A prosperous society is built on education, which also shapes the future of both the individuals and communities in that society. However, there are several problems affecting schools in Nigeria that impede the teaching and learning process as a whole.
We will examine 15 of those issues that arise in schools and offer workable solutions in this article.
Challenges Affecting Schools in Nigeria and Solutions
1. Insufficient Funding
The lack of proper funding is one of the main problems affecting schools in Nigeria. Many schools are unable to provide kids with a high-quality education and the tools they need due to a lack of funding.
Over the years, the national budget allocated to education has continued to decline which reveals the level of priority given to it. As a result, students lose out on chances to experience a world-class education.
If education must thrive in Nigeria, prioritizing education financing is non-negotiable. This will be done by federal and state governments and educational organizations. Increasing funding for education will make it possible to hire qualified teachers, upgrade the facilities, and provide necessary instructional materials.
2. Overpopulated classrooms
Another common problem in many Nigerian schools, especially public schools, is overpopulated classrooms. A high student-to-teacher ratio makes it difficult to provide individualized instruction and specific attention to each student.
This may impede students’ academic growth and decrease their engagement.
To reduce overcrowding in classrooms, schools may want to consider recruiting more teachers and creating more arms to put smaller class sizes into practice. Fewer students in each class allows teachers to focus on each student individually, improving learning outcomes.
3. Outdated Educational Techniques
The needs of contemporary learners might not be satisfied by conventional teaching techniques. And when students rely entirely on these lectures and texts, which is what most Nigerian students do, it might cause them to become uninterested and impair their capacity for critical thought and problem-solving.
Schools should employ cutting-edge teaching strategies that integrate technology, practical learning, and interactive learning. This way, students’ learning experiences can be made more interesting and relevant.
Some of these strategies are multimedia materials, internet platforms, and project-based learning.
4. Peer Pressure and Bullying
Peer pressure and bullying have a negative effect on kids’ mental health and academic achievement by fostering a hostile and hazardous learning environment. By extension, these problems impede their overall development.
Despite this, cases of bullying never leave the news in Nigeria.
Nigerian schools must adopt a policy of complete non-tolerance for bullying and put in place effective anti-bullying initiatives like creating easy and confidential channels to report cases of bullying.
Fostering an inclusive culture, teaching students how to resolve conflicts, and promoting empathy can all contribute to a secure learning environment are also some philosophical approaches to address this.
Lastly, the services of school guidance personnel can be employed as they will aid in setting the right cultural and environmental tone in the school.
5. Poor infrastructure
Numerous schools in Nigeria struggle with a lack of adequate resources and infrastructure, so we see schools with obsolete textbooks, restricted library access, and insufficient instructional tools.
This may limit pupils’ ability to research topics and cultivate a passion for studying.
To solve this problem, despite the insufficient funding from the government, schools should make access to current textbooks, well-stocked libraries, and educational materials a top priority when distributing funds.
The tools that are already available can be supplemented by working with neighborhood organizations and utilizing digital resources.
6. Testing with High Stakes
High-stakes testing is overemphasized in Nigeria, which puts students and teachers under excessive strain. High stake testing is a situation where one moment of failure greatly reflects on the child’s overall results.
For instance, writing an exam that accounts for 70% of a student’s overall performance measurement, means regardless of what the student has learnt, their success is only assessed based on a single test.
This constricts the curriculum, stifles creativity, and misjudges the general development and aptitude of the students.
The solution to this problem is continuous assessment in its real sense, not the so-called continuous assessment many Nigerian schools employ. Schools should use formative assessments, project-based evaluations, and portfolios as part of a more well-rounded approach to assessment.
This all-encompassing method offers a thorough overview of kids’ development, step by step, and fosters a passion for studying rather than cramming to pass just a single exam.
7. Limited Access to Technology
For Nigerian students to acquire the abilities they will need in the future in the digital age, they must have access to technology. But the availability of computers, internet connectivity, and other instructional technologies is often inadequate in schools.
Elementary and secondary schools need to make investments in their technology infrastructure to provide access to computers, internet connectivity, and software.
