The Platform

Schoolchildren in Ihiala, Nigeria. (Justin Norman)

Nigerian schools are in a state of decay, not just physical.

Since Nigeria gained independence in the 1960s, the educational system has undergone several modifications and changes, transitioning from the British system to the current one.

According to Transforming Education in Niger State (TENS), “In 1973, the educational system was updated to the 6-3-3-4 (6 years primary, 3 years junior secondary, 3 years of senior secondary and 4 years tertiary education) similar to the American system. In 1982, the first national policy on education was developed and adopted. Since this period, the educational system has witnessed a lot of changes and modifications at various levels.”

The Nigerian educational system faces a variety of challenges, including infrastructure decay, neglect, wasted resources, and poor services. As a result, the country has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world, estimated to be over 10 million.

According to the Nigerian news outlet Vanguard, “More than 10 million Nigerian children do not have the opportunity to attend school, and that is the highest rate in the world. Even at that, many of the children who are lucky to be in the classroom come with ragged or torn polythene school bags.”

Furthermore, the quality of education provided to those who do attend school is inadequate. Many Nigerians have only received a partial education, while over 30% of the population remains illiterate.

Several factors contribute to the high number of out-of-school children, such as escalating tuition fees in higher education institutions. Eligible Nigerians struggle to gain admission to public universities, let alone afford the exorbitant fees charged by private universities. These barriers, among others, contribute to the education crisis in the country and further exacerbate the out-of-school children rate.

It is widely known that Nigeria possesses abundant human and natural resources. However, mismanagement of these resources by the authorities impedes the development and progress of the country.

Nigeria has a large pool of talented and skilled individuals who are essential for personal and national growth. Unfortunately, the lack of opportunities prevents citizens from showcasing their talents.

Reports indicate that the unemployment rate in Nigeria has steadily increased in recent years. According to Premium Times, a leading Nigerian media outlet, the National Bureau of Statistics reported a rise in the unemployment rate, projected to reach 40.6% in 2023.

The report states, “The National Bureau of Statistics recorded an increase in the national unemployment rate from 23.1% in 2018 to 33.3% in 2020. We estimate that this rate has increased to 37.7% in 2022 and will rise further to 40.6% in 2023.”

The rising number of out-of-school children in Nigeria contributes significantly to the increasing unemployment rate. To combat this issue, both governmental and non-governmental organizations in Nigeria must create opportunities and vacancies for positive development. By doing so, they can effectively reduce the unemployment rate and the number of out-of-school children in the country.

Ismaila Biliaminu Manne is a freelance journalist and writer, with a keen interest in African cultures as well as underreported storytelling of marginalized communities across Nigeria. He lives in North Central Nigeria.