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Sunday, 24 March 2019

Challenges facing Nigerian Education Sector

The setting of a school located in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The setting of a school located in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Source
Nigeria is a country located in West African Continent. The country is addressed as the giant of Africa. The question is: is it the giant in its education sector? Is it the giant by mere words of mouth? What level of service does
the national government of this country pay to the education sector? What number of tertiary institutions in the country are mechanized?
Education sector of Nigeria is in a coma. It is sad that a country addressed as the giant of Africa pay lip services to the education sector, which is one if not the most basic sector of every nation.
Education is the process of training students both theoretically and practically. In Nigeria, many students are trained through theory without including the practical means which is more important. The challenges in Nigeria education sector are poor government funding, low practical background, individual negligence, corruption, teachers and lecturers weaknesses and lack of quality instructors.
The United Nations recommends that at least 26 percent of the national budget be allocated to the educational arm for growth in the sector, but the Nigerian government has failed in this. Statistics has shown that Nigeria has not come close to the recommendation in the recent years.
The 2018 budget which has been approved by the National Assembly shows that the allocation to the sector is low. In the proposal presented to the National Assembly on Tuesday (November 7, 2017), President Muhammadu Buhari allocated only 7.04% of the 8.6 trillion 2018 budget to the education (Azeezat Adedigba 2017 ).
The total sum allocated to the sector is N605.8 billion, with N435.1 billion for recurrent expenditure, N61.73 billion for capital expenditure and N109.06 billion for the Universal Basic Education Commission. Due to the poor care to the sector, it does not attract students from other African countries when compared to the 1990s when students from Ghana, Cameroon, Zambia and other countries usually derive joy in coming to Nigeria to study.
Today, the reverse is the case. Not just that Nigeria students travel to other African countries like Ghana to study but the lecturers leave the country as well. They want a better place to impact on the students and then paid well in return.

Federal Government of Nigeria allocation to EducationVanguard News

Vanguard News Source
From the table above, you will understand that there is no uniformity in the allocation given to the education sector of the country from 2009 till date. The year that has the highest allocation in terms of percentage was in the year 2014. That was during the leadership of the former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
Quoting from the words of Nwafor Polycarp of Vanguard News Nigeria in explanation of the above table, "In 2009, the Federal Government allocated N221.19 billion (7.25 per cent) of its N3.049 trillion budget to education. The figure was reduced to 4.83 per cent in 2010 when education got N249.09 billion of the hefty N5.16 trillion appropriation".
When Goodluck Jonathan was voted out of the office, President Buhari assumed the leadership position of the country. In that year, that was in 2016, the sector had its second-worst allocation in ten years. In that year, only N369.6 billion which was 6.10 per cent of the annual budget of N6.061 trillion was given for education.
Forty per cent of Nigerian children aged 6-11 do not attend any primary school with the Northern region recording the lowest school attendance rate in the country, particularly for girls. Despite a significant increase in net enrollment rates in recent years, it is estimated that about 4.7 million children of primary school age are still not in school - UNICEF 2008. 

 Poor Government Funding

How much does Nigerian government put into education sector each year? Most Nigerian politicians are selfish and do not consider paying good attention to students in the country. They only pay attention to things that they will benefit from, thereby ignoring the poor souls that study in different schools of the country.
What annoys most Nigerian students is that the sons and daughters of the national leaders study abroad where they are given first class treatment instead of taking part in the pains as citizens. The leaders embezzle the money they are to use in building the education sector of the country and use them for their individual expenses.
The infrastructural level in different universities, polytechnics, secondary, primary and nursery schools is too poor. Many buildings in primary schools are weak and 'pleading' for rebranding, yet the government turns their eyes in another direction when they see such mess. The tertiary institutions in the country lack proper funding as machines and other instruments which are to be installed in these post secondary educations are not there. This is one of the problems why most Nigerian graduates are jobless.A picture of a collapsed school building in Plateau state. This killed one pupil and left 4 injured.

