Friday, 12 December 2014

How Educational Development In Nigeria Is Now Becoming A Reality

Nelson Mandela once famously said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” I believe this why now there is a stronger need for us to focus on developing the Nigerian education system. A lot has already been said and written about the problems and challenges faced by our education system, but I think now it’s time that we concentrate on the positive efforts undertaken by the government, organisations and individuals to extend the reach of education and help our students learn.

Hence, here I am going to talk about the obvious challenges faced by the education system in Nigeria and how everyone is striving to better the scenario. Read on....

Struggling With A Polluted System

As an educationist and a researcher, I have visited various schools throughout Nigeria and have generally found the same scenario existing everywhere. Although we are generously gifted with vast natural and human resources, our education system is tormented with issues like underfunding. As a result of this, most schools are left to cope with poor infrastructure and corrupted learning environment. In my experience, I have seen schools facing a lack of adequate classrooms, laboratories, libraries, computers, projectors and other teaching aids. Moreover there is a scarcity of quality educators due to non-availability of training. In fact our schools are further haunted with various vices like child-hooliganism, cultism and examination malpractices.

Throughout my career, I have met many people who think that the disturbing decline in the goals and objectives of Nigerian school system has been mostly caused by the military intrusion into politics. Every time I open a newspaper, the headlines scream at me about corruption and bribery allegations against our educators; students involved in cult wars, rape incidents in campuses, brutal initiation of unwary students to cult groups; campus prostitution supported by public office holders and many more.

But even in this dark and murky environment, I still see a ray of hope for our education system and our learners. The Nigerian government has taken a number of steps to bring education to our grass roots. However, there is still lot more that we need to do to effectively improve the current educational structure.

Empowering Our Youths

Apart from the Nigerian government, a number of establishments have also come forward to boost our education system and provide various development opportunities to our youths. One such company is Airtel Nigeria, which has constantly invested in youth development and created a number of reliable platforms, including Catapult-a-Start-up, the One-Mic music initiative, Airtel Rising Stars, and the Adopt-a- School programme, for Nigerian youths.

Recently, Airtel launched special programme named Catapult-a-Start-up for upcoming Nigerian entrepreneurs. Segun Ogunsanya, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director of Airtel Nigeria, explained the initiative as a solid step in enabling our youths to pursue their career dream and achieve success.

Ogunsanya said “At Airtel, we are passionate about building a community for young talented Nigerians. We know that there are thousands of young people who are blessed with the skills to develop relevant apps, but most of them do not have opportunities to showcase or develop their skills.”

He added “So through the Catapult-a-Startup programme, we will not only be able to identify the talent, but also encourage local content through this initiative...Airtel will continue to go the extra mile to empowering them to succeed in their respective endeavours.”

Earlier this year, Airtel Nigeria introduced the Airtel One Mic programme which aims to discover young and talented musicians in different campuses across the country. Moreover the organisation has also provided an excellent platform for skilled athletes in the field of football through their Airtel Rising Stars initiative. 

Thousands of skilled players, both boys and girls, are given the opportunity to demonstrate their talents and take part in regional, national and international championships. However, the biggest and most important contribution by Airtel is in the field of primary education. It has associated with the government for the long term development of primary education.

Ogunsanya said “Our Adopt-a-School programme is a robust intervention that thrives on a singular mantra: when we adopt a school, we adopt for life...Schools we have adopted will continue to benefit from us indefinitely.” He continued “Without a doubt, quality education offers children the best opportunity in life to realise their dreams and become the leaders of tomorrow. A great environment is also critical to the development of a sound mind. It is, therefore, in recognition of the importance of education and as part our Corporate Social Responsibility vision that we have committed to the adoption of public primary schools across Nigeria.”

Training For A Better Future

Just like Airtel, the Intel Corporation is also taking efforts to improve the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector and boost the Nigerian economy. Recently Intel has provided training to more than 80 undergraduates from Nigeria with the help of their Intel Galileo Board.

The 80 Nigerian students were selected from 8 universities across the nation, including-
  • Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA), Ondo State
  • Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, Kaduna State
  • Imo State and the University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Kwara State
  • Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State
  • Federal University of Science and Technology Owerri (FUTO)
  • Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State
  • Ekiti State University (EKSU), Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State
Wolf Witt, member of Intel Education Service Corps, explained that the Intel Corporation was dedicated towards the development of engineering and technology in colleges and universities in Nigeria. I found it interesting when Intel Nigeria Corporate Affairs Manager Babatunde Akinola requested the participants to be pioneering and innovative by discovering the various potentials and opportunities offered by the Intel Galileo Board.

He said “Galileo is a platform for you to express yourself. It can spur you to being creative and innovative. There is a wealth of resources on our platform that you can use.”

Taking The Right Step

But as the government and other organisations are trying hard to improve the overall scenario, I think our students also need to be proactive and take the right steps to accomplish their academic goals. But what can our students do at this stage if the Nigerian school system is unable to provide quality education currently?

If you are committed to earn a recognised qualification and start building your career, then I would suggest that you study for an online university degree. Being an educator myself, I was initially wary about the benefits of online learning, but as I learned more I discovered that it is perhaps the best option for Nigerian students.

Why Go Online?

The answer is simple. Online degrees are highly affordable accredited programmes that allow you to learn what you want, where you want at your own pace. This means you can study from your own home and work at the same time without emptying your bank account. You can easily avoid the corruption prevalent in our higher education by studying online as you will not be required to physically visit the campus. Moreover, when you acquire university degree online, you will get excellent job opportunities in various fields as most employers across Nigeria now recognise and accept online qualifications.

I personally believe that online education can give our students the edge they need to compete with others in the global job market. As most online degrees are accredited, you will receive high quality education that will bring you at par with international students.

The Bottom-Line

As we strive to better our flawed education system, we are all aware that it will take some time to get the wheels in motion. Several important steps have already been taken, but we still need to go miles. In the meantime, you should do all that you can to add value to your resume and gain the necessary skills and knowledge. And one of the best ways to do that is certainly online education.

What do you think about the current state of our education system? What more can we do to make it better? Share your thoughts and ideas with us by commenting below. We would love to hear from you.

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