Being A Student In Nigeria: 2016 vs 2017 – What Has Changed?
With the recent change of government in 2015, the Nigerian educational system has experienced some ups and downs. Though faced with serious challenges, tertiary institutions are taking steps to upgrade the quality of education. Between 2016 and 2017, several landmark events and changes have taken place in the educational sector, and we will outline some of them here.
NYSC Will Not Be Scrapped
In Nigeria, every graduate is supposed to undergo the NYSC (National Youth Service Corps) programme in order to develop the country further. During this programme, a graduate is deployed to another part of the country to serve for a year.
However, in 2016, concerns were raised from various individuals and bodies calling on the federal government to abolish this programme. There were many reasons, but the main areas of concern included attacks on students, neglect of students during emergency situations, students falling ill during their placements and in some instances, even fatalities. Despite the concerns, the Minister of Youth Development and Sports stated that the initiative was to remain in place.
Not Enough University Seats
In 2016, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) released data showing that a total of 1.579,027 students sat for the UTME exam. Most of the applicants applied for federal universities, as the statistics show that 69.6% of university applications were made to federal varsities. State universities received 27.5%, while the numbers of applicants to private universities are less than 1%. Due to the large number of applicants to federal universities, there are many excess applicants, and they exceed the university seats by a ratio 2:1. This is a serious issue that is affecting the quality of education in the country.
One Key Challenge: Underfunding
It isn’t news that the quality of education obtained at Nigerian schools is low. One major contributing factor is that universities in the country lack proper funding. In 2016, students in Nigerian universities, especially public universities often complained of poor hostels and accommodation, lack of power supply, and also scarce healthcare facilities. Although the federal government is making budgets for these schools, there hasn’t been much change in the quality of infrastructures and amenities in Nigerian schools between 2016 and 2017.
This has also affected the international ranking of Nigerian universities. In 2017, only one of Nigeria’s universities is listed among the top 1,000 in the world; the University of Ibadan ranked at 801.
Strikes in universities
It is not new for Nigerian universities to go on strike. This is a major setback to the progress of the nation, and also the quality of education. In 2016, classes in 10 federal and state universities were disrupted due to strikes.
Senate approves NYSC, law school for NOUN graduates
In the first week of July 2017, the Senate modified the law, establishing the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) to allow graduates of the institution partake in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme and the Law school. What this entails is that all graduates of the Open University can now go for National Youth Service, and after graduation, those that graduated from law can now go to Law school.