The Nigerian Education Sector

The dysfunctionality of the Nigerian education sector is alarming. Nigeria is currently embroiled in an out-of-school-children crisis threatening the West African nation at its core. At the moment, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been on strike since February – students are left stranded. This strike came after another lengthy strike that coincided with the Covid-19 lockdown of 2020.

From top to bottom, Nigerian education is a mess that needs cleaning up. Nigeria’s educational system suffers from a lack of infrastructure and investment, neglect, and waste of resources. It has been plunged into a deep crisis that will take massive effort to overcome. To get a sense of how bad the situation is, we decided to look at the numbers.

10 Worrying Stats About Education in Nigeria
1. One in every five of the world’s out-of-school children is in Nigeria. (UNICEF)


2. Nigeria has more than 11 million out-of-school children between the ages of six and fifteen years old. They represent one in twelve out-of-school kids worldwide. (World Bank)

3. Only 61 percent of 6-11 year-olds regularly attend primary school and only 35.6 percent of children aged 36-59 months receive early childhood education. (UNICEF)

4. The states in the north-east (47.7%) and the north-west (47.3%) have a female primary net attendance rate of less than 50%, meaning that more than half the girls are not in schools. (UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS)

5. In north-eastern and north-western states, approximately 29% and 35% of Muslim children respectively receive Qur’anic instruction, which does not include the basics of literacy and numeracy. (UNICEF)

6. There is a deficit of over 230 thousand classrooms in Nigeria (Statista)

7. Out of the 1.1 million classrooms surveyed by Educeleb in 2019, about 315,579 were in bad condition. (Educeleb)

8. In 2021, Nigeria’s budgetary allocation to education for 2022 was 5.4%. UNESCO’s recommended budgetary allocation to education is 15%-26% (Various)

9. Approximately 51% of Nigerian children between 5-17 engage in some form of child labor. (National Bureau of Statistics)

10. 60 million Nigerians, or 30 percent of the population, cannot read or write. (Nigeria’s ministry of education)

Improving education in Nigeria is a matter of pressing importance
Education is important to sustain and develop the people. It helps to develop human intelligence and skills necessary to create wealth and maintain a decent and democratic society. However, the state of Education in Nigeria is a cause for concern. The stats above paint a very gloomy picture. The current state affairs is one that should cause an uproar, but sadly not enough is being done to address the problem – the government continues to ignore this problem.
Nations cannot develop beyond the level of their education. With over 90 million Nigerians living in abject poverty, education is the only hope for a better tomorrow. It is a matter of pressing importance to address the problems of the Nigerian education sector. We need to put conscious effort into providing quality education for young children. We need to equip them with education to break the vicious cycle of poverty


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