The Slow Death of Education in Nigeria: How the Government is Failing the Next Generation

It is common for Nigerians to lament the problems facing the country, from corruption and decaying infrastructure to unemployment and a high cost of doing business. What is uncommon is for us to get to the heart of the matter. What has changed since Nigeria’s independence in 1960? Why are we more cynical and less hopeful than ever before? Is it possible to trace our problems to a specific cause?

In the early years of post-colonial Nigeria, political leaders like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, and Sir Ahmadu Bello embodied the country’s potential for greatness. They were educated, charismatic leaders who inspired hope and pride in Nigerians at home and abroad. The world looked to Nigeria with admiration, and we returned that admiration with optimism and confidence. But many has changed since then.

Colossal figures like Nnamdi Azikiwe, Aminu Kano, Michael Okpara, Anthony Enahoro, Bola Ige, and many others once dominated Nigerian politics. They were well-spoken, well-educated men who inspired the country with their vision and their values. But things have changed since then. Today’s political landscape is characterized by figures like Tinubu, Buhari, Peter Obi, Fani-Kayode, and others who have stolen the hope of many Nigerians.

The politics in Nigeria has become a game for the rich and powerful, rather than a platform for improving the lives of ordinary people. The country has become a place where politicians thrive on division and tribalism, rather than working together for the common good. How did Nigeria fall so far from the promise of its early years? What went wrong?

Nigeria’s political and social problems may have their origins in the decline of public education, but the reasons for this decline are complex and multifaceted. While the effects of the country’s turbulent political history are undeniable, it’s also important to consider the role of greed and corruption in the failure of the education system. Over time, Nigeria’s leaders have become increasingly focused on their own personal gain, rather than on investing in the country’s future. This has had a devastating impact on education, and on the country as a whole.

So, in this context, the phrase ‘corruption will kill Nigeria if we don’t kill corruption’ takes on a deeper meaning. It’s not just about financial or political corruption – it’s about a deeper moral corruption, a failure to value education and prioritize the future of the country. Until this problem is addressed, Nigeria may be dead in all but name.Who needs the community when the federal government can afford to pay for it? Thus went out of the window the basic building blocks of our education system when the first Obasanjo led administration forcefully took over our schools from communities and missionaries, and declared Universal Primary Mis-Education! Nigeria is yet to recover from this nightmare.

When the federal government began to take control of the education system, it removed the local ties that had made that system work. The communities and missionaries who had built the education system from the ground up were replaced by a distant and detached bureaucracy. This led to a decline in educational standards, and a disconnection between education and the communities it was supposed to serve. The legacy of this shift still haunts Nigeria today, and its effects are seen in the poor quality of education across the country.

An education system is more than just a way to teach academics – it’s the foundation of a nation’s values, the key to its economic development, and the mechanism for instilling a sense of patriotism. But I’m this present Nigeria, all of these elements were missing from the education system. As a result, the country has been left with a generation of individuals who have not been prepared for the workforce, and who lack the sense of pride and responsibility.

The current school curriculum in Nigeria is disconnected from the needs of society, and students are not being taught the history or values of their country. Instead, they are being exposed to foreign curricula that have no relevance to their lives, and are being taught at institutions that are more interested in profit than in actually educating their students.

The education sector in Nigeria is characterized by a lack of planning, as well as a disconnect between the needs of communities and the offerings of educational institutions. Rather than working to close this gap, the government has relied on top-down, centralized planning that does not reflect the reality on the ground. The result is a system that is not producing graduates who are equipped to tackle the challenges facing the country. Instead, many young people are choosing to pursue their education abroad.

The time has come to say ‘never again’ to the failures of the current education system. We must start by reforming our schools, and by investing in the next generation of students. Unless we do this, no amount of investment in anti-corruption efforts or job creation programs will solve the country’s problems. We must not only address the problem of crime and insecurity with police gear and bullets, but with education and opportunity for the youth.

To prevent our society from descending into further ruin, we must rediscover the power of education at the community level. The Nigerian government must provide the resources and support they need to do so. We must make education a top priority, not only in terms of funding, but also in terms of policy and cultural values.


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