The digital divide can be closed and equitable opportunities for all pupils can be provided by collaborating with organizations and applying for grants.
8. Education Inequality
Although we don’t talk about this in Nigeria, education inequality is a serious problem that reduces students’ chances of success. Social and economic divides are maintained by inequalities in resources, funding, and educational quality distributed to schools.
For instance, the school where I did my NYSC was located in a rural area and had only 7 teachers although a government-owned school; while other public schools in developed areas (the school I attended, for instance) have over 50 teachers.
To combat educational inequality, national education administrators must put in place fair funding mechanisms, distribute funds according to need, and aid underprivileged students and localities.
Offering scholarships, mentorship programs, and focused interventions are other ways this can be done.
9. Absence of parental participation
The educational outcomes of students are significantly influenced by parental participation. However, for a variety of reasons, including lack of knowledge or time constraints, many parents do not fully participate.
Making parents agree to participate in the activities of the school before accepting their children is one way schools can make parents involved.
They can also have open lines of communication and hold seminars or other events to promote even family involvement. Parent-school collaboration can have a good effect on the learning and wellbeing of pupils.
PTAs should also be taken more seriously and not just seen as a platform to elicit money from parents.
10. Mental Health Concerns
Another major concern in Nigerian schools is the frequency of mental health problems among students although neglected.
Students’ mental health can be negatively impacted by academic pressure, social difficulties, and other stressors, which can result in poor academic performance and emotional suffering.
By hiring school guidance counselors, hosting mental health awareness events, and promoting an environment of open communication, schools should give mental health support priority
In order to address mental health issues, it is critical to create safe spaces for kids to seek help and to make services easily accessible.
11. Burnout in Teachers
Although teachers are crucial in influencing students’ lives, they frequently experience burnout as a result of their demanding workloads, little compensation, and high expectations. Both teachers and students are negatively affected by teacher burnout.
Schools should put teacher wellbeing first by providing professional development opportunities, decreasing administrative duties, giving great compensation, and encouraging work-life balance.
Preventing burnout and improving the general learning environment can also be accomplished by providing proper support systems and acknowledging teachers’ efforts.
12. Poor Discipline Procedures
The creation of a secure and welcoming learning environment in schools might be hampered when they employ ineffective discipline procedures.
Only emphasizing punishments and zero-tolerance rules usually fail to address underlying problems and promote a cycle of misbehavior.
Rather than just punishing offenders, the priority of schools should be to get to the heart of students and make them desire to truly behave well not just scare them away from deviance.
13. Lack of Creativity
The traditional educational system in Nigeria frequently overlooks the cultivation of creativity and analytical abilities in students. This can limit kids’ capacity for innovation and make it harder for them to adjust to a world that is always changing.
To promote creativity and critical thinking, schools should include project-based learning, music, and the arts in their curricula. Students’ overall learning experiences can be improved by encouraging them to pursue a variety of interests and by giving them chances for self-expression.
14. Inadequate Teacher Training
In order to guarantee high-quality instruction, effective teacher training is essential. many teachers, however, do not have access to sufficient training and professional development opportunities to stay current with the newest teaching strategies and techniques.
Schools and the government should fund extensive mentorship programs, professional development efforts, and teacher training programs.
Giving teachers continual assistance and access to resources equips them to conduct high-quality instruction and cater to the different needs of pupils.
15. Outdated Curriculum
Nigerian schools struggle with an outdated curriculum that fails to adequately prepare students for real-world challenges.
To address this issue, periodic curriculum reforms are necessary, focusing on incorporating relevant skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and digital literacy. Furthermore, technology integration should be emphasized to enhance learning experiences and equip students with essential 21st-century skills.
To foster a superior learning environment that supports students’ development and achievement, these challenges in schools must be addressed
Nigeria can guarantee that every student will obtain a top-notch education when we address problems like a lack of funds, overpopulated classrooms, outmoded teaching techniques, and fostering inclusive and encouraging school environments.
Olusegun Iyejare is a career coach and certified counselor. He helps individuals discover and maximize their potential to live satisfying lives regardless of obvious limitations holding them back.