Access to Education in Northern Nigeria
Access to Education in Northern Nigeria
Our blog post is based on access to quality education in Northern Nigeria, a concept which (Wiley & Green, 2012) defined as the freedom to share knowledge. According to the authors, there are many ways in which education can be successfully shared, that is to say by use of the internet, textbooks and in-person to name but a few. In this blog, we will be exploring reasons why quality education is not accessible in Northern Nigeria?; what has led to the high illiteracy rate in the country?; How institutions currently based in the region are dealing with the situation and further how we might help improve the process through systems thinking.
Why Northern Nigeria
(Review, 2019) States that Nigeria has a population of approximately 202 956 161 individuals, of that population; (US Agency for International Development, 2013) finds out that 10.5 million of those are non-school going children. Of the 10.5 million non school going children, about 70% of this population is located in Northern Nigeria. In this case, children in grade 3 in this areas can not read a single word because they attend religious schools which only teach them Islamic values instead of combating illiteracy. Still on that note, (US Agency for International Development, 2013) states that most of these children are from poor backgrounds, and by such, they find themselves dropping out of school to either beg for money in order to sustain themselves and the girl children get married off at young ages. (Bertoni, Molini, Maio, & Nisticò, 2018) Point out that the conflict between Boko Haram and the community occupying Northern Nigeria has seen less and fewer enrollments in schools ever since Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 female students, the militia uses the girl child as suicide bombers and this is the main reason for the high iliteracy rate in this region. It is therefore understandable why our blog post would focus solely on Northern Nigeria.
Causes of Illiteracy in Nigeria.
According to the Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa (Onome, 2014), the nature of the education system in Nigeria is alarming. Onome mentions how the structures of the schools in Nigeria are dilapidated with small classrooms. The nature of these classrooms can not entertain the number of students, and this leads to overcrowding and a problem of inadequate furniture for use. (Vasco, Abul and Michelle, 2019) Write about how Boko Haram has also increasingly led to an increase in illiteracy rates in Nigeria through their actions. In their writing, they talk about how this terrorist group has assaulted both schools and teachers. They have also abducted several students and killed teachers too. According to (This day, 2019), they make an incite on how the government of Nigeria has not done enough in providing funding for the education system to be improved. They also continue and say that in case the government of Nigeria is able to provide proper funding, make education compulsory, fully become a motivator and driver of education in the country, the education system would have systematically improved. To add on, the government is the supreme head of a country and if it takes up the first initiative, the education system is expected to change.
How institutions are dealing with the problems
(Onome, 2018) States that in order to curb the increase in the illiteracy rate, a number of schools have taken the initiative of accepting all the number of students who come in order to allow all of them to obtain an education. For example, at LEA Primary School City Gate in Abuja as a case study, in one class, 87 students share 8 tables and chairs in the name of obtaining an education.
The institutions also face a problem of inadequacy in funding and for the case of inadequate funding in the education sector, the government has tried to adjust the national budget to cater for a given number of schools. (Jideofor, 2014) Adds on to suggest that to be able to protect both the teachers and students, there has been an alternative of building schools in safe places that the terrorists are not able to easily attack and also to solve the crisis in the nation-building processes, while (Adibe, 2019) suggests that the problems of unemployment, poverty, illiteracy and radical Islam can be tackled if a ministry in charge of Northern Nigeria is created.
How We Might Improve the Process Through Systems Thinking.
Since the schools accepting other students from different places in any numbers to access education. (Onome,2018) States that those schools are exposed to high risk of several attacks. We think that deploying troops that protect both students and teachers against Boko Haram attacks would help in combating the Boko haram attacks. Places with security are less likely to get strikes. Security forces should ensure the safety of both learners and teachers because when students are abducted, the classes would lack learners and if teachers are killed, there will be no one to teach. The troops should live at school. They should also be hiding in areas around the schools, and some of them should be hiding along the roads on standby to ensure that students leave and reach home safely. Government troops should always be available. Some of them should camouflage as teachers and start teaching in classrooms. They should also be involved in the transport system where they can observe the movements of the community as well as the rebels. Some of the troops should further move in the streets with kids who do not use public transport, and their movement should be of high level civilians with no any single sign that can identify them as soldiers but fully equipped to protect the kids from attacks. Apart from maintaining security, the troops should also get involved in repairing classrooms that are getting outdated and destroyed.
