning is concerned, there is also a lack of commitment of successive governments regarding education in general, which has only increased the misery of the masses by way of depriving them from opportunities that they might otherwise have availed.

That 237 public secondary schools have remained without a headmaster besides hundreds others without key office-bearers goes to show the pathetic state of public education system and the government’s apathy towards

it. Unfortunately, the current regime is not proving to be an exception.

The ministry of education owes it to the students and the nation to retrieve the reputation of this institution and restore a corruption free environment there through making wholesale changes in the administration. It is not just a responsibility of the government but also that of the guardians, students, management committees and citizens in general to be committed towards the integrity of educational institutions. These actors must intervene in their own capacities to install a sound and competent management to run this institution and all other educational institutions in serious need of reforms.

Again, we expect that the public education system should be refurbished adequately to ensure that children receive quality education while government cooperation as far as education is concerned strengthened with emphasis. It is our conviction that social spending will bring about not only human development but also economic prosperity gradually lessening deprivation and inequity.

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