A picture of a collapsed school building in Plateau state. This killed one pupil and left 4 injured. Source

Poor practical backup

The education system of Nigeria is more of theory without practical backup. This is a big challenge to the nation as 'all the notes in the world' are gathered for Nigerian students without any physical device to assist in their learning. Taking this discussion to students in Industrial Chemistry department, do they really make use of the required chemicals required of them for learning purposes? It is too bad as the lecturers kept on lecturing the students without practical aspect to enhance their understanding. Many surveying students have been taught on things concerning their area of study without being taken to the field where they will practice what they have been taught. The problem is not all about taking them to the field but on the material needed to carry out their activities in the field. In fact, weak practical is really one of the major challenges the Nigerian education is battling with.
In the secondary schools in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, senior students do write their Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations on a yearly basis. The subjects being written during the examination include the one called practical chemistry. Of the truth, some schools that do not have equipment for the practical have their students write the subject and still make it at the end of the process. The question is "how do these students make it when they do not have practical instruments"? All centers on the high examination malpractice in the country.

Individual Negligence

In the western world, many individuals have sponsored projects in their educational institutions. They do these things not because of self glorification but because they value education and understand the importance. Also, they understand that raising infrastructure in schools is not just the sole duty of the governments of their country but for all.
As sourced from US news in December 2018 on how alumni of different schools have donated massively, it stated "Alumni donated more than $11 billion to their alma maters in 2017, according to an annual survey from the Council for Aid to Education, an increase of 14.5 percent over 2016. CAE found that of the $43.6 billion in contributions to higher education in 2017, 26.1 percent came from alumni" (Josh Moody 2018).
There are rich individuals who sponsored some projects in schools in Europe and America and they do not have two heads. In Nigeria, we have men and women who are doing well in financial world. These persons can sponsor one or two projects in schools within the country effectively. But they neglected these things and still move around with the mindset that it is only the duty of the government of their country to build schools to good standard. Individual negligence is one of the reasons Nigeria educational is still poor.


What will a minister or school head gain when he uses the fund given to him for school development on his personal needs? It has been a challenge that many schools in Nigeria have been facing for years now. It is hard to see a university or school head in general that is clean. Many of them are dirty and find it difficult to stay clean.
some who were allocated some funds to build schools end up not using the entire money for the projects they were instructed to do with the money. That is corruption in Nigeria school system. It is one of the challenges facing schools in the country. Everyone wants to have their own personal share of the money allocated for public use which is specifically for schools development. Many engineers who were instructed to raise standard structures in Nigeria schools end up building substandard structures due to corruption.

Corruption in Nigeria education. It is one of the challenges facing Nigerian schools.
Corruption in Nigeria education. It is one of the challenges facing Nigerian schools. Source

Teachers and Lecturers weaknesses

When teachers and lecturers who train the students on what to do are weak, the institution becomes a failed project. That is a fact. It becomes a real failed project because those who are to guide the students do not even know the path they themselves are to follow. The lecturers and teachers in many institutions are still making use of outdated textbooks to teach Nigerian students. Taking Biology, for instance, the old name of Carbon (IV) Oxide is Carbon dioxide. This old name is no longer invoke, but it is sad to hear that many instructors in institutions in Nigeria are still making use of it. Again, in technologically related courses, lecturers and teachers are still teaching the students on old technology without being updated on the recent ones.

Unqualified Instructors

Instructors in this context can be teachers or lecturers, who instruct students in schools and universities respectively. The problem with unqualified teachers is rampant in primary and secondary schools in the country. Most schools that are owned by private instead of government employ 'cheap products' to teach students in order to maximize profit. They (private proprietors) know that it will be expensive for them to get and pay qualified teachers and because of this go for the unqualified. What do you think will be the kind of service an unqualified teacher can give? In tertiary institutions, a similar thing is obtainable as Head of Departments, Deans and Vice Chancellors employ those that are related to them whether qualified or not. It is one of the reasons why many Nigeria universities are turning into a family business. The system of 'if your father, mother, uncle, niece, nephew, aunt or cousin is not a staff in this institution you will not be employee' is growing wing from day-to-day in the country. When University forgets about quality lecturers and employ because of relationship, the quality of training given to students becomes weak.


How can a country move forward without quality education? This write-up is the problem with Nigeria education. The education sector of Nigeria is weak. Government, Universities, and individuals should play a good part to enhance quality education in Nigeria. If we continue to leave the responsibility to the government alone, we may not achieve much in the sector.


  • Azeezat Adedigba (2017), 2018 Budget: Buhari allocates 7% to education, Premium Times publication, Nigeria
  • Josh Moody (2018), 10 Universities Where the Most Alumni Donate, published by World Report US News, United States
  • Nwafor Polycarp (2018), Education sector gets paltry N3.9 trillion out of N55.19 trillion in 10 years, Vanguard News publication, Nigeria

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