Since the number of students is increasing and some of the classrooms were destroyed, (Mitchelle,2019) suggests that there is a need to increase the number of classes in such a way of creating a better learning environment for the students. As such, there should be the construction of other buildings. The troops will lead the project. They will not just be waiting for security, but they will be involved in the development of those schools. The availability of forces will reduce the attacks in the sense that Boko Haram will not be able and does not mostly attack the areas with high security. The fact that each class contains 87 students. (Onome,2018) Shows the need to build other classrooms. Splitting those classes into two or three classrooms will help teachers to manage. With the help of troops, they will lead the communities to construct different classrooms. We strongly believe that an increase in security and protection against the Boko Haram will also increase the number of students who will also attend classes. This will also improve accessibility to education which will also increase literacy rate at the same time
The government should spend more funds on supporting and enhancing the education system. The challenge is that many students attend classes at the same time, and there are not enough tables and chairs to accommodate them all. (Tokyo Ghoul,2019) The first step to take is to split those big classes into two or three groups, morning classes, mid-morning classes, and afternoon classes, respectively, depending on the number of students they may have. When it comes to property sharing like table and chairs, If they are not able to accommodate split classes, Then they should let every student sit down and make sure that the floor is immaculate, not causing dirty to the uniforms. Every student should feel the same and not being worried about fighting for tables and chairs. The Nigeria government provides every student with a hand board where students use to jot down notes. Hand boards seem to be cheap so that the government of Nigeria can be able to provide. The advantages with the hand board are that they are affordable, flexible, and light in weight students can write while they are standing or sitting down. Hand boards also reduce the need for the table; what only can be needed are chairs. When using those hand boards, students can be allowed to sit on top of those tables and using hand boards for writing.
In conclusion, we would like to see further research being done on ways in which we can resolve the challenge at hand. Additionally, it would be necessary for stakeholders involved in the case to consider signing treaties and complying by said treaties. Furthermore to crown it all, the government should consider prioritising education as a major sector in the country’s development since the future of the country depends on how many young people or children are getting an education now. We believe that if treaties by different stakeholders are signed and the education prioritised, there will be a change in the education sector in this country and hence reducing on the illiteracy rate. To change the state of any country in terms of education requires every individual effort and therefore I would request any individual or stakeholder to work in ensuring that schools are built, teachers and students are protected from Boko haram and destroyed classrooms are built to make sure that all the Nigerian children attain education.
allAfrica.com. (Onome,2018). Nigeria: Achieving Quality Education for All in Nigeria. [online] Available at: https://allafrica.com/stories/201809040461.html [Accessed 7 Dec. 2019].
Adibe, J. (2019). Boko Haram in Nigeria: The Way Forward. [online] Brookings. Available at: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/africa-in-focus/2014/05/14/boko-haram-in-nigeria-the-way-forward/ [Accessed 6 Dec. 2019].
Bertoni, E., Molini, V., Maio, M. Di, & Nisticò, R. (2018). Education is Forbidden: The Effect of the Boko Haram Conflict on Education in North-East Nigeria.
Information Guide in Nigeria. (2019). 15 Problems of Education in Nigeria and Possible Solutions. [online] Available at: https://infoguidenigeria.com/problems-education-nigeria/ [Accessed 6 Dec. 2019].
Review, W. P. (2019). Nigeria Population 2019 (Demographics, Maps, Graphs). Retrieved November 21, 2019, from http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/nigeria-population/
US Agency for International Development. (2013). Increasing Access to Education in Northern Nigeria – Nigeria | ReliefWeb. Retrieved November 21, 2019, from https://reliefweb.int/report/nigeria/increasing-access-education-northern-nigeria
Wiley, D., & Green, C. (2012). Why Openness in Education?