…Strike, mother tongue, international rating, other issues
By Adesina Wahab
UNIVERSITY workers’ strike
For the second time in three years, the issue of strike by university workers including members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Allied Institutions, NASU, dominated the education sector. As usual, the involvement of ASUU made the headline. In 2020, ASUU was on strike for nine months, last year it went on strike for eight months. The non-teaching staff went on strike for five months before returning to their duty posts.The issues have always been the same.
However, the 2022 industrial actions by the workers gave birth to different things. For ASUU, two new staff unions were ‘carved’ out of it. They are the Congress for University Academics, CONUA, and the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria, MDCAN. For now, SSANU, NASU and NAAT are still intact.
One common loss to all the unions is the issue of withheld salaries. Academic staff have eight months not paid by the government, non-teaching staff have five months salaries put on hold by the federal government. From the look of things, the workers should count themselves lucky if any part of the money is paid. The FG appears bent on enforcing the ‘no work, no pay rule’ to the letter.
Out-of-school children menace
The country is yet to drop the crown of the country with the highest number of out-of-school children in the world. It has won it back-to-back severally. The new development regarding the issue last year was the figures, which have always been in contention. The Nigerian government said it has made spirited efforts at reducing the figure. It put it at 11.5 million as at 2022. However, international agencies such as UNESCO and UNICEF said the figure is still well over 20 million.
The FG said its statistics was taken from children aged 11 and below who ought to be at basic education level, that is primary one to junior secondary school three level. UNICEF and others are saying the figure should include senior secondary school level students.
Reintroduction of history
The official pronouncement by the government of the reintroduction of history as a subject in Nigerian schools was one of the positive developments in the sector last year. Many people had decried the expunge of the subject from the curriculum in the first instance.
Mother Tongue Policy
Another policy of the government that many people welcomed was the issue of the adoption of mother tongue to teach subjects in primary schools. Experts globally opine that it would help boost the learning capacity of students. The late Minister of Education, Prof. Babs Fafunwa, lived canvassing this. His foundation, the Fafunwa Educational Foundation, FEF, through its Chair, Mrs. Doris Fafunwa, said, “If properly implemented, the policy is bound to help preserve Nigerian culture and save many indigenous languages from the threat of extinction.”
The only snag now is that the teachers to be used for the policy are not yet in the numbers required, while books and facilities are yet to be provided.
Teachers’ chance to relocate to the UK
Another development seen as good news is the plan by the United Kingdom to allow qualified and certificated Nigerian teachers to come over and teach in their schools. As long as such teachers have taken and passed the professional qualification examination conducted by the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, TRCN, they are good to go. The TRCN boss, Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, said it is a testament to the quality of Nigerian teachers, while the Lagos State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, Comrade Akintoye Hassan, opines that UK is only looking for cheap labour.
Whatever the situation is, those wishing to relocate should find out why British teachers are leaving the profession, going to the Middle East and South East Asia to teach. They should also be mindful of the cultural differences between Nigeria and the UK
Rating of Nigeria’s education system
According to Bscholarly.com, the World Education Forum examined 140 nations in order to determine the best education systems based on skill development, including 38 African nations. The report’s criteria were based on the degree of total labour competency as well as the quantity and calibre of education in each country. The report concluded that criteria to take into account include interpersonal skills, digital literacy, and the capacity for critical and creative thought.
1. Seychelles, an island nation in East Africa is the first and only African nation to fully realise UNESCO’s “education for all” goal. Additionally, the nation’s educational system is the only one in Africa to be classified in the top 50 worldwide, coming in at number 43 overall. With 69.3 points, it is ranked as having the best educational system in Africa.
2. Tunisia – The country’s educational system ranks 71st among the best worldwide, with a 61.4 points rate of excellence. This country has invested 20% of its national budget into the education sector.
3. Mauritius- With 61 out of a possible 100 points, this nation has the third-best educational system in Africa and is ranked 74th globally.
4. South Africa – In South Africa, 94% of the population is literate. With 58.4 percent, this nation is ranked as the fourth-best in Africa for educational progress.
5. Algeria- The second-best education system in North Africa is found in Algeria. With 57.4, it ranks fifth best in Africa.
6. Botswana is now ranked sixth in Africa with a score of 56.7. Additionally, it is ranked as the 92nd greatest country in the world for education.
7. Kenya is ranked as the 95th best country in the world and seventh in Africa with 55.4 points, and its literacy rate is 78.7%.
8. Cape-Verde – With 53.3 points, Cape Verde is ranked 98th in the world in terms of educational attainment and 8th in Africa.
9. Egypt – In Africa, Egypt is ranked ninth with 52.8 points. With a 71% literacy rate, the nation is ranked as the 99th best country in the world.
10. Namibia – With a population of 2.34 million, Namibia is ranked 100th in the world in terms of educational quality and 10th in Africa with a score of 52.7. Namibia has a literacy rate of 88.2 percent.
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