Children's Day, Nigeria. Another 27th Day in the month of May has approached and children (but not all parents) are overjoyed when it approaches. No school. What could be better than finally getting a break from that laborous mathematics class; or from that economics teacher who bores us to sleep?
Joy wouldn't feel so good if it weren't for pain, neither would education feel so relevant, if one hasn't experienced the bitter taste of ignorance. Sadly, that's what 10 million Nigerian children are going through - or more likely, not.
According to Vanguard, a Nigerian daily newspaper
Over 40 per cent of them [Nigerian children] will celebrate on the street; without access to basic education as economic and socio-cultural factors keep over 10.1 million of the 35.6 million children aged between six and 14, out of schools.Apparently, of a total of 24,662,087 children, 7,298,817 were not receiving formal education in the country three years ago. Also, 200,630 and 168,795 of the total boys and girls respectively, dropped out of school.
The factors that kept the children out of schools were grouped into economic, socio-cultural and supply side barriers and bottlenecks. Government and political influence, especially in the capacity of government to implement education policies as well as politicisation of basic education, equally affected the magnitude of the problem.
Listing poverty, cultural and religious barriers in the north, poor quality of education leading to dissatisfaction from parents, and opportunity cost as parents would rather have their children make extra money through hawking. And the recent reduction of university entrance cut off marks by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) to 180 over a total score of 400 for universities and 160 for polytechnic entrants, the state of the Nigerian education sector screams for help.
The sad thing is, people are happy! The educational system of an entire nation can't seem to lay solid foundations for it's people and gives them leeway to get accepted into universities without bothering to develop and chanllenge these young, vibrant minds.